These turmeric-stewed beans with sweet potato are so delicious and flavorful. This fresh turmeric recipe makes for a perfect upgraded brothy bean night! Ready to learn about the difference between fresh turmeric and powder? Read on!
In my most recent Buy & Try, I wrote about picking up fresh turmeric. I had never cooked with fresh turmeric before and I was so excited to spot the difference between fresh turmeric and powder.
I finally broke out the fresh turmeric for this recipe, and I am SO happy I tried it! The difference between fresh turmeric and powder is definitely noticeable! The flavor of fresh turmeric is much more lively, more earthy, and still bitter, but less so than its powdered counterpart. It also has a pronounced sweetness to it that I find lacking in the powder version. Both are delicious and completely interchangeable but do expect some slight variances in flavor between the fresh turmeric and the powdered.
For this turmeric-stewed beans with sweet potato, you’ll want to use your favorite white bean. I highly recommend using a dry bean for this, though canned works perfectly too. Using dry beans will require a longer stewing time which works perfectly for mellowing the flavor of the turmeric mixture.
In place of the dry beans, use 2 cans of your favorite white bean, such as cannellini, navy, or great northern. I used Mayocoba beans (psst, you can grab a bag in my shop!) because they are rich, sweet, and buttery. These beans pair perfectly with the sweet potato!
How to make these turmeric-stewed beans with sweet potato:
First, soak the beans if using dry beans. I prefer to start soaking the beans in the morning and let them go for about 6–8 hours.
Once the beans have soaked, start the stew. Drain the beans and set them aside and wipe out the pot they soaked in. Heat up some oil and add a diced onion. Let it sauté for about 6–8 minutes. As the onion sautés, add peeled and diced fresh turmeric to a food processor. Add garlic, Thai chili peppers (or a jalapeńo), and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Add a few glugs of maple syrup and then blitz until fully blended.
Pour the turmeric mixture into the onion and add the soaked beans. Next, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1–3 hours until completely tender and soft. Add more liquid as needed to prevent the beans from sticking. If using canned beans, cook for 30 minutes instead.
While the beans are simmering, make the sweet potatoes. For these beans, I make a sweet potato confit. All you do is cut the sweet potato into medallions, about 1″ thick. Cover them with oil and add a sliced shallot. From there, simply bake in the oven for about 1 hour. Be sure the sweet potatoes are fully immersed! Fun fact, you can pour the oil into a jar and refrigerate it for other uses! It’ll have a nice, sweet aroma from the sweet potato!
I serve it up by piling the sweet potato confit on top and garnishing it with fennel pollen and microgreens. Get creative with the toppings though! It would be delicious with toasted pumpkin seeds or crushed pistachio!
Turmeric-Stewed Beans with Sweet Potato
- Large pot
- Food processor
- 9×13 Baking Dish
- 16 ounces dry Mayocoba beans or use 4 15-ounce cans white beans
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 yellow onion peeled and minced
- 2" piece fresh turmeric peeled and diced, or 1 teaspoon dry turmeric
- 8 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 Thai chili peppers or 1 jalapeño
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground black lime or use 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 6–8 cups water or vegetable broth
- Salt and pepper
Confit sweet potatoes:
- 1 pound sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1″ medallions
- 1 shallot peeled and sliced into wedges
- Olive oil or neutral oil
- Salt to taste
- Microgreens and fennel pollen optional
Soak the beans:
- Cover the beans with water in a large pot. Add the bay leaves and soak the beans for 6 hours.
Start the stew:
- Preheat the oven to 300ºF.
- Once the beans have soaked, start the stew. Drain the beans and set them aside, and wipe out the pot they soaked in.
- Add 1 tablespoon neutral oil to the pot and turn the heat to medium. Add the diced onion. Sauté for 6–8 minutes.
- As the onion sautés, add peeled and diced fresh turmeric to a food processor. Add garlic, Thai chili peppers, extra virgin olive oil, and maple syrup. Blitz until thoroughly blended.
- Pour the turmeric mixture into the onion and add the thyme and ground black lime—Cook for 45 seconds. Add the beans and toss to coat with the spice mixture.
- Pour in 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add salt and then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours until almost completely tender. Remove the lid and continue simmering for 1–1 1/2 hours more or until the beans are completely tender. Add more liquid as needed to prevent the beans from sticking. If using canned beans, cook for 30 minutes instead.
Prepare the sweet potato confit:
- While the beans are simmering, make the sweet potatoes. Place the sweet potatoes in a large baking dish with minimal overlap. Arrange the sliced shallot on top. Cover with oil and ensure the sweet potatoes are fully submerged.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Taste the beans and season once more to your preferences. Spoon the beans into shallow bowls. Using a fork or slotted spoon, remove two sweet potato medallions from the oil and arrange them on top. Garnish with microgreens and fennel pollen if you like. Enjoy!