The original Paradise Casserole from Candle Cafe has ingredients like millet, miso and beans one needs to slowly cook. I like quinoa better than millet, as far as flavor and as far as being a complete protein. As a busy mama, I also don’t have more than 20 minutes to cook, but still want my family dinner to be healthy and delicious.

I like to assemble this dish, stick it in the oven and do bath time. By the time we are done (30-40 mins,) the dinner is ready. The sweet potato and the quinoa layers can also be prepared two-three days ahead, making it an excellent dish to creatively utilize leftovers. Serve the casserole with kale chips or a simple salad, topped with roasted pumpkin seeds for an extra-nutritional punch.

Ingredients:

4 Large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

2 cans of spicy  black beans

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/3 cup  olive oil
3 cups cooked quinoa (see package instructions.)

Oil for pan

8 inch square glass pan, or equivalent volume baking pan.

Preheat oven to 350F.

For the sweet potato layer: Put the sweet potatoes in a pot, cover with water and let simmer until they get soft (test with a fork.) Strain the water.  Mash in a mixing bowl, adding  1/4 cup of olive oil. Season lightly with salt, if desired.

For the bean layer: Heat the remaining olive oil  in a skillet over medium-high heat and add the onion. Sautee for three minutes, then add the black beans. Cover and let simmer for about 4-5 minutes, stirring occassionally.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Remove from heat.


Assembling the dish:

Oil baking dish of your choosing. Place quinoa in the bottom of dish, packing it tightly in a uniform layer. Spoon the black beans over the quinoa. Top with the mashed sweet potatoes, smoothing the top with the back of a spatula. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Let stand 10-20 minutes before serving.

image: cameraphone vegan

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