I used to journal all the time. It helped me process. Especially in high school when boyfriend problems were a huge deal, you fought constantly with your mother, and who gets to ask who to the winter formal dance was high drama. A girl's got to get through those hard times. Journaling made thoughts and feelings seem legitimate once they were down on paper. Later, I started journaling in letter format, writing in a voice as though someone may read my words. This felt more natural, more "like me." I love letters. I stopped about a year after college. I know this only because my last journal is in the back of my car. I keep wanting to throw it away because it makes me feel awkward when I flip through and read old stuff, but that awkward feeling may turn to endearment one day. Which is why it lingers somewhere between a box of keepsakes in the garage and the trash... my car.

Writing here has taken the place of the writing I used to do for me. At least for the time being. I think I always wanted someone to read what I was thinking, even if it wasn't fully fleshed out, emotional stuff, just the casual chatter. We've been journaling on Sprouted Kitchen, by way of recipes, photos and stories for almost four years, and much like personal journals, I don't really go back and look at older stuff. I know I will at some point years from now, so I try to weave our real life into this space as to have memories within the collection of recipes. Our first book was nominated for a James Beard award a few weeks ago, and I want to mark here how honored I have felt because of that (hey, future self reading this, this was/is a big deal!). I have wrestled with myself about food writing being "my career" and the timing of this nomination marked the first time in a while that I felt I didn't have to defend my work to myself. Writing a blog and book and working at a market and teaching classes and infrequent catering is a long answer when someone asks "what do you do?" Long answers aren't such a bad thing. It would have felt wonderful at any time, but there was something really special about it coming during this season for me. I'm humbled and grateful, and I do a happy dance when I think about it. I know this nomination is a high honor, and I won't forget it. 

This is a simple, modest bowl of a meal. Made of very affordable ingredients, delicately spiced, and pretty easy to tweak to your tastes. Clearly I am still clearing out my pantry. It is not the most creative recipe that's come out of my kitchen, but sometimes it's the less fussy stuff that is quietly satisfying. Leftovers nest well in a burrito with melty cheese. A comfy, warm meal before we roll into a season of salads and fresh fruits and tender asparagus. 

P.S. I forgot to mention last post that Hugh is planning on doing a few portrait sessions while we're away. He says he has to work to keep his croissant budget in check. If you happen to be in Paris, Antwerp or Amsterdam, he mentions the dates on his site.


The texture comes out like a stew and you want some of the liquid to be in the pot. Once you break the yolk from the egg, it makes a sauce with the bean broth. Add more broth to the pot if needed, it absorbs moisture as it cools, and adjust the spices to your liking.

I cooked my beans from scratch and drained off the excess liquid before adding the broth from there. They don't need to be completely drained by any means, but I wanted my broth flavor to not taste too strongly of bean. I'd guess you could use canned beans in a pinch, the texture will just be a bit less substantial.

  • 1/2 lb. dried black beans (rinsed and soaked overnight)
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 tsp. chile powder
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced in 1'' cubes
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 4-8 eggs (use 1-2 eggs per person)
  • cilantro and hot sauce to finish
  • cotija, queso fresco or goat cheese optional

Drain and rinse the beans from soaking. Place them in a large pot and cover with a couple inches of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the beans are cooked through and just tender (one to one and a half hours depending on freshness of beans), avoid overcooking. They should still have a tooth to them. Remove from heat, add a pinch of salt. Let the beans cool for about ten minutes before draining. Add the cumin, cinnamon, garlic, chile powder, hearty pinch of salt and broth. Bring the mixture to a low simmer.

Add the sweet potato to the warm beans, give it a stir and cover the pot. Cook for about 8-10 minutes until the sweet potatoes are cooked through. Stir in the tomato paste and olive oil and taste for salt, you'll likely need another pinch or two, and spices. You could add heat with a pinch of red pepper flakes or chipotle. Cover and keep warm until ready.

Bring a large pot of salted water with a splash of vinegar to a low boil. Poach the eggs to desired doneness (two eggs at a time is what I can manage. I deliver the eggs to the water in a ramekin, seems to help them stay together well).  For a medium poach, simmer them 2-3 minutes. If you like the yolk more firm, take them 4-5 minutes. Serve each portion with a hearty scoop of the beans and poached egg on top. Finish with hot sauce, cilantro and cheese if using. 

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Reader Comments (50)

This looks so amazing, my kind of meal. I have some black beans soaking now that I will be slow cooking for black bean tacos, but some of them definitely need to make it into a dish like this. Thanks for your continued inspiration!

April 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeth @ Tasty Yummies

This looks exactly like my kind of meal, too. And lovely pictures!

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

Congrats on the nomination, it's well deserved. I absolutely love both the blog and the book (thanks to amazon), it's all soooo full of love and passion for good and fresh ingredients, it's truly inspiring :)

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterOndina Maria

Congratulations on the award, you more than anyone deserve the recognition.
I've been following you for a long time now, without leaving a message when I should have, and I think that what you're doing on this blog is so inspiring and beautiful that it makes me want to do better at anything I try and will try. I have to tell you that you changed the way I look at things and that now, I always see the good in all that I do.
Thanks and again BRAVO! :)

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommentertRiSh

Same as you, I used to journal all the time throughout high school and college - so many feelings! It's almost all about boys. I've been wondering, recently, whether I've stopped because blogging has replaced journaling as something that fulfills that need to write... or if it's just because I've been in a happy relationship for 5 years and it doesn't stress me out anymore!

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

It looks very tasty! I will try this recipe soon. Congratulations on the award.

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLiria

It IS a big deal. And furthermore, it will continue to be a big deal for the rest of your life. James Beard nominations are the things that stick with you. So, congrats. It's huge. And I'm hugely smiling for you :)

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDessertForTwo

I laughed when you listed off the myriad types of work you could mention to peeps when they ask you what you do for a living. My answer to that question is similar, punctuated by slashes. I'm calling myself a slasher now. And the biggest congratulations hugs on the James Beard nom. You two made cookbook magic happen and to have that recognized in such a solidifying way is unreal. xo

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

congratulations! that is so exciting!

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSimply Life

My mom would love this meal!

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Beauty in a bowl - love the simplicity. Your writing is always such a pleasure to read, and I hope you will keep sharing your journaling with us for years to come! Congratulations on your nomination - well deserved!

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermarie @ little kitchie

So well deserved, congratulations! I made something similar to this last night while trying to scrounge together all the leftovers in my fridge. Simple, but so delicious!

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJacqui

A well-deserved nomination---congrats!!! You rock! I love the book, even though I've only made a few of the recipes so far.
I hope you have a wonderful trip. Amsterdam is such a fantastic place. If you have time, go to the Ann Frank museum, it's very moving. Buy your tickets in advance online for a set day and time so that you don't have to stand in line outside the museum and wait.
We're expecting pictures and writing about your trip!

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa M.


April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmily K. @ Leaf Parade

i WISH i was going to be in paris, antwerp or amsterdam. oh gosh.

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermackenzie

Definitely don't throw out that journal! You'll never have insight into how your mind worked back then, if you do. It seems our minds just overwrite themselves, so it's hard to recall what is felt like to be 5, 10, 15 or 20. Journals are often the only way back.

Congratulations on the nomination! I love your book and have given it to many friends. I've probably cooked from it more than any other cook book (except Bittman's How to Cook Everything, but that doesn't count). Keep up the writing, creating and cooking. We all love what you do!

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeah

Congratulations, Sara! What a fabulous honor!

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndi Sutherland

This has been a meal staple for me while backpacking through Costa Rica! We are totally on the same wavelength. I have essentially been sautéing a bunch of veggies and piling them on top of some cumin spiced black beans with a poached egg on top, a healthy dose of homemade ranchero or hot sauce, some avocado, fresh cilantro, and plain yogurt. So satisfying! Now I just need to get my hands on some sweet potato! ;)

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThis American Girl

Congrats Sarah and I absolutely enjoying reading your stories, your journey and all the fresh fascinating meal that you share.

April 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKankana

Well done. This looks delicious. And congratulations on the nomination!

April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDena

If you are still looking for a great restaurant in Amsterdam: try
Its a great place.

April 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersaskia

Sara, Congratulations on your nomination! What an accomplishment and well deserved. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here on the blog. I love reading your posts and you always express your thoughts so beautifully. Have a great time on your trip!! Exciting! :)

April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterYumi

Just made this last night! It was wonderful. Have your cookbook and love it too. Thanks for inspirational more-veggies cooking :) I love it.

April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

YUM! I always forget that simple staples can make such great meals. i'll have to try this!

April 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTrish

Hadn't seen this recipe before. Thanks for the idea and the detail in cooking. It really helps the first time through.

April 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterseth the dad

Sara and Hugh- I am smiling SOOO big for you! Congratulations!!! You're book is gorgeous and you deserve the recognition. God bless you guys! -Roz (and Brendan and family)

April 5, 2013 | Unregistered

Looking forward to a recap of the trip - or at least recommendations. Will be in Belgium in late June.

April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie C

I just wanted to let you know - my husband got me your book for an Easter gift, and it is beautiful! I went grocery shopping today and got everything I need to make the mushroom-brown rice burgers. I can't wait to try them!

April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAfton

I made this today and it was very well received. Thanks!

April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAngie

I made this for supper tonight, and it was terrific! It's a rainy chilly evening here in Portland and this was perfect. The brothy beans with sweet potato are so tasty and we loved the poached egg on top. He added sriracha to his, and the chopped cilantro was enough for me. Thank you for creating something that's good for us that we want to eat!

April 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBecki

This post made me smile, minus the fact that I can't stand cilantro and am allergic to eggs...LOL (but there are so many other recipes on here without those ingredients that I'm not too disappointed...;)) it was the writing bit that really got to me - I filled so many diaries as a kid and somehow I always thought that one day someone would read them. Then one day I set up a blog, Confessions of a Dizzy Blonde, and everyone told me my writing was great, but why was I spending so much time on it? For me it was just a substitute for the diaries and a way of sharing with the world. Then I became a freelance writer and like you I guess I feel I can justify my writing now! I am still gathering courage to write to magazines and publishers though and think I'm just on the verge of doing it! It's nice to follow other writers' journey and see their progress, so thank you :)

April 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDizzy Blonde

i used to write in a journal. a lot. it keeps me form over thinking

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterfaye

Bowl meals are some of my favourites! And this one looks delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTina

Hoot!!! Congratulations!! And to think, I was just flipping through my (stained) copy this morning. I hadn't followed the nominations this year, but can't imagine a more deserving team. Way to go, you two.


April 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermolly

haha! I can totally relate to the journaling part.

Green smoothie challenge announcement on my blog! Hope you'll join :)

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine

Wow...first of all, this is an amazing looking recipe! I pinned it on our Legume Pinterest board:

Also, congratulations on the James Beard Award nomination! That is fantastic and very well deserved. Your book is amazing. Also, my personal belief, long "what I do" answers are never a bad thing. I've had some of those in my life as well. It just means you have a lot more interesting stuff going on than the average person! :-)

I know just what you mean, about having the moment when you no longer need to apologize or explain to yourself. The long list answer is the life well lived and lived from a place of truth. Congratulations on the book and the incredible (and well deserved) nomination. And congratulations for having the courage to follow your true paths, when and as they arise.

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbuckwheattobutter

I have never tried any dishes before with a lot of black beans in it. This one looks interesting and delicious. I will try this over the weekend and hopefully, I will be able to follow this recipe properly. Thanks for sharing this one.

April 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKenneth

In general, bowl meals are my favorites! This one looks so amazingly tasty. Thanks for the recipe!

April 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterArzu

this looks right up my alley - simple, tasty, and nutritious! yum. just stumbled across your blog and I'm loving it... can't wait to keep reading :)

April 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertaylor @ taylormade

Yum, I just had this for dinner at it was absolutely amazing! Not the last time I make this wonderful meal. Thank you for yet another fantastic recipe, you truly are a great inspiration to me!
All the best from Josephine

April 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterA tasty love story

Mega congrats on your James Beard nomination, Sara. That's huge! This meal is so similar to one I make when I don't know what else to make... and I'm always so satisfied with it.

April 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathryne

I love this post. It makes me want to travel and eat! I hope your trip was amazing!

April 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

We just made this for lunch and it was delicious! Feels like a real powerhouse meal. Planning my weekly groceries now and just scanning all your posts for inspiration. Thanks :)

April 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Looks tasty! On a side note, you take very nice photos.

May 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCL

Congratulations on your award!!! I tried very hard to vote for you but I kept having technical difficulties. I'm thrilled to hear you won anyway! This recipe looks very nice...comforting indeed. And a mind-broadening take on familiar ingredients. Thanks for sharing You.

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTiana

Paris, food, and romance. I think it’s a perfect blend for a happy life. I spend half of my life in Paris and love the traditional food of this marvelous city in the world. The recipe is not something out of this world, but I love to eat as I already made it once and will prepare it again.

May 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmilia R.

These look delicious! However, it needs more meat to keep climate change under control by stopping methane production!

May 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris Tanburg

Love this! This recipe will sure inspire a wide arrange of variations. Yum!

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMariela

I just made these beans because of my new love of poached eggs. It's warm and rainy here and I want something I can eat with my eggs in the morning. The beans are the most amazing beans I have ever had the pleasure of making. SO delicious and satisfying!! Thank you so much for the delightful inspiration and lovely photos. You help me try new things once in a while, leaning in the direction of self-care. Brilliant!

Love the birth photos you are willing to share. I am a midwife and they are so tasteful. I love black and whites. Congratulations on becoming a mama! I hope all is going well.

July 10, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterzenigurl

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