Your whole food, plant-based life.

Easy Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Stew (Cooked)

Christmas and New Year’s can be such an emotional contradiction. When the holidays start, with Thanksgiving, I am overcome with feelings of warmth and excitement. I love cooking and having family near. I love the twinkling lights, the smell of pine and the excitement of Christmas approaching.


Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Stew with Black Beans Quinoa and Apples!


And then it starts. The mad rush to get everything pulled together. All of the presents, the reservations (my darling husband respects my need for snow at Christmas and we just don’t have that in the bay area), the decorating, the planning. It gets a bit stressful and crazy!

This year, we decided to drive 10 hours to Park City, Utah. My oldest daughter, Mia lives there and we haven’t spent Christmas with her and Ritchie, her fiancé, for 2 years. I was all set for a Park City Christmas.

When my youngest daughter, Kaia suggestion that we drive, I almost passed out. 10 hours in the car, in the winter, on I-80 which can get NASTY with snow and ice wasn’t in my plan. We started running the numbers (hours) of flying at Christmas vs driving, the fact that there were 3 of us and we would also have to rent a car on the other end plus she could bring her beloved dog, Tucker, it made sense.

As I watched the weather reports leading up to our departure, things started to become very ominous. A massive storm was heading our way just in time for our drive. It was just raining in the bay area but once we hit the mountains (only about 1 1/2 hour into the drive) the rain turns to ice, slush and then snow. The infamous Donner Pass can get down-right terrifying and close at a moments notice leaving you stranded on the road for hours. As we packed and prepared, I watched the radar and the storm alerts. It wasn’t pretty.

We decided to leave later in the morning to try to avoid the brunt of the storm. The plan was to get over the pass in daylight and then push to Winnemucca (half way) that night. We timed it perfectly. The storm was in far enough in front of us to not cause problems going over the pass. The rest of the drive was peaceful and uneventful. We got lucky.


Driving Across Nevada


The next day, we rose early anxious to get to Park City and get settled. I was amazed at what greeted us. There was a snow covered mountain right across the road. We came in in darkness and honestly didn’t even realize it was there! Who knew that in the middle of Nevada, there was such beauty.

We were at the tail end of the storm. The sky, light and landscape was a photographer’s dream. So stunning. I was shooting out the window going 80 mph and still coming up with beautiful images.

By the time we hit Salt Lake, we caught up with the storm. The assent to Park City was a white knuckle, I didn’t know if I should keep my eyes open or closed (I wasn’t driving…) kind of drive. I quickly understood why our daughter told us not to attempt to drive up the canyon on our own. It was dumping snow and the drive up to where our “cabin” was located was impassible even for our 4×4 with chains. Luckily our kids had snowmobiles and big trucks with big tires and chains or we would have been sleeping in our car the first night.


Tollgate Canyon


When we woke on Christmas morning, the views were breathtaking. Deep, snow all around. I was in heaven. I love winter. It is my favorite season. I love when the earth goes to sleep, the snow falls and the wind blows. I love the cold and at -16, I got that, too! Luckily, we were plowed out but it quickly drifted over. My future son-in-law showed up at the cabin door on his snowmobile. We were off to celebrate the wonderful season with our family.

I must admit that overall, driving wasn’t that bad. It turned out to be a gift. I knit a pair of socks, had wonderful bonding time with my daughter and husband and the views were amazing. You just don’t see this when you fly.


Salt Flats

Bonneville Salt Flats

Easy Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Stew

Over the holidays, I rediscovered the slow cooker. After opening presents on Christmas day, I pulled out my daughter’s slow cooker, threw in a bunch of ingredients and we had a huge, delicious pot of chili for dinner. It’s so easy and doesn’t take a lot of time. Plus, it cooks all day, and magically has dinner waiting when you are ready!

We have an over abundance of sweet potatoes at the moment so last night, I decided to make a slow-cooker sweet potato stew. It was one of those grab and throw deals that turned out great. Sweet potatoes, tomatoes, black beans and apples come together with just the right seasoning and spices. There is even molasses and almond butter to bring all the flavors. Make it early, eat it later. My kind of meal.

Sweet potatoes are considered to be one of the world’s healthiest foods!

Why we love them:

  • They have a profile of nutritional benefits including antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and blood sugar-regulating nutrients.
  • They are loaded with orange carotenoid pigments, responsible for vitamin A.
  • They are an outstanding source of anti-oxidants.
  • They have been shown to reduce the effects of heavy metals and oxygen radicals.
  • They help blood sugar regulation.
  • They have antifungal and antibacterial properties.


Share Via
Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends



  1. Taylor wrote on June 1, 2016

    I am doing a raw detox right now, and was wondering, is this actually considered raw?

    • Susan wrote on June 2, 2016

      Hi, Taylor, This is not a raw recipe. It is part of our cooked collection. You can use the index at the top to find all the raw recipes. The category function works great! Cheers!

  2. Lucy Morris wrote on January 8, 2016

    Made this today, it was yummy/delicious!! I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out, thought it might be too sweet as i tasted it in the stages, but the almond butter leveled it all out and enhanced the flavors. Its a very dense meal, very filling and stays with you, perfect for this time of year. I did make it stove top in a heavy pot, as you said in an earlier post, stirring often is required, especially after the quinoa is added. Thank you for sharing your creativity! Love the web site and blogs/recipes

    • Susan wrote on January 8, 2016

      So glad you like it, Lucy! Stove top is a great way to make it. Thanks for letting me know!! 🙂

  3. Barbara Woodley wrote on January 7, 2016

    I have been following you for over a year and I have to say out of ALL the recipes out there, it is yours that are consistently the very best. Is there some reason you don’t have three or four cookbooks on the shelf of the bookstores?
    Because I am ALWAYS watching for your name. And when I see your book on the shelf I will run for it and buy it without cracking the cover.

    • Susan wrote on January 7, 2016

      Thank you so much, Barbara! I actually do have 2 books that are sold in bookstores and 3 more e-books. They can be found at many bookstores or you can order them through store here: It is so kind of you to leave this wonderful comment. It is deeply appreciated. 🙂

  4. Laura wrote on January 6, 2016

    I am pleased to let you know dear Susan that your stew was a hit! And I didn’t even use a slow cooker. I made it in a Dutch oven pot. All those flavours wow! My kids are so glad I am exploring different and healthy ways to eat. this is a must share recipe. ?

    • Susan wrote on January 7, 2016

      Hi, Laura, That is wonderful to hear. I use a dutch oven all the time. Simply love it and a great way to make this stew! Cheers!

  5. Juanita wrote on January 6, 2016

    Is the quinoa pre cooked, or raw?

    • Susan wrote on January 6, 2016

      Hi, Juanita, The quinoa is added raw. It will cook in the last hour. Cheers!

  6. Jess wrote on January 6, 2016

    This sounds absolutely wonderful, and a recipe that my partner, who’s basically a carnivore, would actually look forward to me making. I’m a huge fan of every ingredient and they’re often to be found in my kitchen anyway for other recipes, apart from molasses which I don’t know if I’ve ever tried. Can this be made without a slow cooker (saving up for one!), say, in an oven at a very low temperature? Thanks for your recipes, they are really helpful.

    • Susan wrote on January 6, 2016

      Hi, Jess, Yes, you can cook it stove top. It will just take a lot less time. Use a lower heat, a heavy pot and reduce the cooking time. It would be good to have a pot with a lid. Check after 2 hours for the first stage and make sure you stir more often. Cheers!


Post a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

ooter(); ?>