Try arepas for an easy bread alternative

When Adriana López Vermut of Pica Pica Maize Kitchen invited me to come to her restaurant to make arepas, I gladly agreed. She would teach me how to make them and I would bring one of my family-friendly recipes that would work as a filling. What a great deal!

The icing on the cake was that she wanted to me to participate in a video interview with her to discuss practical solutions to gluten-free cooking. She wanted to show others how easy it is to make quick gluten-free “pocket” which could be used instead of bread.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Filling:

1 medium onion, chopped
2 tsp olive or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp each pepper, oregano, and coriander
1 tsp each cumin
2 Tbl chili powder
1 medium or 1/2 large sweet potato, peeled, cooked and chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
2 cups of black beans (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 Tbl Chopped cilantro
2 Tbl Queso fresco, crumbled

1. Heat a large pot to medium. Add oil and then onion and give it a quick stir or shake. Sprinkle with herbs and spices (not the salt), stir and cook while you chop the sweet potato. Do not stir the onions very much. Just once every few minutes so they aren’t sticking or burning.
2. Add the sweet potato and cook another 2-3 minutes.
3.Add garlic and salt and cook for 1 minute.
4. Drain the diced tomatoes but save the juice. Add the tomatoes to the pot with 2 Tbl tomato juice. Bring to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes. If the mixture looks dry, add more tomato juice but don’t make the filling soupy.
5. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Add salt to taste as well. If the chili is spicy, add some sugar.
6. Shut off the heat. Add cilantro and queso fresco. Serve in the arepa.

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