When Brazilians gather for a leisurely weekend meal or a holiday feast, you’re likely to find warm conversation, ice-cold beer (cerveja bem gelado), and the ultimate comfort food: feijoada (fey-jwah-duh). This rich, smoky stew of black beans, pork, and beef claims the title of Brazil’s national dish — but it’s an antidote for wintry weather anywhere. Rio restaurants often offer it for lunch on Wednesdays and on Saturdays (a.k.a. “Feijoada Day” to Brazilians). The dish derives its name from feijão (Portugese for “beans”), and it may tie back to traditional Portugese pork-and-bean cozido stew.
The following vegan recipe skips the traditional mix of meat without sacrificing any of the savory flavor. Serve italongside rice, sautéed kale, cool orange slices, and toasted cassava flour (farofa) and you’ll understand why Brazilians call feijoada “food for the soul.”
- 14 ounces sweet potato, chopped into 1-inch chunks
- 3 mixed peppers, chopped into 1-inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 5 bay leaves
- 7 ounces smoked tofu, chopped into 1-inch chunks
- 4 ¾ cups cooked black beans (about 2 cans)
- 1 cup vegetable stock or water
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
- Coconut oil, for cooking
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a bowl, toss together sweet potatoes, peppers, sweet paprika, pinch of salt, and enough coconut oil to evenly coat the veggies. Spread on a baking tray and roast. After about 15 minutes, rearrange the tray to prevent scorching. Then roast for another 10-15 minutes, until sweet potatoes have softened.
- While veggies roast, heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a large pan and add chopped onion. Reduce to a low heat and cook until softened, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, smoked paprika, tofu, and bay leaves, and pan fry for 5 minutes. Then add beans along with 1 cup of vegetable stock or water. Simmer uncovered until vegetables are done roasting, then add them to the pan and simmer for an additional 20 minutes, or until the stew is nice and thick.
Serve with rice, sautéed kale, cool orange slices, and toasted cassava flour (farofa). Tuck in and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Sprinkle of Green