Noshin' Recipe: Mexican Sweet Potato and Bean Casserole

Welcome back to the world of chametz, Noshers! I kept Kosher for Passover until Monday night at 6 p.m. when my pizza was ready for pick up. I made my husband drive so I could start eating it in the car. (I figured I had earned the right to start without him, since he didn’t keep Kosher for Passover.)
I liken those first gooey bites of mozzarella-topped goodness to the Israelites crossing into the Promised Land — I had personally been delivered from my own chametz-free Egypt after a seven day exodus (far easier than 40 years, I’ll give you).
I didn’t realize how much debate there was on what is permissible during Passover until just this year.
Rice or no rice? Beans or no beans?  No corn in vegetable form, but is high-fructose corn syrup OK? And how many of your prepared foods need to bear a “Kosher for Passover” seal? Just wine? Matzah? (And did you notice how most packages aren’t actually Kosher for Passover?)  Is all kitniyot allowed, or not at all?
And the discussion doesn’t stop there: seven days or eight? Do you add an hour after sundown before loading up on chametz? Or just call it at dinner time? (Or maybe split the difference and break the chametz fast at breakfast of the eighth day?) Much like anything else, if you put two Jews in a room, you’ll get three opinions, and Passover is no exception.
Since there is so much debate on what is permissible during Passover, and so many levels of observance, I thought I’d save my personal favorite Passover dish until it was safe for everyone, regardless of their level of observance. This dish is insanely easy and equally insanely delicious, and you can make it even easier if you happen to have leftover mashed sweet potatoes (or squash) from last night’s dinner.
Mexican Sweet Potato and Bean Casserole
Serves: 8-12
3-4 medium sweet potatoes or small butternut squash (or a combination), mashed
4 tsp cilantro (I used four frozen cubes from Dorot)
1 tsp fresh minced ginger (I use the jar stuff)
1 tsp cumin
1 can (15oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15oz)  fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I like Muir Glen, but Hunt’s is OK too)
1 can (15oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 can kidney beans (15oz), rinsed and drained
~2 C shredded mozzarella or other cheese

  1. Cook the sweet potatoes/squash to a mash-able consistency (I microwaved them in a bowl of water)
  2. Mix in cilantro, ginger, and cumin. Set aside.
  3. In a greased 9×13 casserole dish, add the remaining ingredients in the order listed, distributing evenly.
  4. Carefully top with the mashed potatoes/squash mixture.
  5. Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes, until beans are tender and center is hot.