Recipe: Vegetarian Feijoada

Feijoada, Brazil's national dish of stewed black beans and salted meats, was made vegetarian for this soul-satisfying weekend meal.

Feijoada, a traditionally hearty stew of beans and salted pork or beef, is considered the national dish of Brazil. The name comes from the Portuguese word feijão, meaning bean. We partnered with the dieticians at CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center to bring you a healthier option for this classic Brazilian dish that's vegetarian only. 

Feijoada is a filling meal typically eaten on weekends with family and friends. Its main ingredients are black beans, cabbage, rice and oranges. Feijoada is rich in flavonoids, especially kaempferol, which is anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and anti-cancer. Today, feijoada is an iconic part of Brazilian culture, representing the mingling of Indigenous, African and European influences that shape the nation's identity.




½ Tbsp. cooking oil

½ stalk of celery, small diced

½ small onion, small diced

½ bell pepper, small diced

¼ tsp. sea salt

1 cloves garlic, sliced or minced

½ cup sweet potato, small diced

1 15 oz. cans of black beans, no salt added, drain and rinse

½ can ¾ cups vegetable broth

1 tsp. cumin

½ tsp. paprika or smoked paprika

½ tsp. oregano 1 pinch cayenne pepper

½ tsp. grated orange zest, or more to taste

Segments and juice of ½ orange

Cilantro or parsley, chopped, optional garnish

Plain Greek yogurt, optional garnish Cooked brown rice, optional



1. Prepare brown rice as instructed on the package, optional.

2. Drain and rinse one half of the can of beans and leave other as is.

3. Chop celery, onion, pepper, garlic, and sweet potato into small dice.

4. Heat the oil in a medium to large pot over medium heat. Add the celery, onion, bell pepper, and salt. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

5. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

6. Add the sweet potato, beans (one half can drained and rinsed and the other with liquid), vegetable broth, cumin, paprika, oregano, and cayenne pepper.

7. Cook feijoada, stirring as needed over medium-high heat until the sweet potatoes are soft, about 10-12 minutes.

8. While cooking, zest the orange and peel and cut into segments for a garnish.

9. Add orange zest. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as preferred.

10. Serve over ½ cup brown rice, optional

11. Garnish with orange segments, cilantro, or parsley.

12. Top with Greek yogurt if desired.


Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1/4 recipe

Calories: 400

Total Fat5g6%
Saturated Fat.764g4%
Trans Fat.005g 
Total Carbohydrate71g


Dietary Fiber

Total Sugars7g 
Includes <1g Added Sugars 1%


This recipe was created in partnership with CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center and adapted from

Do you want to learn to cook healthier for yourself and your family? CU Medicine readers can receive $2 off CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center Fresh Take Cooking Classes held virtually on Zoom. Use the code CU_MED to receive $2 off these classes. Learn more about community nutrition services. 

Interested in weight loss? Learn more about the weight loss programs offered by the CU Medicine Weight Management and Wellness clinic.


TAGS: healthy recipe, holiday recipe, protein


This post was originally posted on 5/3/2024