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Cooking during a Pandemic—Recipes using shelf stable ingredients: black bean and tortilla pie, lentil soup with sweet potatoes

written by Julia Korenman, M.D.

During this time of Covid-19 when I am cooking a lot and trying not to go to the grocery store too frequently, I really appreciate my recipes that contain shelf-stable ingredients. I stock up on what I need and pull it all out when it’s time to cook! 

The black bean and corn tortilla pie originally called for pepper jack cheese, which makes it spicier, however I use cheddar because I always have it in the house. These recipes make a good family dinner, and the leftovers (if there are any J) reheat nicely.



1 15 ounce black beans rinsed and drained

1 15-16 ounce can whole kernel corn drained (can use 1 lb frozen)

1 14.5 ounce can stewed tomatoes

1 cup salsa

12 large corn tortillas

8 ounces cheddar cheese shredded 


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Spray a 13”x9” baking dish with vegetable cooking spray

3) Mix beans, corn, tomatoes and salsa

4) Cover bottom of baking dish with 4 tortillas.  Spread half of bean mixture over tortillas.

5) Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese.

6) Layer with 4 tortillas, remaining bean mixture and 1/3 of the cheese.

7) Top with remaining tortillas and cheese. Cover with foil. Bake 30 min. 

8) Remove foil and bake 10 min until top is browned.


6 servings.


Adapted from Main-Course Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin


3 TBSP olive oil

4 garlic cloves minced

2 large onions diced

1 tsp dried thyme

2 bay leaves

4 c vegetable broth

6 c water

1 ¼ cup lentils

2 celery ribs, sliced

½ cup minced fresh parsley (I used 1 TBSP dried)

freshly ground pepper

2 medium sweet potatoes (approx. 1 lb)  peeled and cut into ¾ inch dice


1) Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, thyme and bay leaves and sauté for 10 minutes.

2) Raise the heat to high. Stir in the stock, lentils, celery, ¼ cup fresh parsley or 1 TBSP dried, pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a lively simmer. Cook, uncovered for 30 minutes.

3) Add the sweet potatoes and cook 20 more minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Discard the bay leaves. Remove 2 cups of the soup and puree in a blender or food processor or use an immersion blender to partially blend the soup. If using fresh parsley add remaining ¼ cup and cook for one more minute.

Happy Eating!

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