From pop-up shops and special orders to a brand new brick-and-mortar restaurant, Chef Maria Larios serves up plant-based deliciousness to the Little Rock crowd at Viva Vegan, where the menu pulls influences from anything from Mexican to Indian to Thai to American dishes.

Our sister publication, FIT Arkansaschallenged three local chefs to create dishes that utilize produce found in our local farmers markets, and Chef Larios came to the table with this incredible recipe.

Read more from FIT Arkansas on Chef Larios, including which recipe she’ll never share.


Stuffed Sweet Potatoes


  • 2 medium or large sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup precooked black beans
  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 lb. purple cabbage
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the cashew cream:

  • 1 cup cashews (soaked for 6 hours)
  • 1/2 cup of plant-based milk (or water)
  • 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. sea salt


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Using a fork, poke multiple holes into both sweet potatoes. Place potatoes in oven and bake for approximately 45-60 minutes total, flipping them halfway through.

3. While the sweet potatoes are in the oven, heat olive oil over medium heat in saucepan. Add onions and cook for a few minutes until they become translucent. Before onions brown, add spinach and toss to coat. Cook until spinach shrinks. Add small amount of water if needed.

4. Add pre-cooked beans to saucepan until warmed.

5. Cut purple cabbage into long thin strips.

6. Put all cashew cream ingredients into blender. Blend until creamy.

7. When finished baking, cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with black beans, spinach, onions, cabbage and the cashew cream.

8. Enjoy!