Sweet Potato Chili with Black Beans
on Jan 15, 2024
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This easy sweet potato chili has just the right combination of black beans, corn and red bell peppers. Chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin and more dried seasonings give it so much flavor without being too spicy. Serve it for lunch or dinner on any day of the week or save a spot for it in your game-day spread. Depending how you top your chili, it can be vegan or vegetarian.
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Why You’ll Love This Recipe
It’s seasoned with a mix of dried spices you might already have in your pantry including chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and oregano. This makes the chili flavorful but more on the mild side with a slight kick.
If you don’t like too many beans in your vegetarian chili, this recipe has a good balance. Because there are chunks of sweet potatoes, diced red peppers and corn, this isn’t an overly bean-y chili.
Chili is ideal for meal prep, and it freezes well. Some might argue that leftover chili is even better than when you first make it. That’s because the ingredients and spices have more time to develop and meld together. Also, you can easily warm leftovers on the stovetop or in the microwave.
You can think of this chili like wholesome, nourishing comfort food. Especially on cold days, chili is a wonderful warm meal full of vegetables and beans.
This is what you need:
- Sweet potatoes: The recipe calls for 1 pound, which is about 3 small or 2 medium sweet potatoes. You should peel them before cutting them. You can substitute with butternut squash.
- Dried seasonings: As mentioned, I use a combination of chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and oregano, kosher salt and black pepper.
- Garlic: I layer more flavor into the chili by adding minced fresh garlic cloves.
- Red peppers: For something fresh and crisp, I include one diced red bell pepper. In general, red, orange and yellow peppers are my preference because they are sweeter than green bell peppers.
- Red onions are the starting point for the chili. A white or yellow onion will work too.
- Black beans are probably my favorite bean for soups, stews and chilis, but it’s really up to you. Substituting with kidney beans or pinto beans is another option.
- Corn: The recipe calls for a can of sweetcorn. It adds a little crunch and color to the chili.
- Tomatoes: Canned fire-roasted tomatoes are always my choice for chili recipes. Here I use crushed tomatoes.
- Vegetable broth: I prefer low-sodium vegetable broth because then you can control the seasonings and the amount of salt. If you don’t need the chili to be vegan, you can swap it with chicken broth.
- Oil is for sautéing the onions and veggies. Use olive oil or vegetable oil.
There are so many ways you can go with topping your chili. As the recipe is written, this chili is vegan. It really comes down to these extras, so use plant-based, dairy free versions as you need. Also, I highly recommend giving each bowl a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Here are some topping ideas:
- Shredded cheese (cheddar cheese or a Mexican cheese blend)
- Sliced jalapeños
- Tortilla chips
- Finely chopped red onions
- Avocado (sliced or diced)
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt
- Lime wedges
How To Make This Sweet Potato Chili Recipe
1. Sauté the onions. Warm the oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Then add the onions, cooking them until they soften, about 4-5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and dried spices. Stir them into the onions. They will become fragrant in a minute or so.
3. Sauté the red peppers. You just need to cook them for a few minutes.
4. Add the sweet potatoes, beans, corn, tomatoes and vegetable broth. Bring the chili to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chili thickens. This will take about 25-30 minutes. Divide the chili into bowls and garnish with your desired toppings.
What to Serve with Chili
I love homemade buttermilk cornbread or corn muffins with chili. For something more simple, go with crusty bread, warmed flour or corn tortillas or even just tortilla chips. Remember that depending what toppings you use on your chili, it can become even more filling.
Leftovers, Storage & Freezing
You can keep the chili in the refrigerator in an airtight container up to 3 days. Reheat it on the stove over low to medium heat, stirring frequently, or in the microwave. You can store it in the freezer up to 1 month.
- If you like thicker chili, only pour in three cups of broth. Then as the chili simmers add a little more at a time as needed to cook the sweet potatoes until they are tender. It is easy to make adjustments to the thickness.
- Taste the chili to see if it needs more salt or pepper. These seasonings have a way of boosting all the other flavors in soups and stews.
- Don’t skip the chili toppings. They’re an easy way to customize the recipe. You can even create a chili bar by having bowls of toppings for your guests to spoon into their chili.
More Chili Recipes
More Spicy Soup Recipes
Sweet Potato Chili
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 medium or 3 small sweet potatoes)
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15-ounce can corn, rinsed and drained
- 1 28-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- Optional Toppings: sliced jalapeños, tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese, cilantro, chopped red onions, avocados, lime wedges
- Heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
- Sauté the onions until they start to soften and turn translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes until the onions become fragrant.
- Add the bell peppers and sauté for a few minutes.
- Stir in the sweet potatoes, beans, corn, tomatoes and vegetable broth. Bring the chili to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes until the sweet potatoes becomes tender and the chili thickens.
- Divide the chili into bowls and garnish with desired toppings.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.