Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili – This meatless chili still has tons of bite from the chunks of sweet potatoes and the “meaty” pinto and black beans.
I told you earlier this week that this was the month of sweet potatoes. And to prove it, I’ve got another sweet potato recipe for you. This one is different because it’s not a side dish, which is what sweet potatoes have been known for in the past. Instead, this is a dish that allows sweet potatoes to shine in all their glory.
Today’s recipe is for this incredible Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili. It is completely meatless and even vegan (if you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth), but that’s not why I love this chili. I love it because it’s so flavorful and hearty and comforting and easy to make. I had a craving for this chili and was able to have it within an hour of that craving hitting.
The best part of this chili is the chunks of sweet potato. They absorb all the flavors of the chili as they cook and become slightly tender but still firm in the process. I found myself hunting for those chunks as I was eating the chili – they’re THAT good!
And if you want some extra sweet potato in this meal, add in some of my Sweet Potato Cornbread.
Building the flavor
Although there is no meat in this chili, the process for making the chili is virtually the same. First, the sweet potato is cooked with the onion to soften it up a little. This is important because the sweet potato is pretty firm and we want it to be tender when the chili is done cooking.
Next the spices are added and cooked with the sweet potato before adding in the liquid. This helps the flavor build. I learned this trick from Indian and Thai cooking. They cook their foods with the dry spices for about 5 minutes before adding any liquid. It’s hard to be patient but I promise it’s worth it.
Finishing the chili
Once the spices have had time to cook with the veggies, the broth is added to help break up the pieces that may be stuck to the bottom. The hot liquid will sizzle immediately, causing the burnt pieces to release.
Next, the tomatoes and beans are added and the chili is simmered to bring it all together. After about 15 minutes, the chili is removed from the heat. Fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro is added to finish it off.
Serve immediately with some sweet potato cornbread.
Tips & Tricks
- Peeling the sweet potatoes is a non-negotiable. Unlike Yukon or red potatoes, sweet potatoes have a fibrous skin that isn’t pleasant to bite into. So make sure you peel those potatoes before cutting them and cooking them.
- Don’t dice the sweet potatoes too small. They will break apart in the chili if they’re too small.
- If you want the chili thinner, you can add one of the cans of beans without draining out the liquid. Or you can add in more broth.
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ medium yellow onion diced
- 2 cups raw sweet potato peeled, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 can fire-roasted petite diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)
- 2 cans black beans (15.5 ounces)
- 1 can pinto beans in mild chili sauce (15.5 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro
- Grab a large pot or Dutch oven and place on burner. Set heat to medium and add oil to pot. Once pot is hot, add onion and sweet potato. Cook on medium heat until it begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Cook for 1 minutes.
- Add chicken broth and stir to loosen up burned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add tomatoes and pinto beans in chili sauce to pot. Drain black beans and add to the pot. Cover and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, remove lid and reduce temperature to medium-low so it's now simmering. Let simmer (uncovered) for 15 minutes until sweet potatoes are cooked through.
- Once it's done, remove from heat and add lime juice and cilantro. Serve immediately.