Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili

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Did you know that national chili day is February 27? I’m a little late with this news, but I like chili, not just on chilly days, but all year long. Chili’s origins are obscure. Sometimes called the “soup of the devil” or “bowl of red,” chili was a favorite meal of American cowboys on the western frontier in the late 1800s. Now chili is ubiquitous and almost as American as apple pie. It’s so easy to make and I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t like chili.

There are three things you should know about making chili:

  1. Everyone thinks their recipe is the absolute best.
  2. There’s no exact way to make it.
  3. Each recipe claims to have a secret ingredient (e.g., beer, cinnamon, chocolate, cornmeal, wine, pinch of love).

Fun fact: In 1977, the state of Texas declared chili as the state dish.


  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 C frozen corn
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, cut in small cubes
  • 1 roasted red pepper, about 1/2 C chopped
  • 2 T chili powder
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 t cacao powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28-ounce can water
  • 2 15-ounce cans of black beans, drained
  • 1 T bullion
  • 1 lime (optional)

Make it:

Pour the olive oil into a large soup pot. Over medium heat, add onions and corn and saute for about 5 minutes or until they’re browned a little. Add sweet potatoes and saute for another 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, salt, cacao (this is my secret ingredient), and roasted red peppers. Stir until the spices are evenly distributed. Add the tomatoes, then fill the tomato can with water and add to the pot along with a tablespoon of bullion and beans. Simmer for about 45 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft. Dish it up and squeeze some lime over each bowl. This is great with some dairy-free yogurt and/or guacamole.

Some of the ingredients I used for this recipe are featured below.

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