Comfort food chili that's incredibly delicious and also healthy? Yes! This vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili is packed with so much flavor, you might not believe it's healthy.... But it is!
(This recipe for Sweet Potato Chili was originally published in February 2011, but has been updated with new photos and content in 2019).
Let's get right down to business. While eating this sweet potato chili for dinner the first time I made it, I happily exclaimed to Chris, "This is a super healthy meal!" He gave me a look and replied, "No, it's not. It can't be. It doesn't taste healthy. There's no way this is healthy!"
Boom. When you make a meatless chili that's incredibly satisfying, filling, and delicious, you definitely have a make over and over again dish on your hands.
And that's exactly what I've been doing. Making this sweet potato chili over and over again throughout the years. It may not taste healthy, but it is! And in my opinion, that's the very best kind of healthy.
It's only early November, but there's already snow in the forecast for Boston (Sob!) and I know much of the country has already seen wintry weather. In my mind, the only good thing about more snow is that it's perfect chili eating weather.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Despite a seemingly long list of ingredients (most of them are spices!), this chili is so easy to make. It won't interrupt your lazy winter weekend mood too much.
Really all you have to do is sauté a few veggies and then throw everything else into the pot and let it simmer.
And not only is this recipe easy, but it makes plenty, so you may even be able to stick some in the freezer for a later, snowy date when you just don't feel like cooking.
Of course, the main reason you'll love this chili is because it's absolutely delicious!
Like I mentioned, the ingredient list looks quite long, but don't worry because it's mostly spices (and hopefully you have most of them in your kitchen already!).
Here's everything you need:
- Olive oil
- Red bell pepper
- Chili powder
- Ground cumin
- Dried oregano
- Sweet potatoes
- Diced tomatoes in juice
- Tomato paste
- Black beans
- Kidney beans
- Cilantro, for garnish
- Avocado, for garnish
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt, for garnish
How to Make Sweet Potato Chili
Seriously though, this meal is one of the easiest to make. Chop some veggies, open some cans of beans and diced tomatoes, throw everything in a pot, and let it simmer. That means more time for you to snuggle under blankets. Or shovel your driveway. I'll let you decide.
Really, the toughest part of this sweet potato chili recipe is chopping the vegetables. And even that's not too tough as it's just sweet potatoes, red pepper, jalapeño, onion, and garlic.
Once everything is chopped, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook, while stirring, until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the red peppers and jalapeños and cook for about 10 more minutes. Don't forget to keep stirring! I use 2 tablespoons of diced jalapeño pepper in mine and don't find it too spicy, but if you're sensitive to spice, you can keep it to 1 tablespoon. You still want to get some of the jalapeño flavor!
After 10 minutes, stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook for another two minutes.
Ready for the next step? Add in ALL the other ingredients besides the garnish, obvi. This includes (deep breath!) sweet potatoes, water, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, black beans, and kidney beans.
And bring the mixture to a boil. Hello, you just basically finished the whole sweet potato chili recipe. I told you it was easy!
Now all you have to do is lower heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the sweet potatoes are nice and tender. I simmered mine for about 25 minutes.
Serve and garnish using anything you like. Cilantro (or parsley if you can't do cilantro) and diced avocado work well, but so does sour cream or Greek yogurt if you want to add a little creaminess.
And now you're ready to enjoy a chili that is so good it just can't be healthy. But it is. I mean, do you see anything bad about this chili?
I don't want to say it tastes "meaty" because that might (understandably) freak some people out, but it's totally hearty and really does taste like so much more than just veggies.
The flavors are out of this world, which is exactly why I've made this sweet potato chili over and over again.
You could even make this chili for the Super Bowl and have a whole lot of people oohing and ahhing over it before you tell them it's packed with antioxidants, fiber, and other good stuff.
I mean, it kinda balances out all the buffalo wings and nachos, right? I'm going with yes.
I've also made this chili alongside a traditional beef chili when I've had friends over so that there's something for everyone. It's perfect for anyone eating vegetarian or anyone who simply prefers a lighter, veggie-packed chili.
It's so easy to make that it's not a problem to throw this together while cooking up another chili (as long as you have two big pots!).
How to Store
For any leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
How to Freeze Chili
But it's also super easy to freeze this chili! So I recommend making this whole batch even if you're only cooking for one or two.
If you're cooking for a larger family and still want some to freeze, you can easily double the recipe.
To freeze, make sure chili is cooled and then portion out into large Ziplock bags or airtight Tupperware containers. I love freezing it in bags because they can be flattened and don't take up a lot of space in the freezer.
If freezing in bags, once you fill them, lay them flat on a baking sheet and put in freezer until they're solid.
This sweet potato chili should stay good in your freezer for up to 6 months. I recommend defrosting it in the fridge overnight, but you can also use the microwave or a room temperature water bath.
Trust me, you'll be so happy come January when we're getting hit with the 10th blizzard and you just want a warm satisfying meal that you don't have to work too hard for.
More Chili Recipes
If you enjoyed this chili (or are looking for a chili with meat!), check out some of my other chili recipes:
- Buffalo Chicken Chili
- Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili
- Red Wine Pumpkin Chili
- Chipotle Turkey Chili
- White Chicken Chili
- Slow Cooker Chili
- Thai Green Curry Chicken Chili (from Crazy Inspired Life)
Is there anything that makes you happy about winter? To be honest, most of my picks are food and blanket related.
Sweet Potato Chili
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic (from about 3 cloves)
- 1 red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1-2 Tbsp diced jalapeño (from 1 large pepper)
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 2 large sweet potatoes (about 1 ½ pounds), peeled and chopped into ½" cubes
- 2 cups water
- 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15. oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- chopped cilantro (for garnish), optional
- ½ avocado, diced (for garnish), optional
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt (for garnish), optional
- Heat oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook, while stirring, until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the red pepper and the jalapeño (use 2 Tbsp if you like a little heat and 1 Tbsp if you prefer mild) and cook for about 10 more minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper and cook for another two minutes.
- Add sweet potatoes, water, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, black beans, and kidney beans to saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer, cover, and cook it until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.
- Serve and garnish with avocado and cilantro if desired.
- Recipe adapted from Simple Vegetarian Pleasures.
- Chili can be frozen in airtight containers.
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this recipe looks perfect for a day like today. ive never ventured out of my meat-chili comfort zone, but this seems like something i could handle.
happy in winter... soup, ugg slippers DEF, fur hat 🙂
Amanda- The Nutritionist Reviews says
That looks so good!
This is a great twist on tradition chili. I love the avocado addition.
emily @ the happy home says
oooh. every new meatless chili recipe is a recipe added to my folder!
cannot wait to try!
sounds delicious 🙂 i bet it would also be good with a chipotle and adobo! i need a good pair of boots... got away with it last year, but this year's been rough!
YUM! Looks totally comforting! I love adding sweet potato or squash to chili. Stay warm & safe up there! Crazy weather
Simply Life says
I love sweet potato chili- this looks great!
Lauren at KeepItSweet says
I need to make this recipe this weekend!!!
Fun and Fearless in Beantown says
This looks incredibly hearty! I don't mind the snow as much for the same reasons as you (although I swear by my Burberry slickers). Since I work close to home, it is nice when the city is quiet and I can wear jeans to work and crank out a lot of work in the office!
Sweet potatoes, black beans, and avocado...three of my favorite things! I can't wait to try this recipe.
I love the winter...nothing better than having a warm dish of comfort, a good glass of red, and a view of the snow 🙂
yeesss, another urbanite who shares my love of snow 🙂 And for all the same reasons as you listed - just swap in my heavy duty North Face boots alternated with my plaid Ralph Lauren rain boots and we have a win. This soup is also a win, very creative touch to make chili with sweet potato!!
I am soooo with you on leggings under jeans! It's a must for this snowy winter. Chili looks delish!
sarah k. @ the pajama chef says
this looks delicious!
Emily @ A Cambridge Story says
As a real carnivore, I love finding hearty, veggie-filled dishes that don't make you miss the meat. If you are looking for insanely good sweet potatoes, head over to the Somerville Winter Market. I've never tasted anything like them. My Hunter boots and Gor-Tex gloves are definitely making winter more comfortable... but I am still whining about all this snow!
Sweet potatoes and black beans are one of my favorite combos. I don't know if I ever add tomato paste. I should try that.
Lin Ann says
This chili looks and sounds delicious! I love being able to see the ingredients in a chili and not be a big bowl of mush.
I made a very similar version of this a few weeks ago! So tasty!
I think winter isn't so bad if you're prepared - boots, down coat, etc! This is the first year I am prepared for winter and I'm rather loving it!
I love when winter begins... but in NYC when it snows most of it turns to black slush which is disgusting and leaves all my pant legs speckled with sludge. It aint pretty... i guess i love days in flannel pajamas with hot coffee and netflix. 🙂 I'm simple that.
Now lets talk about that chili that looks so perfect and delicious for this snowy and icy hell; i want! I need! I must have! it looks fab!
Ahhhh!! What I wouldn't give for a good bowl of chili right now! I'm stuck in Chicago, and let's just say that I'm tired of hotel food. 🙂
Looks DELICIOUS! Might just brave the elements in a bit to grab ingredients and make it tonight.
This chili looks fantastic! I LOVE sweet potatoes, and adding them to chili is a great idea.
Although I am getting a little sick of winter, there are definitely aspects that I love: hot and comforting meals (like chili!), staying inside as the snow falls and then going out and playing in it with our dog, and snow days!
Those are some seriously warm boots you have there! I feel very fortunate that I don't have to deal with all the snow anymore....we've had cold here and there, but who cares? It's snow I've had enough of in my life! 🙂
Love the chili dish, mainly because of all the sweet potatoes...my favorite.
This looks delicious! And correct me if I'm wrong, but not only is it healthy, it's vegan! Perhaps a little sprinkle of cheese on top would make it even better - and cheese is dairy, which is obv healthy (although not vegan)! What makes me happy about winter? Escaping to somewhere warm! 🙂
I always thought I was the only person who wore leggings under jeans! This chili looks fabulous. Hearty meals and hot chocolate are my favorite parts about cold weather. Also, my car was completely encased in ice this morning and it was kinda fun whacking it to break the ice off!
mmmm I love sweet potatoes! this looks delicious. i'd have to eat this all by myself though b/c my silly husband doesn't like sweet potatoes! 😛
I adore pumpkin in chili so I imagine that sweet potato would make me feel the same way. Yum, yum, yum!
Kristin @ FoodFash says
Chopping hard veggies is such a pain! But judging by your photos, it was totally worth it!
I hate winter, but I love sitting at a roaring fire while drinking a spicy red wine. You can't do that in August.
I cannot wait to try this recipe, it sounds delicious and fabulous.
I have 5 pounds of sweet potatoes... I will be making LOTS of this and freezing it! Thanks for the great recipe!
My family loved this We didn't even miss the meat. Thanks for sharing!
Denay DeGuzman says
My daughter and I made and enjoyed this sweet potato chili. It was easy to make and very delicious. A perfect dinner for the cool-weather months.