This hearty vegetarian sweet potato chili is brimming with healthy vegetables and packs every bit as much flavor as a traditional beef chili. It’s an ultra comforting dish to get you through the winter.
Lately we’ve been trying to eat less meat at home. One of the easiest ways I’ve found to cut down on meat is to omit it from dishes where it’s easily replaced with ingredients that are just as tasty.
In my opinion, one of those dishes is chili. A beefy chili is traditional and great and all, but honestly? Take out the beef, add some extra veg, and I’m just as happy!
The flavor comes so much from the spice blend that I feel like you could put pretty much anything in there and it would taste roughly the same.
You might disagree! My husband does. But our differences are what keeps things interesting, right? 😌
So in this case I replaced the meat with hearty, flavorful sweet potatoes. Because sweet potatoes are fab. Sweet potatoes > regular potatoes by a long shot.
Again, just my opinion.
But there is no denying that they are great in this vegetarian chili! Note that this chili is also vegan as long as you skip the cheese and sour cream.
This sweet potato chili is made much like a traditional beef chili, but I added some vegetable stock because potatoes, sweet or otherwise, are starchy and naturally thicken the liquid they cook in.
I also added a chipotle chile (smoked jalapeno pepper canned in adobo sauce – easily found in the Mexican section of most grocery stores, or here). In addition to heat, these add a wonderful smoky flavor.
However they are fairly spicy, so you can adjust the quantity to your liking. I find that one minced chipotle chile yields a mild to medium level of spiciness that works for the whole family.
Here’s the step-by-step.
How to Make Sweet Potato Chili
- Chop your bell peppers and onion, and mince some garlic.
- Peel and cut one large sweet potato into 1-inch cubes.
3. Heat olive oil in a medium-size dutch oven over medium heat, and cook the onion until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant.
4. Add the bell peppers and sweet potatoes, and give it a good stir.
5. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, thyme, salt, minced chipotle chile and tomato paste, and stir to coat.
6. Add one 14-oz can of black beans, one 14-oz can of red kidney beans, one 28-oz can of whole tomatoes packed in purée, and 3 cups of broth. *The starch in the sweet potatoes will thicken the chili, but if you like a very thick chili, reduce the broth to 2 cups.
7. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about an hour, until thickened.
Serve with toppings of your choice. We like grated cheddar, sour cream, and cilantro or sliced green onions.
Biscuits, corn bread or tortilla chips make excellent sides.
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More vegetarian weeknight meals!
If you love sweet potatoes as much as we do, try these recipes!
Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 1 large sweet potato cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 chipotle chili canned in adobo minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 14- oz can red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1 14- oz can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 28- oz can whole tomatoes in puree
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- Optional toppings: sour cream, grated cheese, cilantro, chopped red onion
- In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, until fragrant.
- Reduce the heat to low and stir in the peppers, sweet potatoes, chili powder, cumin, oregano, thyme, salt, chipotle chile and tomato paste.
- Stir in the beans, tomatoes, and stock.
- Simmer on low heat, uncovered, for about an hour, until thickened. Season with additional salt to taste.
- Serve with desired toppings.