Hearty, healthy, and the kitchen sink of recipes, a bowl of steaming chili is the perfect cold weather entrée. While I was home for Christmas, I flipped through my mom’s copy of Real Simple magazine and came across a recipe for vegetarian chili with sweet potatoes. “Sweet potatoes and veggie chili?” I thought. “Two of my favorite foods, together?!” The recipe shot to the top of my mental to-cook list as I tore out the pages for safekeeping.
Usually when I make veggie chili, I’ll use all the vegetables I have on hand, and throw in whatever kind of beans and tomatoes that are in my pantry. This time around, I mostly followed the recipe, and it turned out fabulously.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced, or 1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less, depending on how spicy you like your chili)
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ground sea salt and black pepper
- about 28-ounces canned diced tomatoes, including the liquid*
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- about 2 cups OR one 14 oz. can vegetable broth
- garnishes: sour cream, sliced scallions, sliced radishes (optional)
- In a 4 to 6 quart Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chopped vegetables (onion, peppers and sweet potatoes) and cook, stirring occasionally. Once the onions start turning translucent, turn the heat down to medium-low.
- Add the garlic and spices (chili powder, cumin, cayenne, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and a dash of salt and pepper) and canned ingredients (tomatoes, beans and broth), and stir. Cover and cook for 45 minutes up to two hours, stirring occasionally.
- By the time your chili is done, the sweet potatoes should be nice and soft and the liquid should have reduced a bit, producing the hearty chili consistency that we all know and love. Season chili with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the chili into individual bowls, garnish as desired and serve.
- Adapted from Real Simple.
- Please don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. They’re all common ingredients; I bet you have most of them in your cabinets already!
- The original recipe suggested to cook the chili in a crockpot. I, however, took the opportunity to use my new Le Creuset French Oven from TJ Maxx. (Score!!! It was a 25th birthday present from me, to me.) I'm certain cooking the chili on the stove produces a tastier end result because you can sautée the chopped vegetables, which brings out their flavor. Do as you wish, but I recommend cooking on the stovetop.
- To garnish your bowl of chili, try adding a dollop of sour cream and chopped green onions. Real Simple suggested thinly sliced radishes; frankly, I would go without. Alternately, you could try fresh cilantro and grated cheese. I served mine with grilled sweet potatoes and cheddar and dill beer bread. Recipes coming soon!
- *I am concerned about the BPA levels in canned tomato goods and avoid canned tomato products as best I can. I recommend using Muir Glen canned tomatoes because their cans are BPA-free.
Have you ever tried sweet potatoes in your chili before? You must, I insist!