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.
Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- Category: Stew
Extraordinary vegetarian chili containing sweet potatoes, black and kidney beans, peppers and cocoa powder. A wonderfully delicious, hearty & healthy vegan meal. Recipe yields 6 bowls.
- 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 cubes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 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
- 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, with their juices*
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked black beans
- 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Suggested garnishes: sour cream, grated cheese, thinly sliced green onions and/or chopped cilantro
- 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 a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start turning translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the garlic and spices (chili powder, cumin, cayenne, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and another dash of salt and pepper) and liquid ingredients (tomatoes, beans and broth), and stir. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chili has reduced to a heartier consistency, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- If you would like an even thicker consistency, use a potato masher to mash the chili until the texture suits your preferences. Season chili with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the chili into individual bowls, garnish as desired and serve.
Recipe adapted from Real Simple.
*A note on canned tomatoes: I’m 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.
Slow cooker/Crockpot option: This chili should turn out well after cooking on low for 7 to 8 hours, or on high for 4 to 5 hours.
▸ Nutrition Information
Have you ever tried sweet potatoes in your chili before? You must, I insist!
Very easy and delicious!
This is soooo good. And I’m not even vegan.
Cookie & Kate this is another winner!!!!
We will make it again :)
Hope Cookie is doing well.
Happy you think so, Sherri!
Just curious, what does the cocoa powder do for this recipe? That was unexpected to me!
Hi! It adds to the overall flavor. Although surprising, really delicious in this recipe!
I made this with a few adjustments. I used a combo of dried black and Christmas Lima beans and added some chicken thighs. I also added 2 minced anchovies, 2 tsp soy sauce, 2T bourbon, 2T brown sugar, and some apple cider vinegar. It was fantastic, though obviously no longer vegan.
So basically not chili at all with all those weird ingredients. Anchovies in chili????
Elaine B Culick
Made this tonight. Delicious! I have been following you a couple of months as I am trying to get more plant-based protien in my diet. This recipe is easy to make. Everyone who tried it loved it. One thing I did add was add mushrooms, as I had some in the frig I needed to cook. I like the little bit of heat the cayenne pepper adds. I think the cocoa and cinnamon elevate the flavor of the potato. What I really like best is that is does not taste tomatoey. I found a whole bunch of NEW flavors in this chili recipe.
Since my sons aren’t vegetarians, could I include ground beef?
Hi, I’m of course a vegetarian but you can add that if you like. :)
Delicious! We enjoyed the complexity of flavor with the combo of sweet potatoes, cinnamon, cocoa powder and cumin.
We’ve made this recipe a handful of times and we’re still blown away by how amazing the flavours are. My husband is not vegan or vegetarian and still loves it. I think the cocoa powder really makes this one unique. Would recommended 10 times out of 10! Thank you for sharing!!
Another fantastic recipe! Thanks Kate!
I didn’t think I liked sweet potato in my chili, but I was wrong! This was delicious and unbelievably easy. Will definitely make this a few more times into winter :)
I’m glad you loved it, Cathy! Thank you for your review.
Great recipe Kate! Especially on a cold rainy day here in Toronto Canada. I added one tablespoon of molasses to the recipe to create a little more depth and it was awesome! Thank you!
I’m glad it was just what you needed today!
Delicious! I love your recipes. Vegan lentil soup is my favorite. We are trying to eat more meatless meals just for health reasons, and this makes it easy. Thanks so much for sharing these.
This was the best chili ever!!!! We made it last night. Btw the recipe doesn’t have pinto beans as mentioned in description above, but I think the pinto beans would’ve changed the flavor profile.
Thanks for this recipe!!!
Do you think 2 cups of water could be substituted in place of the veggie stock? Your comment about this in the broccoli cheese soup recipe has been wondering about other recipes.
This recipe has become a staple in our menu rotation!
Hi! I haven’t tried it with this one, but you could try it. Adjust the seasonings as you see fit. Thank you for your review, Robyn!
I choose this recipe because of the unsweetened cocoa and of course that is what I was missing when I went to make it yesterday. I threw in 4 semisweet chocolate chips♀️. I’m eating it now, and it’s delicious!
Hooray! Thank you, Cathy.
Absolutely amazing chilli, so so tastey!
This will become a regular in my house, thanks for the recipe
My family loved it! I’ll make it again! I added some orange squash, too! (Not certain what that’s called.
Wow! My first time cooking something from this wonderful site and my goodness how incredible! I was already happy when I saw all the colors! Thank you Kate and I absolutely adore Cookie, big dog lover myself!
I made this in a crockpot but seems very liquidy. Any thoughts?
Hi Lisa, sorry I don’t have much insight for you as I haven’t tested it in a crock pot. It may vary depending on if you cooked your vegetables like the recipe states.
Hi Lisa & Kate — Anytime a chili seems a little too watery, add a smidge of corn meal to thicken it up (a Tbsp or 2 should do)!!
Am making this tonight in the crockpot, sans green peppers since I don’t have any in my fridge…added an extra sweet potato instead.
Always like your recipes & find them easy to adjust to whatever is on hand! Thanks!!
We just made this in the crockpot too. I sauteed the onion, garlic, and peppers first to cut down on water content and intensify flavors. It was still more soupy but delicious- everyone loved it. Next time I’ll cut down a little on the broth. Next day, the consistency is perfect! Another great recipe Kate!
Wow!! I love the vegetarian chili recipe from your site, but I enjoyed this even more! We only used 1/2 tsp. cayenne and it was still a little spicy for us, but we are wimps lol. I just wanted to share that for those who like their chili a little more on the mild side. ;) Awesome recipe, we will be making this regularly!
This was one of the most delicious chillis I’ve ever eaten. It had just the right amount of heat, and the flavours were complex with very little effort. I added some leftover sauteed mixed mushrooms which increased the depth of flavour and added some “meatiness.” This is a definite make again.
My local store does not sell sweet potatoes, they only have yams, will they substitute ok? I know they look the same but are a different vegetable.
Hi! That should work fine. Flavor will vary slightly.
This is delicious! Does it freeze well?
Hi Angela! I don’t freeze all my recipes, but I believe others have said this one freezes well.
I don’t like sweet potatoes, but your Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili is really good, and doesn’t taste like sweet potatoes–ha ha! I’ve been looking for some healthier recipes, and trying to sneak some vegetarian ones into rotation with my meat-loving husband. He said he didn’t consider ithis ‘chili’ but he liked it and asked for seconds. ;-)
I also shared it with my vegan sister and her vegetarian adult kids, as well as my mom, who doesn’t like hot things. Everyone loved it, and my mom said even though it was a bit hot to her, she couldn’t stop eating it. So it’s a winner all around. Thank you!!
LOVED the flavor from this recipe. I like things a little hotter so I added 1 chopped jalapeno with the rest of the veggies in step one.
Absolutely delicious. Will be making again.
Thank you! I’m delighted you loved it, Michele.
Debra L Habeck
Thank you for answering me. I have now had the chance to try both. I prefer the actual sweet potato, not only for flavor but the texture is nicer. Yam does seem ok for a fill in though.
Made this last night and was terrific! Served with Everyday green salad. Very tasty and will definitely make again.
That sounds like a delicious paring! Thank you for taking the time to review.
So so so so good!! Saving this to my “Tried and Loved” board!
Wonderful! Just forwarded the recipe to my sisters who loved it. Even my dad, who thought putting a sweet potato in chili was madness, ate three bowls. A keeper
Great! Thank you for your review, Pam.
I am not a vegetarian but I have a friend who is. We invited her family over for supper and I made this recipe. We all loved it. Served with cilantro and avocados. I will make this again.
Another great tasting recipe, amazing!
I used 2 cans of white kidney beans instead of black beans.
Thank you, Christian! I appreciate your review.
Made it this morning after deciding your black bean soup was the best I’d ever made or tasted, and Now this chili is the best I’ve ever made or tasted! I am so happy that I stumbled upon you this morning in my search for recipes. I am now going to Julia & Julia you and make everything I can possibly make from your site. You are wonderful. Thanks so much for your help with my new quest to eat vegan. ♥️
You’re welcome! I’m excited you loved it.
Excellent chili. I made mostly as written except I added half a jalepeno and used water instead of broth and whole fire roasted as I didn’t have any broth or diced tomatoes in the house. Also just black beans. It was delicious topped with crumbled tortilla chips and sliced avocado. Great recipe
Delicious, love the taste. I added spinach at the end.
We tried this chili last night, and it is very good! I will have to note that 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper would be VERY spicy. Our family is used to spicy food too, but we started with 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, and it was plenty spicy. Other than that note, I will definitely make it again.
Thank you for sharing, April!
So, so good! I’ll admit I was hesitant about adding cocoa to chili, but I’m glad I tried it! I swapped cocoa for cacao and used only pinto beans. It was delicious and super easy!
Is it possible to use russet potatoes instead of sweet potatoes? I don’t have sweet on hand.
Hi, I haven’t tried it with this recipe. If you try it, let me know!
I’ve made this several times and have loved it every time! So good
My daughter 1st made it for girls scouts with zucchini cornbread on the side. My hubby loved it so much making for 2nd week in a row. This was hearty, healthy. It also really didn’t make blood sugar rise more than normal. It was very easy to make.
I love it! Thank you for your review, Lauri.
This is delicious, I made such a huge pot of chilli that the second time I made it I halved the quantities
I love that! Thank you for sharing, Carol.
My family lover this recipe! I’ve made this several times for dinner and doubled it for a family BBQ. I take out half of the sweet potatoes, mash them, and return the ‘mush’ back to the chili to thicken it rather than mash all contents as suggested. Occasionally I will add other vegetables such as corn, carrots, and green beans. I serve it over brown rice.
I’ve made this chili many times because my family loves it. Thank you!00
You’re welcome, Dayanna! I’m happy you enjoyed it.
I don’t have cocoa powder but I do have an 85% dark chocolate bar. Can I just use a couple of pieces of that? Thank you!
Hi Margaret, I would just omit.
This is my absolute favorite! So excited for the first cool day of fall to make it. Jalapenos instead of bell peppers adds the perfect kick for me.
I hope it hits the spot, Lyssa! Thank you for your review.
This turned out great! I used fresh Roma tomatoes because I had a ton in my garden this year. Added extra broth since there was not much juice. Will have it for lunch the next 3 days and today for dinner. Thank you!
Absolutely delicious! Added a can of chickpeas in addition to the black and kidney beans.
Thank you for sharing, Jenna!
sue a warner
Dug out your cookbook, and its time for this favorite chili….So good and warm. Sorry to see summer end, but your chili recipes make it worth while :)
I’m glad you loved it, Sue! Thank you for sharing.
This was really delicious! I used half a green and red bell pepper each because it’s what I had and added a jalapeno. I’d probably use half a cup less liquid next time only due to personal preference. Would definitely make again!
This has become my go to chili recipe over the years because not only do I love it, but my toddlers do too. I know use the spices as the base of any other chili variation that I try too. Thank you!!!
You’re welcome, Caitlin!
Awesome recipe. I’ve made it several times and even my carnivore friends love it.
I made this for a little Halloween get together and everyone absolutely loved it! So delicious and even more so when eating it for lunch over the next couple of days! I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!
I’m glad you loved it, Jami! Thank you for your review.
Another delicious recipe Kate. Your recipes never disappoint!
This is just so good. I doubled the recipe thinking I’d freeze some for future meals (I’m positive we’ll eat this up before having the chance to freeze it!). Only had/used 3 cans of beans, didn’t have veggie stock on hand so I used water (prob more like 3.5 cups instead of 4), and only had 2 bell peppers so I added some shredded carrots too, and left out the cayenne so my toddler could eat it. Even with the subs, THIS IS SO DELICIOUS! Already know I’ll make this again and again. Kate’s lentil soup is one of my all-time favorites but wow am I glad I tried this.
Mmmmmm. This is delicious. Now one of my top 2 vegetarian chili recipes. Thank you for this one.
Made this recipe for a sick friend & her family. I love heat but some do not. I eased off on the cayenne pepper. It was still pretty hot.
I recommended adding plain yogurt, sour cream or grated cheese as a topping to tame the heat
I will make it again for myself.
Thank you for sharing, Vivian!
This is our absolute favorite chili recipe. We once made it over a gas grill on a beach in California when we were cycling the Pacific coast with a group of friends. Cocoa powder is the secret ingredient.
I’m glad you love it, Camilla!
This chili is good but it’s way too spicy. I like spicy food but I really suggest those who make this to reduce the amount of Cayenne Pepper because with the Chili Powder, it’s too much. I was mad because I spent so much time preparing it only to find it’s not really edible for me because of that. Saying “more or less depending on your taste” won’t really make sense to most inexperienced chefs. I had to cut it with lemon juice to reduce the acidity of the Cayenne Pepper oil. I won’t make this again unless I use literally 1/8 of a teaspoon of Cayenne.
I’m sorry you didn’t love it as is. You can reduce the spice to your tastes. I appreciate your feedback, Ellen.
Seriously delicious! My only change was using less cayenne. Perfect and satisfying on a chilly night. Love it!
Thank you for your review, Regina!
Question for clarification. Recipe states 1 can of black beans & 1 can kidney beans but description above recipe states pinto beans. Does it matter or just personal preference? Thank you.
Hi Stephanie, so sorry for my delay! You can use either.
I love the ingredients but I really don’t like to smell chocolate one I want to eat chili. I put in 1/4 of the chili powder and it still too spicy. I can’t taste all of the rest of the wonderful ingredients
I am a huge fan and frequent user of so many of your recipes, and have shared countless links with friends and family members who’ve given rave reviews to the dishes I’ve made from your site. I feel a little badly letting you know that I was disappointed with this recipe, but am sharing feedback so that others might make modifications. I found this chili to be overly spicy; I have a high tolerance for spice and even with 3/4 teaspoon of cayenne — less than called for in the recipe — I found the heat from the cayenne overpowered the other flavors. Also, the consistency was quite soupy, even after pureeing about 2 cups of the chili to add more body to the broth. I’ll go back to your regular veggie chili recipe next time (to which I have added sweet potatoes successfully in the past). Thanks for “listening,” and I’ll be back for more of your delicious and nutritious recipes very soon.
Hi Susan, I’m sorry to hear you didn’t love this one. I appreciate you sharing your feedback.
What time would you suggest in an instant pot?
Hi LJ, I don’t have instructions as I haven’t tried it.
I love this recipe but I suggest draining the canned tomatoes for a less liquid result.
I just made this in the morning…and now I can’t wait for lunch! I tried a little bit, and it’s so delicious. I absolutely love your other chili recipe, so I had never made this one. But, I’ve heard that sweet potato chili is good – and I do love sweet potatoes – so I finally decided to try it, and I’m so glad I did!
I love that! Thank you for sharing, Emilie.
This is our favorite chili recipe! I make it in the crockpot and we all love it!
Great to hear, Gina. I appreciate your review!
Love this! Really delicious and the mix of spices makes it unique.
SO GOOD! Literally, whenever I’m looking for a recipe I will first search for a Cookie and Kate recipe, and it’s only if there isn’t one here that I’ll even consider other recipes. All the recipes here are so consistently home runs, and this was no exception! I added some ground ghost pepper for a bit more heat, and because I didn’t have them, I swapped the canned tomatoes for fresh ones. I also added some semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of cocoa powder. I blended about a third of it before serving it, and it was delicious! Thank you for all the incredible recipes Kate!
I’m so glad you hear that, Ben! Thank you for your review.
I made this last year & again today. It is absolutely delicious! One of our favorite cold- weather comfort foods served with corn bread. Yum!
I love to hear that, Patti! Thank you for your review.
GREAT recipe! I couldn’t decide whether to make this or your Butternut Squash Chili so I added a big handful of chopped lacinanto kale at the end. I also went heavy on all the spices and included some orange zest. It was wild! Really delish!
This looks really, really good! I can’t wait to try it. Too bad I couldn’t save it to Pinterest. There are just no available images or a video available to save it with.
I’ve just read your blood cell donor article and see that was 10 years ago. Do you have an update on the recipient? What a wonderful gift to give someone!
Michael J Horvath
Have never been disappointed with any of your recipes. Thank you.
I’m delighted to hear that, Michael!
Absolutely delicious. I cut back a bit on the cayenne and added a rich oh honey. Wonderful recipe. It’s a keeper.
That’s great to hear, Margot! I appreciate your review.
Kate, your Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chilli was the BEST chilli I have ever tasted. It had such rich flavours. I added an extra tablespoon of cocoa powder just for the hell of it!
I’ll be making this over and over again! Any of your other recipes that have that depth of flavour that you could recommend? My partner loves meat so anything veggie has to be as good as your chilli.
I’m glad you loved it, Rebecca! Thank you for your review.
Hi Kate – Thank you for sharing this recipe! This chili is so delicious and healthy. I can’t believe how much depth of flavor it has without the meat.
This is my favorite sweet potato chili, i like it with avocado, cilantro and green onion. Last night I had unexpected company, and not much but a bit of this chili left, so I made some rice, ribboned some cabbage and thin sliced some cucumber, plus diced avocado, cilantro and green onion, and turned it into a bowl, topped with some greek yogurt ranch dressing, it was inhaled.
Thank you for this bomb recipe.
I hope this isn’t an annoying question, but I hate bell peppers! Is there something I can substitute for them in this recipe because besides the bell peppers it sounds amazing and I really want to make it! Thanks!
Can red Pinto Beans be used? As well as Cacao Powder?
Hi Chris, I prefer this recipe as written. But, you can get creative. Let me know what you think when you try it!
So sorry, I just left a question asking about Cacao Powder and see that it’s listed in recipe. Thanks
Have made t hi several times. Easy and delicious! Even non vegetarians love it I do reduce the cayenne, for some family members taste.
Have made it several times. Easy and delicious! Even non vegetarians love it! I do reduce the cayenne, for some family members taste. I let it simmer uncovered for a bit if I want to thicken. Also sometimes add more sweet potatoes because I love them!
That’s great, Mary! I appreciate your review.
WOW this tasted great! The cocoa powder was a really nice unexpected counterpoint to the heat from the cayenne. Added a subtle sweet smokiness and a lot of depth. Definitely will make again.
I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for your review.
Hi Kate! Forgive my silly question, but, if I wanted to cook this in the crockpot, do I sauté the veggies first and then put it in the crockpot or just throw it all in at once? Thank you!
H! I find you get the best flavor when you sauté. Let me know if you try it!
I loved this. Hearty and delicious. I loved the balance of the sweetness from the sweet potato with the chili powder and red pepper. I only used half the recommended amount of cayenne though and it was just the right amount of heat.
Holy COW, this stuff is GOOD! I think this is my first time ever reviewing a recipe, but I couldn’t hold back. I made it exactly as written with one change: I added in 1/2 package of Gardein Veggie Crumbles. This is hands-down the most delicious chili I’ve ever made. The cocoa powder is so subtle, but it really brings out the flavor of the sweet potato. Can’t wait to make it again!
That’s great to hear, Sharon! I appreciate your review.