Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili

I love it when things just fall into place by themselves. One day I glanced at the sweet potatoes cuddled up in their basket and suddenly wanted to make some kind of vegetarian chili with them. I swear it was the next day when Kate left me a comment and I wandered over to her blog.

(Because, you know, I stalk you if I’ve never seen you here before. Everyone does that, right? . . . . right?)

I scrolled down her lovely blog and saw this recipe. Fate! I almost had everything to make it, so I just improvised a little and threw in some leftover grilled zucchini from the Grilled Veggie Quesadillas we had for lunch and some chickpeas instead of kidneys. I loved this chili, and thought the cinnamon measurement was spot-on. (Some sweet potato or pumpkin chilis I’ve tried have way too much cinnamon and/or pumpkin pie spice. I don’t want my chili to taste like pie.)

The cocoa powder was a nice touch, too, as it adds depth of flavor. It doesn’t taste like chocolate chili, don’t worry. I use cocoa in my taco seasoning, and I love it.

I loved it, and my family happily slurped it right up. Mission accomplished.

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Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili


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, chopped, or 1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I only used 1/4 tsp because I have little ones)
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
ground sea salt and black pepper
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, including the liquid
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup vegetable broth
sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped fresh cilantro, and/or tortilla chips for garnish


In a 4 to 6 quart Dutch oven or stockpot, sautée the chopped vegetables in one to two tablespoon of heat-safe oil (like grapeseed or coconut) on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Once the onions start turning translucent, reduce heat to medium-low.

Add all of the spices and canned ingredients, and stir. Cover and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours. Ladle into bowls and add garnishes.

Serves 4-6.

Nat's Notes:
1. This is a very adaptable recipe. I didn't have everything on hand, so I subbed a zucchini for one of the peppers, chickpeas for the kidney beans, and chicken broth.

adapted from Real Simple by Cookies and Kate


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26 Responses to “Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili”

  1. #
    danasfoodforthought — January 26, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

    This sounds super delicious. I love the addition of cocoa powder! Makes it almost like a mole sauce.


  2. #
    blackbookkitchendiaries — January 26, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

    hi, i am new to this site and i have to say that i love it already. this vegetarian chili sounds refreshing. i have been making a lot of chili lately and now i cant wait to try this version. thank you for sharing this and have a great day.


  3. #
    nycshare — January 26, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

    That looks fabulous- perfect for a cold snowy day. It's funny to find this because a friend just forwarded me a sweet potato bean soup with thai inspiration. I'm going to need to stock up on some sweet potatoes.


  4. #
    Joanne — January 26, 2011 @ 5:34 pm

    Vegetarian stews are where it's at! Especially if they involve chickpeas and cinnamon and cocoa and all of the good things in life. Delicious.


  5. #
    Natalie — January 26, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

    I always have success with Real Simple recipes!! This looks great!


  6. # — January 26, 2011 @ 9:46 pm

    Beautiful photo. I bet this was delicious!


  7. #
    Darci — January 26, 2011 @ 11:56 pm

    YUM! This will be perfect for the sweet potatoes in my crisper that are not so fresh. Thanks!


  8. #
    Kate — January 27, 2011 @ 12:26 am

    Your chili looks great! Yum, my stomach is growling. I really want to try it with zucchini and chickpeas. Let's hear it for veggie chili!


  9. #
    Taylor — January 27, 2011 @ 12:56 am

    This looks absolutely delicious…and healthy!! I can't wait to make this!


  10. #
    Farida — January 27, 2011 @ 4:12 am

    Great article for vegetarian body and many thanks for sharing your article.



  11. #
    Jessica — January 27, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

    I'm always looking for recipes like this with loads of healthy stuff in them. Sounds good!


  12. #
    Holly — January 27, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

    Sweet potato chili-sounds delish!! Love sweet potatoes:)


  13. #
    wgfoodie — January 27, 2011 @ 10:46 pm

    Yum! I love a nice, hearty veggie chili!


  14. #
    Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) — January 28, 2011 @ 3:16 am

    I just came across your blog on foodgawker and it is beautiful. I look forward to following your posts.

    This recipe looks great – simple, healthy, and so pretty. I have clipped it and hope to try it sometime! Thanks!


  15. #
    Leslie — January 30, 2011 @ 12:56 am

    This looks really interesting. I will have to give it a try!


  16. #
    Brooke — December 24, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

    I stumbled over here from and this chili looks delicious. I’m always looking for different vegetarian recipes, so I will definitely need to give this one a try.


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  18. #
    Deborah Rosen — January 27, 2012 @ 11:21 am

    Looks yummy! I’m going to put it on the family menu next month.


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  23. #
    Candice — February 12, 2014 @ 3:47 pm

    Just made this for dinner and it was amazing!! I doubled the cayenne for a bit more of a kick. Thanks for sharing this recipe!


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