Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili

Hi! This recipe has been updated and reposted! You can find a paleo/Whole30 version right here:

Vegetarian Paleo 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 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.

I noticed another vegetarian chili-type soup you’ll love — check out the Enchilada Chowder over at Vegetarian Mama!

Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili

Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili

Yield: Serves 6

Who says vegetarian chili is unsatisfying? Clearly they've never had this version!


  • 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


  1. In a 4 to 6 quart Dutch oven or stockpot, sautée the chopped vegetables in one to two tablespoon of heat-safe oil on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Once the onions start turning translucent, reduce heat to medium-low. Add all of the spices and canned ingredients, and stir.
  3. Cover and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours. Ladle into bowls and add garnishes. Serves 4-6.


Nat's Note: 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.