Looking for a tasty vegetarian chili? This Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili is packed with flavor and perfect for a chilly Autumn day!
Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year. Sure, I love a good visit from the Easter Bunny. And I love listening to Irish drinking songs around St. Patrick’s Day (or in the middle of July). But Halloween will always be #1 for me. For starters, it’s the beginning of the holiday season. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and then Christmas is just a hop, skip and jump from there. And then there’s New Years Day, too. (Although, I kinda frown upon New Years Day as its the unofficial end of the holiday season. No one ever wants to go back to work after the holidays!)
But I also love Halloween for the ghostly and ghoulish antics that come along with it. I’ve always had an interest in the paranormal. In fact, I swear I saw something in our house when we lived down in Charleston, SC. We lived in the historic district, and our house was built in the pre-Civil War era. On Christmas morning one year, my Dad told me to go downstairs and see if Santa had come. I scampered off in my footie pajamas down the stairs and then way off to the back of the house. (Charlestonian houses are 1 room wide, but 5 or 6 rooms deep.) I saw the Christmas tree, and Santa had indeed come! But I also saw someone standing beside the tree, and it wasn’t Santa.
I ran back upstairs at breakneck speed. And when we all went back downstairs, there was nothing there. Now I was 7 years old at the time. So my adult brain tells me that I was probably just imagining things. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I wonder. I mean that part of the house was the old slave’s quarters. So maybe? I’ll never actually know. But I do know that ever since that moment, I’ve had a fascination with ghosts and the paranormal. I’m no ghost hunter or anything, but I do enjoy watching Ghost Hunters or one of the other ghost shows. And Laura and I always enjoy doing the late-night ghost tours whenever we visit towns that are supposedly haunted.
But that’s enough ghost talk for today. Let’s turn our attention to another Fall favorite: chili. Now I was born in Texas, so chili always included beef. And chili rarely included tomatoes. But this Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili is breaking all of the rules! I still love me a good, classic Texas chili (or even this Maple Bacon Chili with a Vermont twist), but it’s fun to mix it up now and then, right?) When I told Laura I was making a sweet potato and black bean chili for dinner, she just gave me this look. And it wasn’t a good look. I told her to trust me. Fortunately she did. (After all, isn’t that what marriage is all about? Trusting the other one when they make chili?)
This Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili is packed with flavor, and it’s perfect for a chilly Autumn day! And aside from chopping the sweet potatoes up (that’ll take some time), there really is very little work involved. Oh, and a note on the toppings. They aren’t optional. Trust me here! The dollop of sour cream and freshly chopped cilantro bring a brightness to the dish. Then the crumbled feta or cotija adds a salty creaminess. And the sunflower seeds add a crunch. Each one is important!
So as the weather turns colder, make up a big pot of this Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili. Then serve it with a nice batch of homemade cornbread while watching ghost shows on tv. Enjoy!