Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Looking for a tasty vegetarian chili?  This Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili is packed with flavor and perfect for a chilly Autumn day!

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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!)

Looking for a tasty vegetarian chili?  This Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili is packed with flavor and perfect for a chilly Autumn day!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.

Looking for a tasty vegetarian chili?  This Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili is packed with flavor and perfect for a chilly Autumn day!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?)

Looking for a tasty vegetarian chili?  This Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili is packed with flavor and perfect for a chilly Autumn day!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!

Looking for a tasty vegetarian chili?  This Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili is packed with flavor and perfect for a chilly Autumn day!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!

Looking for a tasty vegetarian chili?  This Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili is packed with flavor and perfect for a chilly Autumn day!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Looking for a tasty vegetarian chili?  This Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili is packed with flavor and perfect for a chilly Autumn day!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 429kcal


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 large sweet potatoes peeled and cut into ½” cubes
  • 1 cup red onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 tsp garlic minced
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground chipotle powder
  • ½ tsp ground cayenne
  • 2 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed
  • 1 15-oz. can corn, rinsed
  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • {garnishes} sour cream chopped fresh cilantro, crumbled Cotija or feta cheese, toasted sunflower seeds


  • Using a large Dutch oven or stockpot, add the olive oil and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add sweet potatoes, onions and bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, or until onion begins to soften slightly.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low. Add all remaining ingredients (garlic, chili powder, cumin, chipotle powder, cayenne, black beans, corn, tomatoes, vegetable stock, lime juice, salt and pepper). Stir and bring mixture to a simmer.
  • Cover and continue cooking at a simmer for 45-60 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender.
  • Before serving, garnish with sour cream, cilantro, Cotija/feta cheese and toasted sunflower seeds.

Looking for a tasty vegetarian chili?  This Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili is packed with flavor and perfect for a chilly Autumn day!

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  1. I enjoy Halloween, but I don’t enjoy Halloween. I love seeing the kiddos dressing up in their costumes, but I don’t like that fur baby goes nuts with the doorbell. Last year I dressed up as a zombie with all the fake skin and stuff. That was fun to do! That ghost hunter show? I remember that! Haven’t seen in ages so will have to check out – always interesting!
    I love a good vegetarian chili and this would sounds so hearty. Perfect on a cold day with a good hunk of corn bread. Love the touch of sour cream! Happy Halloween to you guys 🙂

    1. Oh yeah, I totally get what you mean about the dogs and the doorbell. In fact, Halloween is probably one of the worst days of the year from their perspective. Our pups will be in the clear tonight as we’re keeping our light off and taking Robbie out trick-or-treating. I guess Dad will just have to eat all of the Halloween candy this year. Darn! 🙂 Thanks so much, Dawn…and Happy Halloween to you, too!

  2. That ghost experience is SCARY! I totally believe you saw a ghost. It was Charleston after all. They have ghost tours there for a reason, right?!?! I need some of this sweet potato black bean chili to give me comfort after such a scary start to my Monday! 🙂

    1. Yeah, that ghost story is an odd one. I mean I totally remember seeing something, but then my adult brain tries to convince me that it was really nothing. In the end, I have no idea what I actually saw!! And, yes, they have an amazing ghost tour around Halloween down there in Charleston. I remember the line forming down the street from us, and it was huge! Anyways, let’s talk comfort food and delicious chili instead of ghosts and spooky things, ok? 🙂 Thanks so much, Rachelle!!

  3. We are so similar! Ghosts have long fascinated me (and I totally believe in them) and one of my favorite things I wrote in school was a paper on ghosts in the Tower of London. History and the paranormal–I was in heaven doing that research. Don’t they say children are more receptive to seeing spirits? I think you totally saw a ghost! And oh em gee THIS CHILI! Sweet potato and black beans are two of my fave ingredients. I wouldn’t mind a huge bowl of this after a late-night ghost hunt 🙂

    1. Wow, ghosts in the Tower of London? That sounds amazing. Actually, I’d love to read that paper. Seriously! I love all things spooky. I hate (!!) being scared by those haunted houses where people jump out at you…but I love (!!) being scared by spooky things like historical ghost stories. I say we meet in Charleston (it’s kinda half-way…sorta), and we go on a ghost hunt! Also, there’s some really good food in Charleston now, too. 🙂 Thanks, Kelsie!

    1. Haha! See, that’s the thing I don’t know, Manali. It probably was my imagination…but there’s just this little inkling of doubt up there. I’ll never know! But what I do know is that this chili is amazing!! 🙂 Happy Halloween, my friend!

  4. Hi David! I do love a good bowl of chili and since it was 28 degrees this morning your timing couldn’t be better! It’s always fun to come up with a new chili recipe; there are so many ways to change it up. Great job my friend!

    1. 28 degrees!? Holy cow that’s cold! In fact, you’re colder down there than we are up here. Although it’s supposed to get close to freezing tonight…so I’m thinking another bowl of this chili will be on the dinner menu. Thanks so much, my friend…and Happy Halloween!!

  5. Wow, David! I love a good chili, but I’ve never used Sweet Potatoes. This sounds really delicious! Also, I wasn’t aware Texas chili doesn’t have tomatoes. Crazy – I don’t think I’ve ever made beef chili without tomatoes of some sort. Hmmm. Clearly I need to expand my chili repertoire. Happy Halloween! Here’s to no ghosts!

    1. So chili is one of those things that has a zillion different versions…but I always remember tomatoes being one of the dividing lines for a good Texas chili. Like you, I typically go with a beef chili, but I wanted to do something with sweet potatoes, and I’m glad I did! This chili is amazing, Laura! And it’s actually pretty darned healthy, too. (Thus it balances out all of the leftover Halloween candy that I plan to eat. Haha!) Give it a shot sometime on a cold night!

  6. Although Halloween has been quite popular holiday in Russia for the last 20 years or so, especially among students, I cannot say I truly knew it before coming to Canada (I mean what kind of Halloween without Trick or Treat tradition (For me, mostly “treat” part) is that, eh?) Anyway, even though I cannot say this is my most favorite holiday, I started to love some of its elements. I actually truly enjoyed a Toronto Zombie Walk (not as a participant, though) for a few years, but sadly it was cancelled two years ago. I also surprised that you haven’t shared any Halloween ideas this year, David. Shame on you! But I think I can forgive you (eventually) because you created an utterly delicious chili version. With sweet potatoes? Yes, I’m in please!

    1. So I just heard on the news the other day that Halloween spending in the US is up like 15% this year. (It might have been more…) I get it, though. It’s a really fun holiday, and it’s fun to get creative with costumes. It’s also fun to buy way too much Halloween candy (for the kids) and then eat all of the leftovers. Haha! So you’re right. I didn’t really do any Halloween recipes this year. I just now realized that. Oops. Guess I’ll just have to hold off until next year. I typically do something with Halloween cereal, but I just forgot this year. But this chili? It’s definitely the kind of meal to warm you up on a cold Halloween night!! Have a great day, Ben!

  7. Ha ha, that look you got when you told Laura you were making a sweet potato and black bean chilli for dinner. I know exactly the look that would have been! Just like the look I got recently when I said I was making green lentil shepherds pie. The look of “that’ll never work” LOL. You can count me in for a portion of this delicious dish David. I’m all about sweet potato at the moment.

    1. Yes! I think as guys, we’ve become accustomed to “that look.” But Laura has learned over the years to (usually) trust me in the kitchen. (Of course, there was that one time when I tried to make cinnamon buns with leftover Halloween candy and melted candy corn drizzled on top. Do not try that. Ever.) I’m with ya on the sweet potatoes right now, Neil, and I’ve gotta say this chili is mighty tasty. It’s perfect for a chilly night!

  8. Comfort food perfection! I can’t get over how flavorful and simple this looks!..the only problem is that my husband doesn’t like potatoes or sweet potatoes so I’ll use less.

    1. Why thank you so much, Balvinder! This chili is indeed comfort food perfection. Laura and I both loved the flavors going on in this chili, and it’s definitely something we want to make again soon. I’m thinking you could cut back on the sweet potatoes or just use butternut squash instead? Thanks so much, my friend!

  9. This looks like my kind of chili! I love black beans and use them in my dinners at least a few nights a week.

    I’ve always thought that paranormal events were possible, but I didn’t truly believed in them wholeheartedly until I experienced it myself. I was on a cross-country trip with my hubby, and to make a long story short, something attacked me in our hotel room. It was terrifying, and I found out afterwards that the town is known to be haunted. I even published my experience on the blog, only to have people emailing me every few months to say that they experienced something similar the same hotel. Craziest experience of my life.. but on a lighter note, Happy Halloween! I hope that you have fun trick or treating with your little one!

    1. I can’t believe it, but I used to not like black beans! Truthfully, I think I’d never had them, so that’s why I didn’t like them. But now they’re a favorite! We use them to bulk up dishes all the time…or just straight up like a black bean quesadilla. Mmmm! 🙂

      What!?! You were attacked in a hotel room? How did I miss this story, Nicole?? I’m about to go back and find that post. Stories like that freak me out, but I’m still drawn to them. I want to know more about it. (Of course, no one really knows more…that’s the whole thing.) I hate haunted houses with people who jump out and try to scare you. But I love real haunted houses. Anyways, yes, we had a blast trick or treating last night! Although Robbie seemed to be more interested in ringing doorbells than actually getting any candy. Haha!

  10. Halloween is a great holiday. I also have a fascination with ghost. I believe that you probably did see a ghost on that Christmas morning. I love watching movies or shows about ghost. Also, love this chili. The sweet potato and black bean is a great combination.

    1. I’m with ya on the ghost stories, Dawn! I love a good (real) ghost story, and I think it’s all because of that Christmas Day experience back when I was a kid. Who knows what I saw, but I still think about that event quite often. Thanks so much for the kind words about this chili, too…it really is perfect for these cold Autumn nights! 🙂

  11. Hi, Has anyone made this in their Crock-Pot? If so how long and did you need to do anything different? Thank you ….

    1. Hey there, Trish! I personally haven’t tried this one in a slow cooker yet, but that is a great idea. However, looking at the recipe, I think this one could translate over to a slow cooker quite well. While I haven’t tried it yet, I would take a stab and say that the liquid should be reduced from 2 cups of stock back to 1 1/2 cups (slow cookers don’t let liquid evaporate like a stovetop does). And then I would recommend cooking this one on high for ~4-5 hours. Vegetables tend to get too mushy is they are cooked longer than that in a slow cooker…but that’s just my own opinion there. I hope this helps a little bit! We love this chili! If you do adapt it to the slow cooker, will you come back and leave notes for other readers? Thank you!

  12. I love Halloween too – all the cute little kiddos in their costumes! And this chili looks like perfection! I usually make meaty chilis, but this one looks so hearty and full of flavor that I’d gladly skip the meat!

    1. I’m right there with ya on the meaty chili (kinda like our Maple Bacon Chili that I posted recently!), but I’ve gotta say that this version was mighty delicious thanks to all of the sweet potatoes and black beans. And it packed a huge punch in terms of flavor, too! Thanks so much, Marissa! 🙂

  13. If my old brain recalls correctly, the Charleston ghost tour and the Washington DC ghost tour were some of the most exciting ones Lil Shashi and I have been on (yeah, we love paranormal stuff too and go on a ghost tour in just about every new city we find ourselves in….so …you might have really seen something…or…
    What am sure of though is this chili – it sounds so delish! Loving the spices in there and for a vegetarian chili this sure is texture and flavor packed!

    1. You guys have been on the famous Charleston ghost tour, too?? We used to live right in the middle of that! Man, I really miss Charleston. I had no idea how cool it was to grow up in that city until I was older and we’d moved away! Oh well. I have no idea if I saw a creepy apparition that morning or not, but I feel like there was something there. Maybe I just need to move back to Charleston and start ghost hunting. Want to join me?? 🙂 Also, this chili is super delicious! I think we should bring a batch of it with us on our ghost hunt…it’s sure to bring the ghosts out of hiding! Haha! Thanks, Shashi!

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