Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

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Black-bean-and-sweet-potato-chiliI’m sick.

If you’re worried about me, you should be. I feel terrible. My throat may or may not be closing up, I’m experiencing some pretty severe post-nasal drip, and this computer screen is really hurting my eyes. Blergh.

After analyzing my symptoms on WebMD earlier this morning, I wasn’t feeling overly optimistic about my chances for survival. Although I was able to narrow down most of my possible conditions based on common sense (i.e. there is no foreign object lodged in my nose, and I’m pretty sure I’m not suffering from a drug overdose), I couldn’t rule out viral pharyngitis, peritonsillar abscess, or helicobacter pylori infection. Those words are very weird and scary.

While indulging my inner hypochondriac is always a great exercise, for sanity’s sake, let’s just assume that I’ve developed a cold due to changing weather conditions, lack of sleep, and last weekend’s gallivanting around Atlantic City in a Catwoman suit. Since I have a lot of important things to accomplish over the next few days, and I probably won’t die, I plan to do everything in my power to fast-track the recovery process. I’ve already started.

Black-bean-and-sweet-potato-chili-3-3Unfortunately, my mother is not here to explain the 70 different vitamins that she stocked in my medicine cabinet, so I’m going to have to do some executive decision making on that front. I’ve crushed 6 Echinacea in the past hour, along with a couple other random vitamins with promising labels, and I have all kinds of fun activities planned for the afternoon (orange juice chugging, naptime, tea party, etc.), so I’m feeling hopeful.

However, while hydration, vitamins, and sleep are all well and good, everyone knows that nothing cures a cold quite like comfort food. I’m obviously in favor of a good bowl of cure-all chicken soup, but I don’t have the strength to go to the grocery store right now, and my roommate went to his fancy office and won’t be able to help a girl out until at least 8pm. Don’t panic, friends. By some stroke of luck, I happen to have a giant pot of Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili in my fridge, and I’m pretty excited about it being my last cold-busting meal.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean chili is incredibly dank. (I’m really sorry for tainting its awesomeness with mental images of me on my sickbed. It couldn’t be helped.) Packed with anti-oxidant rich bell peppers, juicy tomatoes, tender sweet potatoes, and protein-packed black beans, this hearty vegetarian chili is a satisfying meal that you’ll feel good about eating every day of the week (which you’ll want to). It’s slightly sweet and a little smoky with just the right amount of sinus-clearing kick. Topped with fresh cilantro, crunchy scallions, and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili absolutely kills it in the health-conscious comfort food category. Kills it.

Black-bean-and-sweet-potato-chili-10I’m pleased to report that this chili is a vegan wonder, but you can easily beef things up with any type of meat you have handy. I’ve made it at least four times over the past few weeks with different fillings, and it never disappoints. Try simmering it with top round steak, ground turkey, shredded chicken, lightly browned chorizo or some spicy chicken sausage. (The Dude really lost his cool over the chicken sausage version.) Feel free to get creative.

In addition to being nutritious and delicious, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili is a laughably simple one-pot meal. After chopping the vegetables, you just throw everything in a pot on the stove and let the magic happen. (You could also simmer this on low in a slow-cooker while you’re at work and come home to an instant feast. So domestic!) This chili actually tastes even better the next day, which means that you can easily make it in advance, and you’ll be psyched about leftovers. I also highly recommend eating it for breakfast with a fried egg on top. So bomb.

I’ve got high hopes for the curative power of Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili, peeps. The good news is, excluding severe hangovers, I usually only fall ill approximately twice a year, so at least I’m fulfilling half of my sickness quota early this cold weather season. When all of you are struck down later this winter, I’ll be in the clear! With that, I leave you for a piping hot bowl of chili and my bed. God knows the Kardashians aren’t going to keep up with themselves.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili: (Serves 4)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
½ medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ teaspoons Mexican chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon smoked paprika (yes, you can use regular paprika)
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 large sweet potato, cut into ¾-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (I like to use fire-roasted tomatoes)
1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
For garnish: (optional)
Avocado, diced
Scallions, thinly sliced
Freshly chopped cilantro
Shredded cheddar, crumbled cojita or feta cheese
Hot sauce of your choice

Preparing your Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili:

-Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot. Add the diced bell peppers, onions and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes until the peppers soften and the onions become translucent.

Black-bean-and-sweet-potato-chili-step-1-3-Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika and crushed red pepper and cook for about 2 minutes until fragrant.

-Add the sweet potatoes, black beans, diced tomatoes and vegetable stock.

Black-bean-and-sweet-potato-chili-step-1-2-Bring your chili to a boil over high heat.

Black-bean-and-sweet-potato-chili-step-3-Lower to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes until the sweet potatoes are very tender. Remove the lid and simmer for 10 more minutes or until the chili has thickened slightly.

-Ladle chili into bowls and serve with toppings of your choice. Go wild.




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  1. Mailoha on December 1, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Is it spicy?

    • Serena_Wolf on December 1, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      Nope, it’s quite mild! (But if you like spicy, you can of course add extra crushed red pepper or hot sauce!)

      • Mailoha on December 1, 2014 at 7:38 pm

        Thanks for the quick response. I actually don’t want it spicy so I’ll lay off the red pepper 🙂

      • Megan on July 8, 2020 at 6:06 am

        I loved this! So much in fact that I took it with me on a birthday celebration ski weekend with friends. We ate it at night and then finished it in the morning along side scrambled eggs. My family loved it too. That includes 5 children under the age of 17 saying thumbs up. That is a rare culinary feat.

  2. Mary Noschese-Albrecht on September 10, 2014 at 7:30 am

    If making in a slow cooker, how long do you cook on low?

    • Serena_Wolf on September 10, 2014 at 8:17 am

      You should be fine cooking this on low for 6 hours (or on high for 4). If you can, sautee the peppers, onions, garlic and spices (as directed in the recipe) before adding them to the slow-cooker so that you get the full flavor!

      • Mary Noschese-Albrecht on September 10, 2014 at 8:42 am

        Thank you! Looking forward to trying this.

  3. Meghan on February 19, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    This is ahhhhmazing. I LOVE your recipes and have probably made about 60 percent of them (so far). Thank you!

    • Serena_Wolf on February 20, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      Thank you, Meghan! So pumped that it was a success, and I’m seriously impressed by your commitment to making my recipes! (60 percent hit rate gives me the warm fuzzies.)

  4. Louisa [Living Lou] on November 6, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Hahaha I absolutely love this!! I’m so guilty of turning to WebMD at all times, no matter what. This recipe sounds delicious too, perfect for getting over a cold. Here’s to a speedy recovery!

  5. Prudence Blank on November 5, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Oh my gosh…I laughed through most of your post… Dont’ get me wrong… not because you’re sick… because I really hope you feel better soon. It really stinks when you don’t feel good. But about the who WebMD thing…it just cracked me up. That’s totally me… 🙂
    Now let’s get serious… This soup looks absolutely amazing. Yum. It’s calling my name…. I need to try this, like NOW.. Feel better soon… <3

    • Serena_Wolf on November 5, 2013 at 5:59 pm

      Thanks, Prudence!! Going down the WebMD rabbit hole (especially when there is no one home to talk you off the ledge) is a VERY dangerous game. I’m already feeling much better though, so I’m pleased to inform you that I don’t think it’s throat cancer.
      More importantly though, please make the chili! I’m obsessed.

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