This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
A hearty sweet potato and black bean chili that’s packed with flavorful spices and veggies! This 30-minute vegetarian dish is an easy, nourishing one-dish meal. The recipe is perfect to make ahead and is freezer-friendly.
We always say “yes!” to a bowl of this thick, not-too-spicy sweet potato chili. It cooks in about half an hour, and it’s full of black beans and spices that will warm you up inside and out.
There’s something about sweet potatoes and winter squash that pairs so beautifully with spices. Another favorite that combines those flavors is this creamy turkey pumpkin chili with white beans.
Unlike chili made in a slow cooker, this quick version can be ready about 25 minutes after chopping and prepping your onions and sweet potatoes.
This is a meal to make when you’re craving something healthy and delicious, but don’t have much time to fuss around. Plus, the recipe includes pantry staples that you probably on hand right now.
About the ingredients
- Sweet potatoes: The natural sweetness of a sweet potato goes perfectly with bold seasonings (which is amplified even more when sweet potatoes are roasted with spices). For this chili, the sweet potatoes simmer until perfectly tender. You’ll need about 3 cups chopped (peeled or unpeeled as you prefer), which is about two medium one large sweet potato.
- Black beans: Convenient as all get out, canned black beans are an excellent source of protein. Swap out half the black beans for pinto beans.
- Spices: Ground cumin, coriander, smoked paprika and chili powder create the complex flavor and aroma you expect in the best chili recipe. I also throw in just one canned chipotle chili packed in adobo sauce for its intense smokiness and heat. Don’t worry if you don’t have every one of these spices on hand — use what you have. Bottled hot sauce adds a layer of gentle heat.
- Tomato paste: Rather than use canned diced tomatoes (which can be watery), I opt for a bit of tomato paste. This concentrated essence of tomato is all you need to add savory umami and beautiful color to the chili..
- Flavor base: The base of the chili starts with red or yellow onion, garlic and vegetable broth (or water).
- Plain yogurt or sour cream: Just a 1/4 cup stirred into the cooked chili adds creamy thickness and tangy flavor to the chili. Omit this ingredient for a vegan sweet potato chili, or use a plant-based yogurt.
- Garnishes: Some people believe a bowl of chili is only as good as its garnishes — honestly, the stuff you put on top is half of the dish! I suggest sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, soft cheese such as feta, goat or cotija and a squeeze of fresh lime. Feel free to finish the chili with your fave fixings.
If you have time, try making your own homemade spice blend. It’s such an easy way to add depth and flavor to whatever you’re cooking.
For this recipe, you can make the chili spice blend with ground spices you probably already have in your pantry. Double or triple the amount of spices called for in the recipe so you’ll have a chili blend batch ready to go next time! Just combine them in a jar and shake to mix.
- Smoked Paprika
- Chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce
I sometimes add granulated garlic or onion powder to my blend. If you have them, try adding a teaspoon of each to really amplify the flavors.
Tip: To ensure that the sweet potatoes cook quickly, cut them into 1/2-inch cubes. Larger pieces of sweet potato could take longer than 15 minutes to soften.
- Stir the black beans through the chili until they’re warm. Add the yogurt and sour cream, if using.
- Serve the warm chili in bowls garnished the way you like!
- If you enjoy a thicker texture, transfer about a cup of the chili to a blender or puree with an handheld blender right in the pot.
- Omit the cheese and yogurt to make vegan chili.
- Serve the chili with warm tortillas or cornbread on the side. For a heartier meal, add Coconut Rice, couscous or brown rice to each bowl.
- This chili is a fantastic make-ahead meal — double the recipe and freeze portions in individual serving containers.
- The chili keeps in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
- To freeze, cool the chili completely and pack into airtight containers. The chili will keep 1 month frozen. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or in a microwave on the defrost setting.
30-Minute Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
- 1 medium red or yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) each: ground cumin, coriander and smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) tomato paste
- 1 piece chipotle chili, from a can packed in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Cholula, or more to taste
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ¾ pound (530 g) sweet potatoes (approximately one large or two medium), peeled and diced into ½-inch pieces (3 cups)
- 2 cups (100 ml) vegetable broth
- 2 15-ounce (800 g) cans black beans, drained
- ½ cup (100 g) sour cream, plain Greek yogurt or plant-based yogurt
- ½ cup (125 g) crumbled soft cheese, such as feta, goat or cotija
- ½ cup sliced green onions
- 1-2 sliced avocados
- Tortilla chips
- Fresh cilantro
- Place a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and onion. Cook until softened, 2-3 minutes. Stir the garlic, spices, tomato paste, chipotle, hot sauce and salt. Cook about 1 minute or until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add the sweet potatoes and pour over enough stock or water over to just to cover them (about 2 cups). Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, then reduce the heat and cover the pot. Cook 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender but not mushy.
- Add the black beans and sour cream to the pot and stir well. Cook another 5 minutes to blend the flavors. If you like a thicker chili, remove about a cup of the chili and puree in a blender (or use an immersion blender). Taste for seasoning and add more salt or hot sauce to taste.
- Serve the chili bowls topped with cheese and other desired garnishes on top.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- The chili keeps in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
- To freeze, cool the chili completely and pack into airtight containers. The chili will keep 1 month frozen.