Friday, 31 October 2014

Sweet Potato Chili - Vegetarian, Vegan, & Delicious

After making the Twice-Baked Mexican Sweet Potatoes, I happened to have a few potatoes left over and no ideas for what to do with them. I remembered seeing a chili involving sweet potatoes but all of the recipes I knew of called for ground beef or turkey and were generally too heavy for what I wanted. Turning to Google, I happened to stumble upon this fabulous recipe that is not only vegetarian but vegan as well! For those of us with plenty of friends with special dietary needs, this is a godsend and I spent the better part of yesterday raving about it to anyone who would listen.

First, scrub and peel the sweet potao(es) (mine look odd because I geeked out and used my apple peeler again). Cut into cubes and place in a 4-6 quart crock pot, dutch oven, or large stockpot. Then cut up and add in two bell peppers (the recipe uses one green and one red but I used 1 1/2 green), along with one chopped up red onion (1 medium or 2 small). Add in 2 tablespoons olive oil, stir to coat evenly, and cook covered. For a crock pot, use high heat, using medium-high heat for the dutch oven and/or stockpot. Stir occasionally until the onions start turning translucent.


 Once the onions start to turn, put the heat on low (crock pot) or medium-low (dutch oven or stockpot) and add the minced garlic, spices: chili powder, cumin, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and salt and pepper, and canned ingredients: diced tomatoes, beans, and broth. *The recipe calls for cayenne pepper as well but I prefer a sweeter chili and left it out. I also used canned, diced tomatoes with garlic, in addition to the minced garlic cloves and it didn't overpower the dish at all.

Spice lineup
One of my favorite things about this recipe is the use of cocoa powder!
Spiced and waiting for the canned goods
 Once you have added everything into your chosen cooking device, cover and cook on high for 45 minutes - 2 hours. *Using a crock-pot, I had a few additional cooking options, so I stretched the process out to fit my schedule - simmering the dish all night (6 hours), turning it on high while I got ready in the morning (1 hour), turning it off, and finishing it up on high for 2 more hours that night. I could have left it on high to begin with and been done in 2 hours but I didn't feel like staying up.

No matter how you cook it, once the sweet potatoes are soft and the liquid has reduced down slightly to a more chili-like consistency, it is done. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, scallions, and perhaps some shredded cheese.

Lessons learned: I used two potatoes instead of one and the recipe filled a whole 5 quart crock pot, so halve it if you don't have room to freeze the extra or a house full of hungry people to feed. Normally, I am the person who hovers over a dish, spicing and re-spicing it until I am satisfied but I only spiced this one as everything went in to the pot. Over 6 hours later, it was perfect, without one, single alteration. Don't worry, this is a dish you CAN'T mess up.


- 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, pressed or minced, or 1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less, depending on how spicy you like your chili)
- 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ground sea salt and black pepper
- 28-ounces canned diced tomatoes, including the liquid*
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained (also known as Cannellini if you have a can of those on hand)
- 2 c OR one 14 oz. can vegetable broth

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