The ideal cold-weather entrée is a bowl of hot chili, which comes in a variety of hearty, healthful, and recipe-filled variations. I looked through my mother’s copy of Real Simple magazine while I was at home for Christmas and found a recipe for vegetarian chili with sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes and vegetarian chili, I wondered. Together, two of my fave foods? As I tore out the pages for storage, the recipe immediately rose to the top of my mental to-cook list.
I often use all the vegetables I have on hand while making veggie chili, along with whatever beans and tomatoes I can find in my cupboard. This time, I mainly adhered to the recipe, and it was a great success.
Also read: Tomato and Lentil Curry
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 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 cubes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced, or 1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less, depending on how spicy you like your chili)
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, with their juices*
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked black beans
- 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Suggested garnishes: sour cream, grated cheese, thinly sliced green onions and/or chopped cilantro
- In a 4-to-6 quart Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chopped vegetables (onion, peppers and sweet potatoes) and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start turning translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the garlic and spices (chili powder, cumin, cayenne, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and another dash of salt and pepper) and liquid ingredients (tomatoes, beans and broth), and stir. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chili has reduced to a heartier consistency, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- If you would like an even thicker consistency, use a potato masher to mash the chili until the texture suits your preferences. Season chili with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the chili into individual bowls, garnish as desired and serve.