There’s been a spate of friends having babies the last few weeks, and this sweet potato and black bean chili has been my go-to dinner delivery when they get home from the hospital. It’s always a bit of a challenge to figure out what to take new mamas, or sick friends, or even potluck gatherings — I’m always on the hunt for dishes that can be easily reheated, are packed with nutrition and fit a variety of dietary needs, and most importantly, are incredibly delicious. Especially since several of my friends are either vegetarians or gluten-free. This chili is all of the above and more.
Finally, a vegetarian chili that everyone – carnivores included – will love. It’s so packed with hearty black beans, flavorful veggies and loads of spices (plus all those toppings) that no one will miss the meat. And did I mention the incredible amount of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals contained in this bowl? I always make enough of this to feed the fam for dinner, provide leftovers for lunch the next day, and maybe even freeze a batch for a future meal.
So back to my “new baby has arrived” deliveries. I take over a big batch in a lidded dutch oven, then pack a bag with avocados, cheese, cilantro, green onions, limes, and tortilla chips — the toppings are key with this dish. Plus I’ll toss in a pint of ice cream or some cookies from the bakery for good measure.
*photos by Kate LeSueur
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chile powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- Two 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon honey
- zest and juice of one orange
- toppings: sliced avocado, goat cheese or cheddar cheese, green onions or cilantro, jalapeño, sliced radishes, tortilla chips
- In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the sweet potato, onion and bell pepper and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the garlic, tomato paste, chile powder, and cumin. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir it all together. Add tomatoes, black beans, honey, zest, juice, and 2 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, until the sweet potato is very tender.
- Check for seasoning and add more salt and chili powder as needed. Divide among bowls, add toppings, and eat!
*This chili can be made the night before and refrigerated. Reheat over low heat on the stove. Also freezes great!