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.

I’d love to hear: do you have a go-to dish that you deliver to friends in need?

*photos by Kate LeSueur

Vegetarian Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili

Serves 8

Vegetarian Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

By Camille Styles


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

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Comments (13)
  1. 1
    Giovanna March 16, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    This looks so tasty, never had my chili with radishes or sweet potato! Printing out the directions, can’t wait to try this out.

  2. 2
    ANNE CAMPBELL March 17, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    Cameron and I are still talking about this AMAZING chili you made us, Camille. xoxoxo <3

  3. 3
    Brooke March 21, 2016 at 7:44 am

    I made this for dinner last night, and it was delicious! I put a dollop of plain Greek yogurt on top.

  4. 4
    Kelly Colchin March 22, 2016 at 2:51 am

    I have been dying for this recipe after you brought over this delicious chili! We loved it and I’m excited to trying out!

  5. 5
    Kourtney Mack April 10, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    I made this for my family a few days ago and they loved every bite as much as I did! Thank you for the recipe!

  6. 6
    Camilla October 10, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Camille, I just made your delicious dish for dinner. We loved it! There is a lot leftover! How best would you store it so that it keeps for the next few days?

    • Camille Styles October 11, 2016 at 6:18 am

      I’m so glad you loved! This one reheats like a dream. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container, OR transfer it to a gallon-sized ziploc freezer bag, pop in the freezer, and you’ll have a dinner ready to thaw and reheat for up to 2 months!

  7. 7
    Kay March 20, 2020 at 1:42 am

    Interesting… never saw a chili recipe requiring zest and juice of an orange. What can I substitute it with or can I omit it?

    • Camille Styles March 20, 2020 at 9:18 am

      You can totally omit – it just adds a little extra burst of flavor! 🙂

  8. 8
    Ann S April 5, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    My kids gave this chili a thumbs up ! They crushed some tortilla chips for a topper . Will pi this recipe into the dinner rotation. Thanks!

  9. 9
    Suruchi Avasthi July 1, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    This chili is LITERALLY my go-to! I make a batch almost every other week and it is the perfect, hearty, vegetarian dinner!