Sweet Potato Chili

We had some friends over for dinner the other night and I had fun planning a menu for a mixed audience of vegetarians and meat-eaters. I wanted to please everyone, so I decided to put together a vegetarian main entrée, asked Chris to barbecue some chicken, and made a batch of cornbread. I also asked each couple to bring a dish – an appetizer and a desert – freeing me up to focus on picking out the main meal.

After digging through my recipes, I came across this Slow-Cooker Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes from Real Simple. I took a few liberties with the original recipe (which you can find here) to suit our party of six (RS’s version is for four). We already had a lot of the ingredients, so I just picked up a couple of things from the store and got to work. The longest part of prep for me was chopping everything up, particularly the onion. One slice in and I was crying like a baby and then I saw my swim goggles sitting on the counter. Problem solved – no more onion tears! I crossed my fingers that no one (read: Chris or Cooper) discovered me in my exercise-turned-cooking gear but given that it was 8am on a Sunday, I knew they were both asleep for at least another two hours.

Warning: the quantities below will make way more than six servings. In hindsight, I was probably OK going with the original but thought it better to have more than less!

Sweet potato chili, topped with scallions

Slow-Cooker Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes 


  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 15.5-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 15.5-oz can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 15.5-oz can dark red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 15.5-oz can red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • sour cream, sliced scallions, and tortilla chips (for serving)


  1. In a large slow cooker, combine the onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cocoa, cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Add the tomatoes (and their liquid), beans, sweet potatoes, and 1 1/2 cup water.
  2. Cover and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chili has thickened, on low for 8 to 9 hours or on high for 5 to 6 hours.
  3. Serve the chili with the sour cream, scallions, and tortilla chips.
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