For a hearty, filling, satisfying meal, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili is the way to go. This vegan chili is easy to make and great for meal prep!
I’ve always been a huge fan of sweet potatoes, partly due to their delicious flavor, but also because they’re so versatile. I mean, have you tried Sweet Potato Gnocchi?! You’d be amazed at the potato’s transformation.
That being said, it’s wild that I never thought to add sweet potatoes to my favorite chili. When added to this recipe, they provide a really unique and interesting flavor that, when paired with the black beans, just explodes into a Mexican dish that’s filled with tons of spices and delicious flavor.
I love to make a big pot of this chili to eat throughout the week, and I sometimes save a batch in the freezer. It makes an awesome freezer-friendly meal that can be prepped ahead of time and saved for when life gets busy and you don’t feel like cooking.
Pair this chili with your favorite tortilla chips, cornbread, or even grilled cheese. Get ready for the plant-based best chili recipe ever!
Ingredients used to make this chili recipe
This sweet potato and black bean chili is made up of three different components, and while it may look like a lot, it’s actually quite easy! There’s the chili “meat,” the fillings, and then the seasonings (get all the measurements in the recipe card at the bottom).
- Walnuts: 1 cup of walnuts will be used to help give it a meaty consistency.
- Mushrooms: We will use 2 large cups of mushrooms for that delicious umami flavor.
- Black Beans: Finally, black beans tie the meat together and help to create a ground beef texture. Be sure to drain and rinse prior to adding to the food processor.
- Oil: Oil will be used to saute the veggies. You can use whichever type you’d like. I usually use olive oil.
- White onion: We will use 1 cup of white onion, which amounts to about 1 medium onion. If you love onion flavor, you can add a bit extra!
- Garlic: You can’t have chili without garlic! 4 minced cloves work well in this recipe.
- Sweet Potato: To bulk up the chili with flavor and nutrition, we’ll be using 3 cups of diced sweet potatoes.
- Diced Tomatoes: Diced tomatoes will add consistency and flavor.
- Black Beans: Another can of black beans will be used as part of the filling. Again, drain and rinse prior to adding (or cook your own from dried beans).
- Vegetable Broth: Finally, vegetable broth adds some needed liquid. Start with 1 cup and add more as needed.
- Soy Sauce: Soy sauce does wonders for this chili’s flavor! Just 2 tablespoons is enough to bring major flavor.
- Spices: Finally, we will be using smoked paprika, cumin, salt, and chili powder to add flavor and a slight kick to this sweet potato chili.
How to make sweet potato and black bean chili
One of the best parts about this chili recipe is that it only requires 10 minutes of prep time! Then, with a bit of simmering, you have a delicious sweet potato and black bean chili. You’re guaranteed to be going back for seconds!
Step 1: Prepare the “meat”
First, add the walnuts, mushrooms, and drained beans to a food processor. Blitz until mostly broken down into a chunky paste, scraping down the sides as needed.
Step 2: Cook the veggies
Next, heat oil over medium in a large pot. Add the onion, garlic, and sweet potato, cooking until the onion is translucent and soft, about 10 minutes.
Step 3: Cook the “meat”
Add the chili “meat,” then continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 4: Bring it together
Add the diced tomatoes (undrained), black beans (drained), 1 cup of the vegetable broth, and all of the seasonings. If the chili is thick, add the remaining ½ cup of broth.
Step 5: Let it simmer
Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the consistency is thick and chili-like. If it’s too watery, let it simmer with the lid off to evaporate out the excess moisture.
Step 6: Serve and enjoy
Ladle into bowls, optionally topping with sour cream/yogurt, cheese, tortilla chips, or green onions.
Black bean chili variations
There are so many ways that you can customize this chili and make it your own! Here are some ideas to get you started.
Extra Veggies: If you want to add even more vegetables to your chili, green peppers, pumpkin, zucchini, red onions, and jalapeños are great options.
Protein: For a meal even higher in protein, you can add an extra can of beans to the filling. Since we will have already used black, try adding kidney or pinto beans! You could also try adding grated tempeh, like we do in this Tempeh Chili.
Toppings: Toppings are the easiest way to transform chili. I like to load up on sour cream and green onions, but you can also add cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, or even jalapeños!
More sweet potato based recipes
If you liked this sweet potato recipe, you’ll have to check out my others! From gnocchi to fettuccini to fries, there are so many meals that can be made with sweet potatoes. Here are some of my favorites!
- Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- Sweet Potato Fettuccini in Gorgonzola Sauce
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Crumble & Meringue
- Sweet Potato & Spinach Quinoa Breakfast Skillet
- 1 cup walnuts 100 g
- 2 heaping cups mushrooms 8 oz, 226 g
- 1 15-oz can black beans drained and rinsed, 425 g
- 2 Tbsp oil 30 mL
- 1 cup white onion about 1 medium onion
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups diced sweet potato about 2 to 3 medium sweet potatoes
- 2 15-oz cans diced tomatoes 425 g
- 1 15-oz can black beans drained and rinsed, 425 g
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth divided
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce 30 mL
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp chili powder
- Chili "Meat": Add walnuts, mushrooms, and drained beans to a food processor. Blitz until mostly broken down into a chunky paste, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Cook Veggies: Heat oil over medium in a large pot. Add onion, garlic, and sweet potato, cooking until onion is translucent and soft, about 10 minutes.
- Cook "Meat": Add chili "meat" then continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Bring It Together: Add diced tomatoes (undrained), black beans (drained), 1 cup of the vegetable broth, and all seasonings. If your chili is thick, add remaining ½ cup of broth.
- Simmer: Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until consistency is thick and chili-like (too watery? let it simmer with the lid off).
- Serve: Ladle into bowls, optionally topping with sour cream/yogurt, cheese, tortilla chips, or green onions.
Tips & Tricks
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
- Chili “meat” inspired by Pinch of Yum!