Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

A bowl of sweet potato chili.

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5 from 1 review

Sweet potato black bean chili is a wholesome, flavorful vegetarian chili with earthy, smoky, sweet and spicy flavors. Choose a slow cooker or stove top cooking method.

Toppings are a must! Add green onion, cilantro, grated cheese, crumbled tortilla chips and whatever else you like on chili. 

Flavorful, but not spicy, this vegan chili might just even win over your littlest eaters. You can control the heat by adding more chili powder, spicy canned green chiles or by serving hot sauce at the dinner table.


Units Scale
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 14-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cans black beans, drained
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained
  • 2 medium or 3 smaller sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into *1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed with water)
  • 1 4-oz can (mild or spicy) diced green chiles OR 1 bell pepper, chopped)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 5 cups water or vegetable broth

Topping Suggestions: cilantro, green onion, Jalapeno pepper, sour cream, grated cheese, crumbled tortilla chips, hot sauce

*The most important thing is that the pieces of sweet potato are all about the same size so they cook evenly. The larger the pieces, the longer they will take to become soft.


Stove Top:

  1. In a large pot or Dutch Oven, warm a drizzle of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. 
  2. Add garlic and spices (chili powder, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, cinnamon) and saute for about 1 minute more, stirring constantly so the spices don’t stick to the pot. 
  3. Add the remaining ingredients: salt, tomatoes, black beans, pinto beans, sweet potato, quinoa, green chiles, parsley, water/broth.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer over medium-low, half covered with a lid, for 30 to 40  minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure the chili isn’t sticking to the pot. Add up to 1 cup more water if needed. The chili is done when the sweet potato is soft and easily pierced with a fork.

Slow  Cooker:

  1. Put the onion and garlic in a microwave-safe bowl. Coat lightly in oil. Microwave for 2 minutes, to soften and "bloom" the onion and garlic. If this step is skipped, the onion and garlic might not cook fully in the slow cooker.
  2. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker. Stir well before putting on the lid. Cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or High for 4 to 6 hours. 
  3. Add more fresh cilantro, chili powder and salt if needed. The flavors can be muted when cooking for a long time in a slow cooker and you might need to add more. 


Quinoa is optional. It adds and earthy flavor and will absorb liquid as it cooks, making the chili thicker.