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Make a double batch of this quick vegetarian chili, full of black beans and sweet potatoes, and eat it for lunch the next day or freeze the extras for another night. We love the smoky heat from the ground chipotle, but omit it if you prefer a mild chili. Serve with tortilla chips or cornbread and coleslaw.

EatingWell Soups Special Issue April 2016; updated October 2022


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

25 mins
40 mins

How to Make the Best Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

This vegetarian sweet potato chili is a breeze to make. Make it once, and you'll come back to it again and again. Check out our tips for the perfect sweet potato chili and ways you can make it your own.

To Peel or Not to Peel?

To peel or not to peel your sweet potatoes comes down to personal preference. We peel the sweet potatoes in this recipe which helps the potatoes break down some and thicken the chili. However, leaving the peels on the sweet potato ups the fiber content of the dish and also helps the cubes hold together in the chili if you prefer more texture. It's up to you! If you do leave the peels on, make sure the sweet potatoes are scrubbed before chopping.

Spice It Up

We love the smoky heat ground chipotle lends to this chili. Chipotle peppers are smoked jalapeño peppers found in jars in a thick adobo sauce or dried and ground into powder. Ground chipotle chile pepper can be found in the spice section of most supermarkets or online. If you can't find dried chipotle, you can substitute it with the jarred variety, adding 1 chopped chipotle in adobo in place of the ground. Chipotle peppers can be on the spicy side, so if you prefer a more mild chili, you can substitute regular chili powder for the chipotle or skip it altogether.

Garnishes to Try

This chili is great served with tortilla chips, cornbread and coleslaw or topped with a few garnishes. Monterrey Jack or Cheddar cheese would be excellent melted on top along with sliced radish, scallion or finely chopped sweet onion. Avocado adds creaminess along with sour cream if you want something to tame the heat, or you can try adding a fresh chopped tomato or roasted corn to have even more veggies in this healthy chili.

Can I Make Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili Ahead?

Yes! Cover and refrigerate the chili for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Additional reporting by Hilary Meyer 


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato and onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion is beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, chipotle and salt and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the sweet potato is tender, 10 to 12 minutes.

  • Add beans, tomatoes and lime juice; increase heat to high and return to a simmer, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.

Nutrition Facts

about 2 cups
323 calories; protein 12.5g; carbohydrates 54.7g; dietary fiber 15.6g; sugars 13.1g; fat 7.6g; saturated fat 1.1g; vitamin a iu 12409IU; vitamin c 24.2mg; folate 117.8mcg; calcium 163.5mg; iron 5.3mg; magnesium 42mg; potassium 1072.5mg; sodium 573.3mg; thiamin 0.9mg.

3 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 lean meat