Amazing Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

vegan sweet potato black bean chiliAll All photos courtesy of James Ransom for Food52.

I don’t like to throw superlatives around, but this chili is kind of amazing.

The marriage of sweet potatoes and black beans is a wonderful thing. My sweet potato and black bean enchiladas are one of my most popular entrees with readers, and if you Google sweet potato and black bean combinations, you’ll come up with a seemingly interminable list of delicious options. No matter how many times I enjoy these two nutrient-rich, delicious plant foods together, I’m still impressed. And so this past week, with Superbowl Sunday on its way, I figured it was about time to try my hand at sweet potato and black bean chili.

Today over at Food52, I’m sharing both the chili recipe and my favorite tips for cooking beans. Digestive health is what I’m all about, so the tips are geared toward helping you to make beans more digestible.

I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as I did. And so, for the record, did Valerie, to whom I gave some of my batch!

And great comments on the quinoa article yesterday, by the way. I appreciate all of the thoughtful feedback. As I said in a comment to one reader, consciousness is crucial. I admit that I have historically been weak on this front; I often support major food suppliers without asking enough questions, I don’t shop exclusively locally, and for a long time, I really did think that going vegan meant I had covered my bases in terms of food issues.

Today, I realize that being vegan isn’t the most I can do: it’s the least I can do. It is my biggest and most passionate contribution to social justice through food choices, but it is a starting point, not an end point. This year more than ever, I want to try to stay on top of issues like the quinoa story, and do my best to make better choices as a consumer. I appreciate all of the inspiration I get from you guys along the way.


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Categories: Stews
Method: One Pot, Stovetop
Ingredients: Black Beans, Sweet Potato
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Meal Prep

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  1. What a great and healthy recipe !
    I love black beans and to include sweet potatoes is fantastic..

  2. Made this for the first time the day you posted it! Delish! The second day was better. Thanks for the recipe! It was great timing with the super cold in Mass.

  3. Oh wow, this looks amazing and our weather is perfect for chili today. I have a batch of mixed beans soaking and a butternut squash, maybe I’ll try a variation of it with those. 🙂

  4. I don’t have dried black beans on hand!
    How much cooked/canned beans would I use instead?

  5. Ah, nostalgia… black bean stuffed sweet potatoes were JAM in college… definitely my first staple vegan meal. I’ve gotten much fancier since then… but I did just write a post on trying to simplify 🙂 I’m due to make this chili, stat!

    Additionally, I’ve recently decided to embrace football season with open arms (abandoning my go-to “I’m too avant garde for this crap” mentality,” so if I bring this to the Super Bowl, my friends might let some of my questions a la “What IS football?” slide.)


  6. Sweet potatoes and black beans are a fave combo of mine too. The chili is beautiful. If I’m using dried beans I do the long soak then use a strip of kombu while cooking. I’ve recently discovered that sweet potato + azuki bean is another delicious combo.

  7. “Today, I realize that being vegan isn’t the most I can do: it’s the least I can do. It is my biggest and most passionate contribution to social justice through food choices, but it is a starting point, not an end point.” Amen! I’m with you there, Gena. Love this perspective, and this recipe! Thanks.

  8. I just had this for dinner, and it was great! I love all of your Food52 columns. If you’re interested in even more tips on cooking beans and delicious bean recipes, you should definitely check out Crescent Dragonwagon’s cookbook Bean by Bean.

  9. When I saw this recipe come through on my feed, I knew I’d try it for tonight’s dinner. It’s simmering on my stovetop right now and smells delicious! Cannot wait to try it. (In fact, I think I may need to sneak a taste right now!) Thanks for a quick and easy recipe. Perfect for a snowy day like today. 🙂

  10. I need to put this chili on my meal plan for next week. I love sweet potatoes, but never know what to do with them other than just baking them.

  11. Looks delicious Gena 🙂 I like the fact that the sweet potatoes and the black beans set the tone and focus of the chili, not the tomatoes. In fact, I am trying to avoid tomatoes for the time being (nightshade veggies) so I think I’ll take them out completely and use a bit of veggie broth and a little coconut milk instead. I am definitely craving comfort foods lately and this fits the bill nicely!

  12. Chili is so perfect for this cold winter weather that we’ve been having in MD lately. I had a sweet potato black bean chili the last time I went to Great Sage, but this looks much more delicious, not to mention cost effective! I’ll surely whip up a batch to have on hand for speedy meals throughout the week!