Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Beans and Legumes, Healthy Eating, Main Dish, Soup and Stew, Vegetarian | 38 comments

I’m tempted to call this “Emergency Black Bean Chili” because we definitely had an “emergency” on our hands when I made it for dinner last night. Madeline has been sick for the past few days and I really needed to go grocery shopping, but who takes a sick child grocery shopping? Our evenings have been too busy or tired to go grocery shopping so I kept waiting, thinking the next day she’d be better. Or the next day, or the next.


Just because you have a sick child doesn’t mean you don’t have to still make dinner for the rest of the family. But how do you make dinner with a bare refrigerator? Usually breakfast is our go-to on days like this, but options become limited when you don’t even have milk or eggs. And it wasn’t just the refrigerator that was getting bare. It seems I was running out of everything else as well. And what I did have was all random, it seemed. Nothing to really make anything that I had planned. I was even out of salt and several other spices. How does someone run out of salt? That involved me dumping the entire contents of the bottle because the shaker part of the lid wasn’t replaced. I went to shake a bit of salt onto something and the entire bottle dumped instead.


One thing I did have was black beans, thanks to a recent grocery store sale. I stocked up and then Eric went to Costco and bought more not knowing I had already gotten some. I just started dumping random things into a pot and sauteing others and suddenly I had a vegetarian black bean chili simmering.

And the salt? Because you need salt. I have Morton to thank for allowing me to test out their Season All Seasoned Salt, a blend of salt, and savory spices, including paprika, black pepper, onion, and garlic, with a hint of chili pepper. This all-purpose blend of spices tastes great on ribs, beef, and pork. Also terrific on chicken and potatoes for a unique seasoned flavor! If you’d like to try it too you can click on the image in the right sidebar for a 55 cents off coupon.


This would be a great vegetarian chili recipe for National Chili Day on February 24. Leave off the cheese for a vegan chili recipe.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

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1 1/2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 poblano pepper, diced (deseed if you like)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoons chili powder
15 ounces crushed tomatoes
8 ounces vegetable broth
1 teaspoon Morton Season All Seasoned Salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2/3 cup diced sweet potato
1 cup frozen corn
37.5 ounces canned black beans, drained but not rinsed
1/2 cup fire roasted salsa
2 bay leaves
14 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
1 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
toppings for serving: Monterrey jack cheese or feta and cilantro


Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the diced onion and saute for 5 minutes, until tender and golden. Add the garlic and poblano pepper and saute another minute, until fragrant. Add the cumin and chili powder and saute another 2 minutes.

Lower heat to medium-low and stir in the crushed tomatoes and broth (reserve 1/4 cup of broth), scraping to remove any browned bits in the pan. Add the remaining ingredients except the cornstarch and toppings.

In a small bowl whisk together the reserved 1/4 cup of broth and the cornstarch until smooth. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the chili pot. Stir until well mixed. Bring chili to a boil for 2 minutes and then lower heat to low. Simmer over low heat uncovered for one hour. Then, simmer covered with a lid for 30 minutes.

Serve topped with your choice of toppings.

Morton and Collective Bias gave me a small grocery budget to purchase Morton products for the use in a post. However, I was not paid to publish positive comments and I really do love this recipe.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    pajamachef - August 11, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

    this looks great! i'm not a fan of typical soups/chilis, but this has so many fun things in it. good thing you had a lot of random ingredients in your pantry!


  • 2
    Rebecca - August 11, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

    Hope your daughter feels better! I would, if I were her & had a mom like you! Mmmm soup looks wonderful!


  • 3
    Jessica @ How Sweet - August 11, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

    I love all soups and chilis. Looks delicious!


  • 4
    Ephemeral Evidence - August 11, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

    Love your blog and this looks really good. Thanks!


  • 5
    Greg and Vanessa - August 11, 2010 @ 3:56 pm

    i am so making this. YUMM.


  • 6
    Elizabeth - August 11, 2010 @ 8:07 pm

    This looks great! The weather had taken a decidedly cool tone this week, so maybe a soup like this is in order!


  • 7
    Maria - August 11, 2010 @ 8:28 pm

    I made a similar soup this past winter. Loved it. I will have to try this when we have our kitchen back!


  • 8
    rebecca - August 12, 2010 @ 3:04 am

    My kids are huge black bean fans-but the sweet potatoes… I'm wondering if I can sneak them in there without their knowing!The recipe looks terrific!


  • 9
    Dana - August 12, 2010 @ 6:26 am

    Sorry to hear Madeline is sick – so hard to have a sick little one. I hate those days when the cupboard is bare. I have a well-stocked pantry but I am not good at pulling from it. I seem to keep adding to it without using much. How does that work exactly? Anyway, lovely looking soup. Some of my favorite things in there.


  • 10
    dining table - August 13, 2010 @ 8:05 am

    This Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili are going to be so good. I really love chili foods. Almost all that I eat has a chili flavor. I wish I can try that Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili.


  • 11
    Kerstin - August 13, 2010 @ 9:37 pm

    I love all the spices and layers of flavor in this – it sounds fantastic!


  • 12
    Tasty Eats At Home - August 15, 2010 @ 6:50 pm

    Kudos to you for still pulling out a creative dinner from "random" ingredients! Sounds healthy and delicious.


  • 13
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction - August 16, 2010 @ 12:59 am

    I love the combo of black beans and sweet potatoes… That's one of my favorites! This looks like a wonderful dinner. I never would have guessed it was an "emergency" dish if you hadn't mentioned it. Lovely!


  • 14
    Pauline - August 16, 2010 @ 1:26 am

    Black beans and sweet potatoes and chili = FTW. I wish you were my personal chef, because this is what i've been craving for weeks, for months, since i was BORN. Will have to make this soon. Thanks for the recipe! And it'll give me a reason to make my fave cornbread too! :)


  • 15
    Kevin - August 17, 2010 @ 11:00 pm

    I like the sound of using sweet potato in a spicy chili!


  • 16
    Pretty. Good. Food. - September 01, 2010 @ 6:11 pm

    Oh man this looks delicious! And your photographs are beautiful! Everything here looks great!
    I recently launched my own blog, I’d love for you to check it out and let me know what you think! :) Thanks!


  • 17
    Marisa - September 11, 2010 @ 3:26 pm

    made this and it turned out great!


  • 18
    Debbi Does Dinner Healthy - September 28, 2010 @ 6:25 am

    This looks awesome! I totally want some! Thanks!


  • 19
    Teresa - September 28, 2010 @ 4:45 pm

    This chili was absolutely fabulous. My husband and my two boys loved it and they are hard to please. Thanks for sharing!


  • 20
    Alli - October 28, 2010 @ 7:10 pm

    this was super-yummy! i’m not a fan of sweet potatoes so i subed regular potatoes and kept everything else the same. I’m thinking this and jalapeno cornbread for super bowl ;)


  • 21
    Kjell - October 31, 2010 @ 8:58 pm

    Just wanted to let you know I will never make another kind of chili again! This is my favorite! I love that there is absolutely no meat in it.
    Also, I made it for a church Halloween party the other night; we had a chili cook off. I tied for first :)
    Thanks for sharing!


  • 22
    Lynne - December 09, 2010 @ 1:11 pm

    A friend recommended this to me after her 6 year old vegetarian daughter loved it. Can’t wait to make it!!!


  • 23
    Melissa - December 15, 2010 @ 9:52 am

    This recipe is fantastic and a huge hit — the best chili I’ve ever made! My husband was shocked there was no meat in it which he didn’t realized until after dinner!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — December 15th, 2010 @ 10:54 AM

      I’m so glad you liked this! I really appreciate when people come back and let me know they tried a recipe. And how cool that your husband didn’t even miss the meat. That is great!

  • 24
    Claudia - February 26, 2011 @ 10:02 pm

    Loved this recipe, made it tonight for a group of people with a few changes because I did not have all the ingredients. Used an Anaheim pepper instead of a Poblano, and left out the cornstarch, but it came out great.


  • 25
    Evelyn - May 09, 2011 @ 11:21 am

    going to cook this for dinner tonight with my ”veggie” classmate!

    looking forward to it, looks great :)


  • 26
    Cindi K - August 03, 2011 @ 6:21 pm

    I love this idea AND – we can’t have tomatoes. I am always interested in a substitute for them in such a recipe. I would use pumpkin, but my sweetie doesn’t like it.

    Any suggestions?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — August 5th, 2011 @ 10:16 AM

      What about roasted tomatillos? the flavor should go well with the rest of the ingredients.

  • 27
    Cindi K - August 05, 2011 @ 11:46 am

    I suspect they are also in the nightshade family? I should have made my comment more broadly … sorry. But, I seen a recipe for roasted root vegies (turnip, carrot & Beet). I’m going to experiment and see if I can’t make a sauce this way …


  • 28
    Alma - September 22, 2011 @ 5:39 pm

    Tried this recipe today and the family loved it!! Like others, my family didn’t miss the meat. I was wondering… Where does one find the fire roasted salsa? Or what brand makes it? I was unable to find it…
    Thanks again for the great recipe!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — September 22nd, 2011 @ 8:31 PM

      Muir Glen makes fire roasted tomatoes. Glad you liked the recipe!

  • 29
    Beth in OH - September 23, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

    This looks delicious! I wouldn’t be able to use the poblano or as much chili powder because I can’t eat anything more than a mild in heat index. I’m sure it will turn out tasty even with my tweaking. I’m happy to find this. Oh, I want permission to post this recipe (and your cornbread muffin one) on the blog I do for my job. It’ll have lots of praise for your blog and creative kitchen skills, and of course a link back here! : )


  • 30
    Michele - September 27, 2011 @ 8:14 am

    Can’t wait to try this again with sweet pototo. I made it with regular potato and LOVED it! Yummo!


  • 31
    sharon - October 16, 2012 @ 7:18 pm

    This was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! We had all the veggies and I was looking for a way to use them up and found this. I didn’t use the poblano pepper, and I doubled the vegetable broth and crushed tomatoes. I also left out the corn and cornstarch and i was still very thick. My family loved it!!!! thanks for sharing this recipe. i will definitely make it again!!!


  • 32
    Sarah - November 03, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

    This has become one of our family’s favorite recipes. We have made it countless times by now. I love it.


  • 33
    Hillary - November 25, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

    My husband and I aren’t vegetarian and we still loved it! We don’t like bits of tomato so we just used a big can of tomato sauce. We threw some Gardien ground crumble we had from when I cooked for a vegan friend. Added kidney beans, also. This was awesome, and I loved not having to measure every single ingredient. I just tossed stuff in! Thanks!


  • 34
    Carmelsmom - May 26, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

    This was delicious!!! I didn’t have the pepper or corn but tasted yummy without them. This is for sure on the “make again” list!


  • 35
    Paul - November 25, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

    I added an entire smoked chicken to this and it was amazing.


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