This sweet potato black bean chili is filled with nutrients

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili Recipe

When you're craving something warm and filling, nothing hits the spot quite like chili. This dish is so popular and versatile that whole events—chili cookoffs—are built around it!

Chili recipes come in many different varieties. Some include kidney beans while others make a no-bean chili with ground beef or ground turkey. Some chili chefs add cilantro; others swear by cocoa powder. And fans of spice go for heat with chipotle peppers or other hot chilis.

The ability to use many different ingredients (most of them easy to find and affordable) makes chili a great recipe for a family-friendly meal, and what you put into it determines what you get out of it. This vegan sweet potato and black bean chili is filled with sweet potatoes that provide potassium and magnesium, protein-packed and fiber-rich black beans, and nutrient-laden bell peppers, corn and tomatoes. It can be made in an hour or less in an instant pot, on the stovetop, or simmered all day into a dinner feast for five in a slow cooker or crock pot. We'll show you how!

What is sweet potato and black bean chili?

Sweet potato and black bean chili is a delicious and hearty vegetarian soup. It is made by slowly cooking onions, bell peppers and sweet potatoes with black beans in a richly spiced tomato sauce. Chili can be made in a slow cooker, in an instant pot or on the stove.

This easy chili recipe is made in a large pot or Dutch oven on the stovetop. Since we omit store-bought vegetable broth, and instead make our own while cooking, it is naturally lower in sodium than many vegetarian chili recipes. The total time for this one-pot recipe on the stovetop is about an hour (even less for an instant pot), or about six hours in a slow cooker. It's the perfect weeknight dinner.

Sweet potato and black bean chili recipe

Serves: 5
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes


1 yellow onion, chopped
2 bell peppers (red and green), seeded and chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and diced
½ cup frozen corn
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 15-oz cans black beans, drained
1 20-oz can crushed tomatoes
3 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp chili powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika

Optional toppings

½ cup chopped cilantro
2 avocados, peeled and diced
2 green onions, diced
1 lime, cut in wedges

Step-by-Step Preparation

  • Heat a large pot or Dutch oven with olive oil over medium heat until hot, then add the onions and peppers and sauté 3-4 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add the carrots and sweet potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Season the sweet potato mixture with salt, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and smoked paprika. Cook for 5 more minutes, stirring often.
  • Add water and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to soften the sweet potatoes.
  • Add the tomatoes, corn and black beans. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the veggies are fork-tender. To make the chili extra thick and hearty, smash some of the sweet potato cubes with the back of a fork so they break up and thicken the sauce.
  • Serve this sweet potato chili recipe with tortilla chips or warm corn tortillas, plus the optional toppings. You can also serve this chili over rice or macaroni.

Nutrition Facts per Serving

Calories: 560
Carbohydrates: 89 g
Protein: 22 g
Fat: 17 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Sodium: 541 mg
Potassium: 2,010 mg
Fiber: 30 g
Sugar: 14 g
Vitamin A: 18,519 IU
Vitamin C: 90 mg
Calcium: 172 mg
Iron: 8 mg

All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes.

Explore Our Best Heart Health Supplements

Shop Now

Tips for Success

  • If you are making slow cooker sweet potato chili, sauté the onions and peppers in olive oil in the heated slow cooker or crock pot for several minutes. Then add the carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, corn, black beans, water and spices to the slow cooker and cook over medium-high or medium-low heat for 4-8 hours.
  • Cloves of fresh garlic can be used in place of garlic powder, especially if you cook this chili in a slow cooker for several hours.
  • Fresh diced tomatoes may be a low-sodium option compared with crushed tomatoes, but crushed tomatoes are much thicker than diced tomatoes and better suited for chili.
  • Other beans, such as kidney beans, can be used in addition to the black beans in this recipe.
  • Let the chili cool down to room temperature before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Enjoy within 4-5 days for the best flavor and quality.
  • This vegetarian chili is freezer-safe and can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Is sweet potato chili healthy?

If you are wondering if sweet potato chili is a healthy meal, rest assured that it is bursting with ingredients that are good for you. Sweet potatoes are not only a delicious food, but they are also nutritionally dense. These amber-colored tubers are high in fiber and relatively low in calories. Sweet potatoes are also loaded with magnesium and potassium—minerals that support healthy blood pressure. Plus they are a slow-burning carbohydrate, which makes them filling and helps support already-healthy blood sugar levels.
The other ingredients in this sweet potato and black bean chili are also healthy:

  • Black beans are full of fiber and plant-based protein, and they have been studied for heart health, healthy weight management and gut health. (Black beans also go well with corn, both in this recipe and others.)
  • Peppers, onions and carrots pack a generous serving of antioxidants, which protect your cells against oxidative stress.
  • Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which supports healthy cells and DNA, encourages heart health and more.
  • Chili powder is full of capsaicin, an active compound that has been studied to encourage your body's ability to burn fat for energy. Capsaicin also prompts your body to release endorphins—chemicals that release a surge of pleasure in your brain in response to certain foods or activities.

Put all these things together and you have a nutritionally dense, heart-healthy meal that is good and good for you.

What to serve with sweet potato chili

Sweet potato chili is versatile and may be served in several ways. The easiest way to eat this vegan chili is with crispy tortilla chips. (Everyone loves chili nachos!) A healthier, lower-fat option would be to serve it with some warm corn tortillas or brown rice. This sweet potato and black bean chili also makes a great burrito filling or even a topping for a black bean veggie burger.

If you are feeling motivated to make some cornbread, this is perhaps the most comforting serving option. Sweet and crumbly cornbread served with a generous portion of hearty chili is an experience that many treasure.

Another delicious option is to serve chili mac, which is macaroni topped with chili. If you never had this before, it might sound odd, but it is delicious, and it is a great option for families with picky eaters who might welcome the familiar pasta.

Does sweet potato chili give you enough potassium and magnesium?

Sweet potatoes are high in potassium and are a good source of magnesium, which makes them an excellent addition to your diet. Magnesium and potassium are essential to support already-healthy blood pressure, which promotes cardiovascular health. Your body also uses magnesium for more than 300 essential biochemical reactions, and magnesium encourages bone health, promotes a healthy inflammatory response, and protects against oxidative stress.

While foods like this sweet potato chili recipe have plenty of vitamins and minerals to support your health, including magnesium and potassium, you may not get enough of these nutrients from diet alone. Dietary supplements help fill the gaps in your diet and provide the nutrition you need for optimal health.

What else can you do to support healthy blood pressure? Take Life Extension's health needs quiz and find out!

About the Author: Sara Tercero is the chef behind the popular food blog BetterFoodGuru and the author of the cookbook Plant-Based Diet in 30 Days. Her specialties are veganized Indian-inspired curries, giant rainbow salads, and healthier Mediterranean and Mexican-inspired dishes. It is Sara's mission to prove that plants are delicious and to help others cook and eat their way to health and happiness.



Heart Health Favorite