Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Black bean vegetarian chili

The Spruce

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 5 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
155 Calories
5g Fat
23g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 5 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 155
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 593mg 26%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 9g 31%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 16mg 82%
Calcium 79mg 6%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 568mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Whether looking for a vegetarian meal or you simply want a healthy, plant-based dish the whole family will enjoy, this black bean and sweet potato chili is a clear winner. The sweet potatoes and carrots perfectly counteract the spiciness while combining with the beans to create a hearty texture.

All of the ingredients in this recipe are both vegetarian and vegan, and, if you use water or a gluten-free vegetable broth, it is gluten-free as well. This dish is an excellent source of protein for anyone, whether vegetarians, vegans, or kids. Serve with your favorite chili toppings and a side of cornbread.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

  • 2 medium carrots, sliced

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped, optional

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans

  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes or tomato sauce

  • 1/2 cup water or vegetable broth (gluten-free if needed)

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for sweet potato black bean chili
    The Spruce 
  2. In a Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.

    Saute the onions
    The Spruce
  3. Add the chopped sweet potatoes, sliced carrots, and chopped bell pepper (if using) to the pan and cook until the onions are soft, 5 to 6 minutes.

    Add chopped sweet potatoes
    The Spruce
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add all of the remaining ingredients, stirring to combine well.

    Chopped in a pot
    The Spruce 
  5. Allow the chili to simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally over medium-low heat, for 20 to 25 minutes, until the flavors have mingled and the sweet potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers are soft.

    The Spruce
  6. Serve in a bowl with your favorite chili toppings and enjoy.

Tasty Chili Toppings

Consider a toppings bar for your black bean and sweet potato chili, including salsa, chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, diced avocado, and crushed gluten-free corn tortilla chips. Sour cream, shredded cheese, or vegan substitutes are also good offerings (check labels if gluten-free foods are desired).

How to Store

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for two to four days and reheat in the microwave. You can also freeze individual portions for later meals. Allow the chili to cool, place it in individual freezer containers, label with the contents and date, and freeze. The chili will maintain its flavor for up to six months. You can defrost it in the refrigerator (6 hours or overnight) before reheating.

Using Dried Black Beans

This recipe uses canned black beans for convenience. You can start with dried black beans but you will need to soak and cook them before adding them to the recipe. Soak a little less than 2 cups for at least 3 hours (or overnight). You can add the soaked beans to the recipe and increase the cooking time to 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Alternatively, you can bring the beans to a boil and let them simmer for 2 hours before adding them to the recipe.

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