March still means winter vegetables in my part of the world. Over-wintered kale and root vegetables, purple sprouting broccoli, and, if you’re lucky, some hardier herbs like parsley.
Even though we’re seeing hints of spring in the crocuses and first shoots of wild garlic, it’ll be a little while longer before true spring produce starts to arrive. This black bean sweet potato chili is flexible depending on what you have as well as being an excellent hungry gap meal.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Sweet potato: use pumpkin or carrots as an easy sub for the sweet potato. Pumpkin is great but we have usually run out by this time of year.
- Spices: a chili spice blend can be used in place of the spices listed if you’d rather. Smoked paprika adds a delicious smokey note, but sweet paprika can be used instead.
- Tomatoes: canned diced tomatoes are best, but whole will work in a pinch. Fresh work in summer, too, in an equal amount.
- Black beans: rinsed very well, especially if canned. Kidney beans are a good substitution for black beans.
- Kale: lacinato kale is pictured. Switch out the kale for chard, spinach, rucola (rocket/arugula), or other hardy greens, depending on what you have on hand.
- Vegetables: if you’re making this in summer or early autumn, try adding some red pepper, zucchini, or eggplant. As long as you keep the base ingredients (spices, mushrooms, tomatoes) the same, there is a lot of room for flexibility.
Step by Step
Step 1: sear the mushrooms, then add the onions and cook a few minutes longer to soften.
Step 2: stir in the sweet potato and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and spices.
Step 3: add the remaining ingredients, apart from the greens.
Step 4: simmer for about half an hour, then stir in the greens and serve.
Top with anything you like. I love the acidity of pickled onions with a bit of freshness from chives and avocado, but you could also add cheese (vegan or not), sour cream, or yogurt. A dollop of avocado aioli would be great.
Make sure to adjust the level of spice based on your personal preference. I don’t consider black pepper to be spicy and like quite a bit of heat, but sometimes readers find a half teaspoon of black pepper to be overwhelmingly hot. If different people in your household need different levels here, leave it out and top your dish with hot pepper flakes.
How to Store
Storage: keep in a sealed container for up to three days in the refrigerator, without toppings.
Freezing: transfer cooled chili to an airtight container and freeze for up to three months. The sweet potato will be a bit soft when thawed but it’s not bad.
- Sear the mushrooms: the mushrooms are cooked before onions or anything else in order to sear them and cook out much of the water. This makes for a much better texture.
- Season to taste: as with any soup or stew, this should be tasted before serving and salt added to suit your preference.
- Peel if needed: we very rarely peel sweet potato for dishes like this, but of course you can if you’d like. Keep in mind that the peel holds loads of nutrition and vegetable peels contribute vastly to unnecessary food waste!
If you make this Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili or any other vegetarian main dishes on Occasionally Eggs, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more OE, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, purchase the Occasionally Eggs cookbook, or subscribe for new posts via email.
Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 250 grams mushrooms diced
- 1 small onion diced
- 300 grams sweet potato or 1 medium sweet potato, cut into roughly 3 cm (1 inch) pieces
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes to taste
- 400 grams canned diced tomatoes
- 300 grams black beans cooked or canned, drained and rinsed
- 300 grams frozen corn
- 125 ml vegetable broth or water
- 50 grams kale de-stemmed and roughly chopped
- 1 Avocado
- Pickled onions
- Heat a large pot over medium heat.
- Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil and the mushrooms. Sauté for five minutes, avoiding stirring, to sear the mushrooms* and reduce the water content.1 tablespoon olive oil, 250 grams mushrooms
- Add the onion and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until softened and fragrant.1 small onion
- Add the sweet potato and cook for 3-4 minutes.300 grams sweet potato
- Stir in the garlic, followed by the salt, cumin, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, and pepper flakes. Cook another 30 seconds, until fragrant.2 cloves garlic, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
- Pour the tomatoes into the pot and stir to combine. This will lift any spices that may be sticking to the base.400 grams canned diced tomatoes
- Add the black beans, corn, and water or broth. Increase the heat to bring the chili to a low bowl, then reduce and simmer, covered, for 25-30 minutes.300 grams black beans, 300 grams frozen corn, 125 ml vegetable broth
- After simmering, the sweet potato should be fork-tender. Remove the chili from the heat and stir in the kale.50 grams kale
- Serve hot, topped with avocado, pickled onions, and herbs, or other toppings as you like.1 Avocado, Pickled onions, Chives
- Leftovers will keep for 2-3 days, refrigerated in a sealed container, and can be frozen for up to a month.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
This post was first published in December 2017. It has been updated most recently as of March 2021.