The recent past as I recall it – from the weekend before Thanksgiving, up until January 1st – has been a blur of chocolates, cakes, pierogi, and many, many, many glasses of wine. And I’m tired of it. I’m sick of eating beige food and too much sugar, and I miss eating vegetables and other feel-good things. I love the holiday season as much as the next gal, but I’m ready to resume real life now.
Enter this vegetarian bean chili with sweet potatoes. It’s a simple one-pot meal made of humble ingredients, which is exactly what I’m craving after the excess of the holidays. Aside from the sprinkling of cilantro on top, it’s made entirely with pantry staples, and the leftovers are perfect for lunch the next day.
This chili is great by itself but even better with a side of fluffy brown rice or jalapeno cornbread.
You start by sautéing an onion, and then adding garlic and spices, which create an aromatic base for the chili. Then you add mixed beans (you can use canned or ones you cooked from scratch), canned tomatoes, and sweet potatoes, and let it simmer until the flavors come together and the potatoes are cooked through. That’s it!
Traditional chili gets its savoriness from ground beef. For this plant-based version, I use the smoky quality of smoked paprika to add a similar depth. In case you’re wondering, you cannot substitute it with regular sweet paprika because smoked paprika has a more nuanced umami flavor.
Another special ingredient I like to use in this vegetarian bean chili is molasses. Its rich, caramel-y sweetness balances the acidity of the tomatoes and lime perfectly, and really rounds out the dish. If you don’t have molasses, you can use maple syrup.
This vegan chili works great for meal prep and will keep well in the fridge for up to several days. Alternately, you can freeze it in an airtight container for up to several months.Print
Vegetarian Bean Chili
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
- Category: Stew
- Cuisine: American
This vegetarian bean chili is an easy one-pot meal made entirely with pantry staples. Perfect for weeknights, meal prep, or to freeze for later!
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- Fine sea salt, to taste
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- One 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- One 14-ounce can pinto or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- One 14-ounce can tomato sauce
- One 14-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon molasses (maple syrup also OK)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (lemon juice also OK)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cilantro, for serving
- Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Then add the garlic, cumin, paprika, and pepper flakes, and cook for 30 seconds more.
- Add all the rinsed beans, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, molasses, lime juice, black pepper, and about ½ cup water. Stir to combine, making sure all the beans and potatoes are submerged – if not, add a bit more water. Cover and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Garnish with cilantro.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
- Calories: 250
- Fiber: 10.6 g
- Protein: 8 g
Keywords: chili, beans, vegan, sweet potatoes
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