I love all kinds of chili, but this vegetarian Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili has a special place on my table. It’s easy to make and has all the big, bold chili flavors you know and love. Plus, there’s a secret ingredient in this easy chili recipe that puts it over the top! Lighter but no less flavorful, next time you’re craving chili, give this Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili a try!

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Slow-cooked meals are some of my favorites. I just love the smell of them simmering on the stove or baking in the oven, and the flavors are some of the best around. This amazing Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili is no exception, but I take a few shortcuts to get slow, cooked-all-day flavor in a fraction of the time.

Vegetarian Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Sweet potatoes and black beans are the stars of this easy vegetarian chili recipe, and it’s so good you won’t miss the meat! I use BUSH’s black beans in a mild chili sauce to cut down on the cooking time, and let me tell you, every bite is delicious!

Hearty sweet potato adds a touch of sweetness that balances well with the chili seasoning in this recipe, and from the first bite to the last, I’m sure you’ll love this tasty twist on classic chili!

Vegetarian Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Why I love this recipe

  • It has cooked all day flavor but is ready in a fraction of the time!
  • With tender chunks of sweet potato and flavor-infused black beans, this chili is hearty enough that you’ll never miss the meat.
  • I love serving it with all my favorite chili toppings – see my suggestions below.

Vegetarian Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Gather these ingredients

    • Oil – Use a flavor-neutral cooking oil.
    • Sweet white onion – Like Spanish or Vidalia onion; diced.
    • Sweet potato – Peeled and diced small.
    • Black beans in mild chili sauce – Or see my substitutions below.
    • Canned diced tomatoes – Undrained.
    • Chili powder – Use fresh chili powder for maximum flavor.
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Orange zest
  • Salt and pepper – To taste.
  • Sour cream – Optional garnish.
  • Cilantro – Optional garnish; chopped.

How to make the best Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high.
  2. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the diced sweet potato, undrained canned beans, undrained canned diced tomatoes, chili powder and ground cinnamon. 
  4. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring often, until the sweet potatoes are very soft.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the orange zest.
  6. Serve with your favorite chili toppings, and enjoy!

Vegetarian Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

The best toppings for chili

One of the best parts about a bowlful of chili is adding tasty garnishes! I love adding these to my chili:

    • Sliced jalapenos – For some spice.
    • Tortilla strips – For some crunch.
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Diced avocado
  • Sharp cheddar cheese

Tips & substitutions

  • I used black beans in chili sauce (undrained) to get that amazing slow-cooked chili flavor, but you can use regular canned black beans and then add more chili spice to get the flavor you’re looking for.
  • Cut the sweet potatoes into the size of playing dice so that they cook without falling apart.
  • Fresh chili powder makes all the difference; use fresh chili powder for the best flavor.
  • If you like your chili a bit spicy, add a good pinch of cayenne or chipotle powder to the chili when cooking.
  • If you’re serving guests, put the chili out in a lovely serving bowl and surround it with optional garnishes.
  • Don’t worry about leftovers – this leftover chili tastes even better the next day!

Serving suggestions

You don’t need much more than a hot bowl of this easy sweet potato chili on a cool fall day. If I’m serving it for dinner, I’ll often also serve a salad and some fun and tasty muffins. I will make the muffins in a standard muffin tin so they’re smaller and the perfect size as a side dish. Don’t forget about dessert! I love this easy Pear Cobbler with this rustic meal, but I also keep frozen cookie dough on hand for an easy dessert.

Vegetarian Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili


Store any leftover Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also freeze the leftovers, but the sweet potatoes may lose some of their texture when thawed and reheated. To freeze, pack the cold leftovers in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container and freeze for up to a month. 

Check out these awesome chili recipes while you’re here

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Vegetarian Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

With cooked-all-day-flavor but ready in a fraction of the time, this vegetarian Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili is easy and delish!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 6
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  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 small sweet white onion, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into very small pieces
  • 3 15 oz BUSH’S Black Beans in a Mild Chili Sauce (do not drain)
  • 3 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 orange, zest


  • Sour cream, optional
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)


  • Heat the oil over medium high heat in a heavy, deep pot (I use my Le Creuset). Add the onion, cooking for 5 minutes.
  • Add the sweet potatoes and gently stir. Add the beans, tomatoes, and spices. Bring to a low boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes or so, until the sweet potatoes are very soft.
  • Add fresh orange zest; stir.
  • Serve hot with sour cream and cilantro!


Reposted from October 2017.
Cuisine: Mexican
Course: Main Course
Calories: 105kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 0.4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Sodium: 146mg, Potassium: 380mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 7587IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 64mg, Iron: 2mg
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