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Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

October 19, 2011

Maryland completely lucked out with great fall weather recently. The last few days were sunny and slightly breezy, with temperatures in the low 70s. This is also known as my favorite weather ever.

I knew the weather jackpot couldn’t last forever, and as expected, it disappeared overnight and was replaced with this:

Cold(er). Rainy. Raw. Blech.

I can’t complain, though. Wednesdays are my first true time to breathe during the week, and rain on a Wednesday just gives me an extra excuse to decompress.

The best ways to decompress?

Wearing my boyfriend’s sweatpants:

(Sexy. Oh, and what you don’t see is that I’m also wearing his high school baseball t-shirt. Both items are about 1,000 sizes too big for me. Extra sexy).

Catching up on the RHONJ reunion:


(Yes, really. And no, I’m not proud of this).

And enjoying the heartiness and warmth of a bowl of good chili.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Serves 4


  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, 1/2 drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-2 T cumin (or to taste)*
  • 3 T chili powder (or to taste)*
  • 1/2 T cinnamon
  • tortilla chips, cheese, and sour cream, if desired

*(Note: I tend to be a bit heavy-handed with my spices. Most chili recipes call for about 2 T of chili powder and less than 1 T of cumin. By all means, start small and keep adding until it reaches your taste level!)


  • Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add garlic and onion, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to turn translucent.
  • Toss sweet potatoes into pot and stir occasionally for 8-10 minutes, or until potatoes begin to soften.
  • Add tomatoes, beans, and seasonings to pot, stir to combine, and turn heat to low. Allow chili to simmer for at least 30 minutes. Chili is done when sweet potatoes are tender (not mushy!)
  • Garnish with chips, cheese, and sour cream, if desired.

Chili is a fall/winter staple for a few reasons:

  • It’s foolproof (toss stuff in pot, simmer, eat).
  • It’s cheap (beans and canned tomatoes = some of the cheapest foods out there).
  • It’s easy to adjust to your own tastes (spicy or mild, more or less veggies, meaty or vegetarian/vegan).
  • It’s so darn delicious. And comforting.

It almost makes me forget my affinity for warm, sunny days. It almost makes these raw, rainy days seem appealing.


10 Comments leave one →
  1. October 19, 2011 7:05 pm

    Wow! Sounds delicious!!

  2. October 19, 2011 8:39 pm

    That chili sounds yum…especially for a cold, blustery day! And a great way to top it off…lounging in comfortable clothes!

  3. October 20, 2011 11:37 am

    I never thought of combining sweet potatoes and beans. Will definitely have to try this!

  4. AllisonP permalink
    October 26, 2011 11:49 am

    OK, so…I tried making this last night but it was way overspiced! Does it really call for 3 tablespoons (T) of chili and 2 T of cumin or are those supposed to be teaspoons? I ended up chucking it (sad!)

    • October 26, 2011 6:53 pm


      Not sure if you saw my email, but I did the adjust the recipe to emphasize that I tend to go a little heavy on the spices. (I do the same thing with cinnamon and nutmeg when I bake, too!) I do use at least 2-3 T of chili and 1-2 T of cumin in this dish, but I realize that might be a little intense for some people. So sorry that you had to toss it. I do hope you’ll try it again (and enjoy it this time around!) Thanks for drawing my attention to it.

  5. Allison permalink
    October 26, 2011 8:01 pm

    Ha, it’s not your fault! I’ll just need to go really lightly on the spices next time. Yep, I’m a wimp.

    • October 26, 2011 8:06 pm

      You’re not a wimp at all! I just need to remind myself that not every one likes their food as intensely spiced as I do. A lot of the time I’m only testing these recipes on me, so I need to step outside of the box and think about what other people would think, too! I’m just sad you had to trash it. Hopefully a better result next time!

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