Megan Gordon

Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili Recipe
Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili

When it comes to vegetarian chili recipes, the choices are endless -- some as simple as pouring a can of beans and tomatoes in a pot and adding a bit of spice, while others are an all-day simmering affair. This one rests comfortably in between these two approaches and has the most rich and layered flavor of any chili (vegetarian or not) I've ever tried. The addition of sweet potatoes was inspired by a recipe in Bon Appetit that added butternut squash to chili, and I loved the idea.

The chipotle pepper is an important part of the sauce. They're sold in little cans in the Latin section of many grocery stores or in any Mexican market. If you can't locate them near your home, you can use an additional 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder, or experiment with a smokey Spanish paprika. It won't have the same heat at all, but it will still be delicious.

The ideal cooking time for beans can vary, largely determined by the freshness and type of bean. If you're using very old dried beans, they're going to take much longer to cook. So the cook time for this recipe probably seems vast (2-4 hours); I would just plan ahead so you're not finishing up the chili the second guests walk in the door. I'd much rather do a quick reheat than explain to guests that the beans are taking a little longer than expected.

In this chili recipe, the sweet potato and quinoa actually cook in the chili. You're going to want to add the sweet potato and quinoa when the chili has about 45 minutes left to go, so use your best guess as to when the beans are still pretty firm on the outside but are surely softening on the inside. If you're like me and don't mind your sweet potatoes and quinoa quite soft (it is chili, after all), just toss them in after 1 1/2 hours of cooking time and call it a day.

As with most soups, stews and chilis, think of the water quantity as a rough guide. You may find toward the end that you need to add more water as both the beans and quinoa start absorbing it.

Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook time: 2 hours

    Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili Recipe Ingredients

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    1 onion, chopped

    5 garlic cloves, chopped

    1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

    1 tablespoon ground coriander

    1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes

    1/2 pound dried black beans, rinsed well

    1 chipotle chili from canned chipotle chilies in adobo, minced

    1 teaspoon dried oregano

    2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

    1 1/2 cups sweet potatoes (2-3 small), cut into 1/2-inch cubes

    1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

    Sour cream, to top (optional)

    Green onions, chopped, to top (optional)

    Fresh cilantro, chopped, to top (optional)

Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili Recipe Directions

    Heat the oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and beginning to brown, 6-7 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder and coriander and stir. Cook together for 1 minute.

    Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, beans, chipotle and oregano. Add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer until beans are flavorful and tender, anywhere from 2 to 4 hours (depending on the age of your beans).

    After 1 1/2 hours of cooking, add the sweet potatoes, quinoa and salt. Place the pot's lid back on slightly ajar and allow to simmer on low heat until the beans are soft and the sweet potatoes and quinoa are cooked through. Add more water if the chili becomes too thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with sour cream, cilantro and green onion.

    Can make two days ahead. Store in refrigerator. Freeze leftovers.

Chili, Vegetarian Chili, American Comfort Food


Subscribe to Receive our Gourmet Recipes

Chili Recipe with Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Quinoa

World-renowned chefs with an extraordinary passion for food share their passion on These chefs make great cooking easier than imagined. Each gourmet recipe features expert advice and an easy-to-make recipe. Exactly what you need to transform your home cooking from acceptable to delectable

© Tribune Media Services