Totally vegan and totally delicious Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili with Quinoa is a hearty bowl of deliciousness. The sweetness of sweet potatoes plays so well with smoky black beans and red beans. The quinoa thickens everything up, and adds incredible protein to this easy chili recipe.
This bowl of black bean and sweet potato chili might look unassuming, but after one delicious bowl, you will love the taste and realize just how filling it is! I made a big pot of this for my family, and envisioned us eating several bowls with cornbread for a cozy Sunday supper. However, we all soon realized that one small bowl will fill us up!
While we had a hard time finishing the entire pot because it's so hearty and filling, we loved every bowl of it. The second time I made it, I wisely divided it in half and fed the neighbors as well.
This chili recipe is technically vegan, because it's made with black beans, red beans and quinoa. However, I just tend to think of it as an easy one-bowl vegetarian dinner full of plant-based protein that will warm you up on chilly nights.
How to Make Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili
This vegan chili is so simple to make. Everything sautées together in one big pot. It's mostly hands-off, and can definitely be made in the slow cooker. I also love how freezer-friendly it is. Divide it into single-serve containers after it cools, and tuck in the freezer for a quick, satisfying lunch.
Keep reading for tips on how to make this in the slow cooker or instant pot.
- Olive Oil.
- Onion. One medium-large onion, about 1 ¾ cup of diced onion, if you're using frozen or pre-chopped.
- Garlic. Yes, 6 cloves of garlic here--it brings plenty of flavor.
- Chili Powder. Chili powder is a spice blend made of different chiles, cumin, garlic and onion powder. It is not the same as chilE powder.
- Dried Oregano.
- Sweet Potato. One and a half pounds of sweet potatoes, peeled and diced, is about 2 medium sweet potatoes.
- Crushed Tomatoes. A 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes. I really recommend crushed tomatoes over diced--this chili is plenty thick.
- Vegetable Broth. You can use water or vegetable broth, your choice.
- Barbecue Sauce. Use your favorite barbecue sauce! It can be homemade or store-bought, and it really makes this sweet potato black bean chili your own.
- Black Beans. Two 15-ounce cans of black beans, rinsed and drained, as always. The only time we don't rinse and drain black beans is for our Black Bean Soup.
- Red Beans. Just one can of small red beans, which aren't the same as kidney beans, but if you prefer to use those, go ahead.
- Quinoa. It can be white or tri-color quinoa, your choice. Don't miss my black bean quinoa salad for another way to use black beans and quinoa together!
- For serving: tortilla chips, vegan sour cream, vegan shredded cheese, cilantro or scallions (your choice).
- Gather all ingredients to make the sweet potato black bean chili.
2. In a large stock pot, add the olive oil and turn the heat to medium. Add the diced onion and cook, while stirring occasionally, until the edges of the onion start to turn golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.
3. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and black pepper. Saute the spices with the onions for about 3-4 minutes, until it's very aromatic. Be careful not to let the garlic burn--lower the heat, if necessary.
4. Next, add the diced sweet potatoes, crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth (or water), barbecue sauce and bring everything to a brisk simmer.
5. Once everything is simmering, add the rinsed and drained black beans, red beans and quinoa. Bring this back to a simmer, and place the lid partially on the pot and cook for 15-20 minutes. This will just cook the quinoa through.
6. Taste before serving, and adjust for salt, ensure the sweet potatoes are tender throughout and the quinoa is cooked all the way. When quinoa is cooked, a little spiral springs out of the seed and it looks like a curlicue. The photo above has raw quinoa, before being cooked.
To make this recipe in the crockpot, combine everything in the bottom of the crockpot except for the beans and quinoa. Also, reduce the vegetable broth by ½ cup. Place the lid on, and cook for 4-6 hours on HIGH. About an hour before serving, stir in the beans and quinoa. Taste before serving to ensure the quinoa is cooked through and the sweet potato is tender.
Yes, absolutely! Well, be sure your barbecue sauce is vegan; I have seen some bottles that contain anchovies or beef products.
Yes! Add the oil and onions to the pot, and saute for 3-4 minutes until softened. Then, add everything else to the instant pot, except for the beans and quinoa. Place the lid on and bring to high pressure and cook for 4 minutes. Do a forced pressure release (be careful--steam is hot!), and then remove the lid. Stir in the beans and quinoa. Use the sauté setting to cook until the quinoa is done, about 15 more minutes at a simmer.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium-large onion, diced (1 ¾ cup)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ pounds sweet potato, diced into ½” cubes
- 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- ¼ cup favorite barbecue sauce
- 2 15-ounce cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15-ounce can of small red beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup quinoa
- For serving: tortilla chips, cilantro, sour cream, grated cheese
- Gather all ingredients needed. Pre-chop the garlic, onion, and sweet potatoes. Measure out the spices and drain and rinse the beans.
- In a large stock pot, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the diced onion, and cook until starting to turn golden brown around the edges, stirring every few minutes. It should take about 8-10 minutes on medium-high. Then, add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and black pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes, until aromatic.
- Next, add the diced sweet potatoes, crushed tomatoes, water, barbecue sauce and bring to a brisk simmer.
- Add the beans and quinoa to the pot and stir to combine. Bring the mixture back to a simmer, place the lid partially on the pan (about half-way on), and cook for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Taste before serving to ensure the sweet potatoes and quinoa are cooked through. Serve with
Chili Powder: Chili powder is a spice blend made of smoked paprika, other chiles, cumin, garlic and onion powder. Buy a salt-free one. Please note that it is not the same as chilE powder.
Sweet Potato: Two medium sweet potatoes is about 1.5 pounds of sweet potatoes.
Crushed Tomatoes: Crushed, not diced tomatoes, ok? This chili is plenty thick.
Vegetable Broth: You can use water if you're out.
Barbecue Sauce: Use your favorite barbecue sauce here! It can be homemade or store-bought, and it really makes this sweet potato black bean chili your own.
Quinoa: Regular white or tri-color are both fine.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 380Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 1354mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 17gSugar: 14gProtein: 17g