Monday, March 21, 2011

Bean & Sweet Potato Chili

Not too long ago, I was talking to my husband about how starting this site in the fall and winter seemed to be a bit of a challenge. Rarely did I ever have a "new" crop to experiment with, most of the time all I had were tons of root vegetables, apples, preserved and canned goodies. Within the last few weeks there have been a few additional vegetables to work with thanks to the success of local greenhouses. Needless to say, coming up with new and creative recipes incorporating the same "old" vegetables can be a bit exhaustive.

With a stack of sweet potatoes piled a mile high starring at me every time I went to the pantry, I was trying desperately to think of a unique recipe to use them in. Days went by and the sweet potatoes were reaching the end of their shelf life. And then I had an inspiring moment.... why not use them in a chili with all the dried beans that are in our pantry. The recipe would either be a complete failure or a huge success, but I was ready to experiment! With child number two in tote, we headed to the cutting board to begin our creation!

Bean & Sweet Potato Chili
serves 2 adults and 2 little ones
3-4 smaller sweet potatoes or 2 larger ones, peeled and diced
1 1/2 tablespoons butter melted or grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon butter or grapeseed oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic coarsely chopped
1 cup of spinach roughly chopped
2 1/2  cups of cooked bean (aduki, black bean and kidney beans would be great, or a combo!)
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons paprika
1-2 tablespoons sea salt (depending on whether or not you're a salt-o-holic like myself)
pinch of pepper
chili powder to taste, for mild flavour try 1 teaspoon
2 cups of homemade or local salsa*
1  cup of vegetable broth
1 cup of either dark beer, red wine or apple cider
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey

lots of freshly grated cheese (optional, but highly recommended!)
Preheat oven to 375* F.  While oven spread sweet potatoes on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and drizzle on melted butter or oil. Sprinkle a pinch of pepper and salt on the sweet potatoes, pop them in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until they can be pierced with a fork.

While sweet potatoes are cooking, add butter/oil to a warmed deep heavy bottomed pan and heat. Toss in onions, saute 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, saute 2 more minutes. Throw in spinach and saute for another 2 minutes. Go ahead and put beans in, cook for 3-4 minutes. Cover with the spices, salt and pepper and mix them in well.

At this point the sweet potatoes are probably ready, add them in with the rest of the stuff in the pot.  Pour in the salsa. Stir to combine. Now add the liquids and bring to a slight boil, simmer for 8-10 minutes to allow the flavour to steepen. Serve warm with cheese grated on top and a chunk of your favourite sourdough bread smothered in butter!

Reid licking paprika off of spoon.
*If you do not have any salsa on hand or it's tomato season, use two medium tomatoes, remove seeds, dice them up along with a pepper. Additionally, as the seasons change, swap spinach for collard greens, kale, or even beet greens.

Bean and sweet potato chili was a hit with my son Reid, he had three helpings! This is a great vegetarian dish, (or vegan recipe without the grated cheese) for another Meatless Monday in March. Or if you have given up meat for lent, this chili is a great hearty meal!

Bon Appetit!
Chef Momma


  1. Wow this looks fantastic, and I do have both black beans and sweet potatoes to use up from my produce box. Very cool. I am wondering if it would be nice to blend part of the soup when its done, to give it a mixed texture? Hmm.... wheels are turning. Thanks for another great recipe!

  2. Your welcome! I never blend because one, I love the chunkiness of soup and two, I don't have a hand held mixer, so to toss them all into a tiny magic bullet makes a huge mess and is time consuming. But if you do blend it, let me know how that turns out!

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