I usually think of chili only in the winter, but this vegetarian, sweet-potato chili is so light and delicious that it is a chili for all seasons. Beans, as you probably know by now, have a healthy balance of Omega-3s and Omega-6s, but I added flax meal to this recipe to balance out anything you may be serving alongside this chili: cornbread or mashed potatoes -- or, in my case, stone ground corn grits. I also cooked my beans from scratch (in a pressure cooker) but canned work well too. This recipe yields 6 bowls and is a surprisingly complex and tasty main that will satisfy vegetarians and omnivores alike.
Salut and stay well,
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced, or 1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less, depending on how spicy you like your chili)
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 TBS ground flax meal
- 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, with their juices*
- 2 cans (30 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained, or 3 cups cooked black beans. Or you can use half black beans and half kidney beans
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Suggested garnishes: sour cream, avocado, grated cheese, thinly sliced green onions and/or chopped cilantro
- In a 4-to-6 quart Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat, warm the canola oil until shimmering. Add the chopped vegetables (onion, peppers and sweet potatoes) and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start turning translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the garlic and spices (chili powder, cumin, cayenne, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and another dash of salt and pepper and flax meal) and liquid ingredients (tomatoes, beans and broth), and stir. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chili has reduced to a heartier consistency, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Season chili with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the chili into individual bowls, garnish as desired and serve.