This spicy slow cooker sweet potato black bean chili is the best vegetarian alternative to a hearty meat dish. It’s warm and comforting, yet surprisingly healthy and super easy to make.Jump to Recipe
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If you’re looking for a delicious and easy dinner that’s also healthy and gives you leftovers, slow cooker recipes are the answer! That’s why we developed this tasty vegetarian chili recipe with two of our favorite healthy ingredients, sweet potato and black beans.
Meat can be expensive and makes us feel sluggish and heavy – which is why we’re trying to eat less of it lately. But we don’t necessarily want to give up the experience of eating something meaty, i.e. something super hearty, comforting, and savory. So when it came to this chili, we replicated that experience with tender chunks of sweet potatoes, savory black beans, and a spicy, flavorful sauce to create the best vegetarian slow cooker chili recipe.
Drawing inspiration from both meat-heavy and meatless chilis we’ve eaten before, this spicy Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili is the most comforting and cozy vegetarian dinner you can get! It’s the perfect meal to come home to on a cold night. And the best part is, it’s light enough to leave you feeling satisfied but not bloated – that is, if you can force yourself to put the spoon down before eating it all up 🙂
What Is Vegetarian Chili Made Of?
When we think of chili, we picture a thick, chunky, hearty dish that fills you up and warms your insides. Which is exactly what we achieved with this entirely vegetarian spicy sweet potato black bean chili!
Here’s what ingredients are used in our vegetarian slow cooker chili recipe, to give you that cozy feeling of digging into a hot bowl of classic chili:
- Sweet potato – Sweet potato is a great meat substitute since it’s fairly filling, and it provides tons of nutrition.
- Black beans – While the idea of using beans in chili is actually quite controversial, we love black beans in this vegetarian chili for their meaty texture. They also help replace some of the missing protein from not using meat.
- Onion – Diced onion is a staple in any good chili!
- Diced tomatoes – Canned diced tomatoes often make up the base of chili, along with beef and (sometimes) beans. They help give this meatless chili that traditional chili flavor.
- Tomato paste – Tomato paste thickens the sauce and helps balance the spices with some sweetness.
- Diced green chiles – Chili should be chunky, so we added some diced green chiles to go with our chunks of sweet potato, beans, onion, and tomato. Plus, they provide some of the heat that makes this chili so satisfying.
- Olive oil – Olive oil helps the sweet potatoes soften just the right amount as the chili cooks.
- Minced garlic – Minced garlic provides a much more powerful and fresh flavor than garlic powder, which helps the flavors in this chili pop.
- Lime juice – A little lime brightens the chili and adds a Southwestern flair to the overall flavor.
- Spices – If it isn’t spicy, it isn’t chili! (In our opinion, at least). Our recipe uses a blend of chili powder, cumin, chipotle powder, ground red cayenne pepper, and salt for punchy spice and smoky flavor in every spoonful.
How To Make Our Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili Recipe
It’s so much easier to make chili in a slow cooker or crock pot than any other method! Just set it and forget it. No standing over the stovetop, cooking and simmering until your chili is the perfect texture, keeping tabs on it at all times. Simply let your slow cooker do all the work while you go about enjoying your day, and the perfect vegetarian chili will be ready in time for dinner!
All you need to make this spicy sweet potato chili recipe is about 15 minutes of hands-on prep time. Peel and dice your sweet potato and onion, drain the beans, and then toss those ingredients in the slow cooker with the diced tomatoes, green chiles, tomato paste, water, olive oil, garlic, lime juice, and seasonings. Cover and set your crock pot to HIGH, then cook for about 6 hours until the sauce has reduced slightly and the sweet potatoes are tender.
Don’t worry if the chili bubbles while it cooks – this should happen. Just make sure to use a large enough slow cooker so it doesn’t bubble up over the edge and onto your counter. For reference, we use a 4-quart crock pot for one batch of this chili.
Storing & Reheating Sweet Potato Chili
As with any great slow cooker meal, you’ll get a big batch of chili out of this recipe. One batch makes about 6 servings, which is perfect for eating dinner and then reheating leftovers throughout the week! You can store leftover sweet potato black bean chili in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months.
For freezing perfect portions of soups and chilis, we love using our Souper Cubes! They’re like giant ice cube trays for food – so awesome for making easy homemade freezer meals. Just pop a cube out when you want a bowl of chili, and defrost right away in the microwave or let it sit in the fridge overnight for reheating the next day. (These are super useful if you’re packing lunches for work – just put a frozen cube of chili in your lunch container at night, put it in the fridge, and it’ll defrost overnight and on the way to the office!).
This vegetarian chili is super easy to reheat in the microwave – one of the many reasons why we love this recipe! One fully defrosted serving will reheat in about 2 to 3 minutes. Just remember to stir it occasionally, and be careful in case your bowls get hot (like ours, which we learned the hard way). This sweet potato black bean chili tastes just as good reheated as it does fresh from the slow cooker!
This vegetarian sweet potato chili recipe has quickly become a staple in our house for easy dinners and meal prep all in one. It requires barely any effort and comes out tasting absolutely delicious, every single time. Whether you serve it straight from the slow cooker with a side of fluffy bread or take it on the go for an easy packed lunch, our Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili will satisfy your cozy, comfort-food cravings without weighing you down.
So if you love chili and are looking for a meatless alternative to this hearty, comforting dish, try our recipe below! Don’t forget to rate, comment, and share – we’d love to hear how it turns out.
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Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 large yellow onion
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 30 oz canned black beans drained
- 14.5 oz canned diced tomatoes in tomato juice
- 4 oz canned diced green chiles
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1½ cups water
- 2 tbsp chili powder*
- 4 tsp cumin*
- 1 tsp chipotle powder*
- ½ tsp ground red cayenne pepper*
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- Peel and dice the sweet potato and onion.
- Add all ingredients to slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours.
- Serve hot with a side of fresh bread, or let cool and transfer to an airtight container to store in the fridge or freezer.
If you have any questions regarding the information presented in this post, please refer to our Nutrition Disclaimer here.
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Made my first batch of this last night and it is delicious. I used 1/2 of the spices, as suggested, and it still has a small amount of heat, along with some really good flavor. Serving this on a bowl of rice for dinner tonight.
Glad you loved it and that halving the spices still gave you great flavor!