This chili is so flavorful and outrageously hearty that I often forget it’s vegan! Delicious and packed with nourishing ingredients, this recipe is perfect as a meal or a first course at lunch or dinner!
Thinking about the zesty, bold flavors in this chili recipe makes my mouth water. The colorful ingredients simmer together to make a vibrant, wholesome, and crave-worthy stew.
Though I originally adapted this recipe to enjoy in the Fall and Winter months, this chili has become my go-to for weeknight dinners and weekend tailgates. People are always surprised when I tell them the chili is vegan and vegetarian-friendly!
I love how versatile the recipe is and the fact that it can easily be adapted to what ingredients I have in my pantry. To make it even better, the chili is picky-eater approved and each person enjoying a bowl can customize theirs with their favorite toppings! See below the recipe for a list of awesome topping ideas!
Before you get started
- Gather your equipment and ingredients so that you have them ready to go when it’s time to start cooking!
- You will want to peel and cut the sweet potatoes into small cubes before preheating the oven. Also, petite-dice the bell pepper and onion and mince the garlic prior to starting.
- Opening the canned ingredients, draining, and rinsing them prior to starting will also make cooking easier!
Suggested Equipment & Appliances
- Large dutch oven or stock pot
- Large baking sheet
- Medium mixing bowl
- Parchment paper or aluminum foil
Recipe Yield and Cook Time
- Recipe Yield: 5-6 Servings
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- 2 large or 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large red or yellow onion, diced small
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 (14-15oz) cans of fire-roasted petite diced tomatoes
- 2 (14-15oz) cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced small
- ½ cup canned or frozen yellow corn kernels
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and grease it with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potato cubes with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of honey, then salt and pepper to taste. Spread the coated sweet potatoes out onto the baking sheet, giving them as much space as possible.
- Roast the sweet potatoes for 20-25 minutes, moving them around halfway through to ensure they cook evenly. The roasting sweet potatoes will shrink down and become tender as they cook-this is to be expected!
- While the sweet potatoes are roasting, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Add in the diced onion and bell peppers and saute, stirring constantly, for about 3-4 minutes or until the onions soften and become translucent. Throw in the minced garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat.
- Stir in the vegetable broth, tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, and cocoa powder. Bring the chili to a low boil, then reduce the heat to low.
- Cover the dutch oven or stock pot and let simmer on low-medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the black beans, honey, lime juice, and corn to the chili. Let this simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Finally, stir the roasted sweet potatoes into the chili, cover, and let sit for another 3-4 minutes so the flavors can develop.
- Ladle the chili into bowls and garnish with your favorite toppings. I listed some of my favorites below!
Tips and Tricks
- Some of my favorite veggie, fruit, and herb chili toppings include: chopped cilantro, diced fresh tomatoes, raw diced red onion, pickled radishes, pickled red onions, chopped green onions or chives, sliced, pickled, or roasted jalapenos, sliced avocado, guacamole, hot or mild salsa, diced mango, and lime wedges. I love the fresh crunch, tang, and zest that these flavors add to a bowl of warm hearty chili!
- Some of my other favorite chili toppings include: shredded cheddar, colby-jack, pepper-jack, or mexican cheese blend, crumbled cotija or queso fresco cheese, sour cream (vegan works too), plain nonfat greek yogurt, hot sauce, tortilla chips or strips, fritos, croutons, cornbread, and bacon crumbles. Note: many of these ingredients are not vegan.
- I suggest making double, triple, quadruple or more of the chili seasoning mix to have handy for later use! I keep some in my spice rack, which allows me to whip-up this incredible chili more quickly.
Any of the following ingredients can be swapped for some alternatives at the same quantity:
- Sweet Potatoes can be replaced with butternut squash or another squash of your choice! Follow the recipe as described and make sure to keep an eye on the roasting squash while it’s in the oven to prevent burning.
- Olive Oil can be replaced with peanut oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and walnut oil.
- Black Beans can be replaced with your bean of choice for an equally delicious chili! Try using pinto beans, red kidney beans, cannellini beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), navy beans, and Great northern beans. Try a combination!
- Red Bell Pepper can be replaced with yellow, orange, or green bell peppers, poblano peppers, cubanelle peppers, or anaheim peppers.
- Vegetable Broth can be replaced with chicken broth, beef broth, or water (with 1 tbsp of salt) at the same quantity. You can also opt to use 1 cup of water and 1 cup of beer instead of vegetable broth! Note: the recipe is no longer vegan if chicken or beef broth is used in place of vegetable broth.
Honey can be replaced with agave nectar, maple syrup, simple syrup, or balsamic glaze!