This black bean sweet potato chili is naturally gluten-free and grain-free and has Southwestern flavors of chili powder, cumin and oregano. I start with dried beans and cook them in the Instant Pot for maximum economy and digestibility as I describe here, but canned beans work great if you don’t have the time for that.
I enjoy this meal with quinoa, brown rice or, if I really have my act together, Nut Pesto Green Rice (recipe here). The chili has enough body to be enjoyed on its own, too!
Black beans make for a beautiful visual contrast with the orange sweet potatoes in this dish. Other beans could be used, such as red or pinto. Any of them will benefit from soaking before cooking – at least that is the case in my experience. I have found that beans agree with more people when soaked for longer periods of time, and take up the other flavors better. I soak them until they start to sprout a little bit. Takes patience but it makes me feel very homey.
You can vary the amounts of the ingredients according to your taste: more chili powder, more oregano, more onion, whatever appeals to you. The key is for the flavors to blend into something savory and memorable.
Cooking tips for black bean sweet potato chili
I cook the soaked black beans in my Instant Pot – 20 minutes is about right. A cup of dry beans (about half a one-pound bag) will make the equivalent of two cans of beans (see how to cook dry beans here). Just as with canned beans, drain off the cooking liquid unless there is a very small amount.
The cooking liquid from black beans can help thicken a stew but it will tend to darken the broth. You can keep the drained liquid in reserve and add it close to the end of cooking if you are not sure you’ll want that effect.
If you like, you can rinse out and use the Instant Pot for the remaining cooking, too. You just have to make sure to clean out the bean starch first so the onions and garlic don’t stick.
This recipe calls for ground beef, which, in addition to boosting the protein content, also tones down the sweetness of the sweet potatoes. It can very easily be made without beef, however. Without it, the recipe is vegan.
This dish is wonderful with Nut Pesto Green Rice (recipe here).
Other comfort food recipes you may enjoy
Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili
Prepare the beans:
- 1 cup dry black beans soaked at least 8 hours and pressure-cooked in Instant Pot (about ½ of a 1-pound bag); drained
For the chili:
- 1 pound grass-fed ground beef
- 1 tablespoon coconut or avocado oil
- 1 large onion about 3 cups, chopped into ¼-1/2-inch dice
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large sweet potato diced (about 3-4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 cups bone broth
- 1 can 14 oz diced tomatoes, blended slightly with immersion blender
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1½ cups cooked black beans
- lime wedges avocado for garnish
- Brown the beef gently in the stock pot or Instant pot until the pink color is gone and the meat is broken up. Reserve cooked beef to another bowl.
- Heat the coconut oil in the pot if needed (see note).
- Add the chopped onions and sauté for 3 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook another minute.
- Mix in the chopped sweet potatoes and sauté for about 5 more minutes.
- Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt and garlic powder and stir to coat the vegetables with the spices.
- Stir in bone broth, tomatoes, oregano and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender.
- Add the cooked black beans and beef and simmer at low heat for about 10 minutes. Adjust the seasonings.
- Serve over quinoa or rice, garnished with lime slices and avocado.