Vegan Chili with Sweet Potato and Beans

This chili recipe is a classic that I hope you will turn to again and again to warm your belly and nourish your soul. I know it’s been keeping me cozy and happy in these final weeks of winter here in Canada.

I got to thinking last week about some of my favourite childhood dishes (see my fudge pie), and one that stood out was a sweet potato and kidney bean chili on polenta from Rose Reisman Vegetarian Cooking. I requested that chili often for the entire winter of grade 6. While that cookbook has long since found a new home, I have never forgotten about my beloved chili.

I was surprised by how many of you responded in the affirmative when I took a poll on Instagram a couple of weekends ago to gauge interest in a chili recipe. I guess we’re all still in need of some winter comfort food!

Knowing that I wanted to keep this within the realm of a weeknight meal, I’ve kept the prep time and ingredient list short. The chili really only needs about 10 minutes of active prep and 30 minutes of cooking. It makes 4 large or 6 moderate servings, and can be accompanied by quinoa, avocado, nacho chips, cilantro, lime juice, cashew sour cream, pickled jalapenos, cornbread… the sky really is the limit with this versatile recipe.

Even though the ingredient list is short, this chili has complex flavours thanks to plenty of onion and garlic, fire-roasted tomatoes, smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, and coriander. A couple tablespoons of maple syrup mellows the acidity of the tomatoes and really rounds out the dish.

What I love most about this chili is that it’s thick and stew-like. Sweet potatoes add heft to the dish, which makes this recipe friendly to all eaters– even those bean skeptics.

I think that this recipe works perfectly with kidney beans, but it is open to experimentation. You could use cooked green lentils, black beans, or pinto beans with equally delicious results.

Make this chili for a crowd, or make it on the weekend for easy lunches throughout the week. However you choose to enjoy it, I hope that it keeps you warm and cozy through this final six week stretch of winter. We’re almost there!

Smoky Sweet Potato and Bean Chili

A thick, hearty vegan chili made with warming spices, kidney beans, and sweet potato. Smoky, flavourful, and rich in protein and fibre, it’s the perfect plant-based meal for cold nights. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Mexican, Vegan
Keyword: Chili, Meatless Mondays, Sweet Potato, Vegan
Servings: 6
Author: Allison


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 4 cups peeled sweet potato, diced in 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 28-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I like Muir Glen organic)
  • 3 cups cooked kidney beans
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup

For serving:

  • Cooked quinoa
  • Diced avocado
  • Hot sauce
  • Cashew sour cream
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Cilantro


  • Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and salt and saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add the red pepper and spices and cook 3 minutes more. 
  • Next, add the sweet potato, tomatoes, kidney beans, broth, and maple syrup. Turn heat up to high and bring chili to a rolling simmer, stirring often. 
  • Turn heat down to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until sweet potato is fork-tender, about 25 minutes. Taste and add additional seasonings, if desired: salt, pepper, or spices. Flavours deepen the longer it sits, so feel free to make this ahead of time. 
  • Serve in bowls with desired toppings: quinoa, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, cashew sour cream, and pickled jalapenos. 


Make ahead: This recipe keeps for at least five days in the refrigerator. 
You can find a recipe for cashew sour cream recipe here:

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment below, and be sure to tag #holisticallie on Instagram!


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