September 04, 2023

VEGAN RECIPE REVIEW: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili (Crockpot)

Vegan Recipe Review: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

I haven't done a recipe review in a long time--mainly because I haven't been cooking new recipes. As you know, I've been having a really tough year; the last thing I was worried about was cooking new recipes. But I'm feeling SO much better--I have more energy, I have been thinking more positively, and I just feel more motivated in general.

Yesterday, I went for my morning run (my very, very short run around the block) and when I got back home, I felt like I had some energy to burn. I decided to prep dinner--and better yet, I chose a crockpot recipe. I love being able to prep dinner in the morning and not have to worry about it until dinner time.

I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand, and I'm sure most people probably would (except maybe the sweet potatoes). I thought this would be a good recipe to post because it doesn't have "weird" vegan foods in it. It looked like a recipe that vegans *and* omnivores may like.

Because this is a crockpot recipe, there aren't many steps--so this will be a relatively short post. I found this recipe at Eating on a Dime. You can find the full recipe on the site. I will link to it again at the bottom of this post.

Duck is helping me write this today. He is so sweet and it absolutely melts my heart when he wants to be close to me like this. (Pressing the Return key isn't very easy, but every cat lover knows what it's like trying not to disturb a sleeping cat.)

kitty helping me blog

First up is the ingredients list:

green pepper
minced garlic
black beans
sweet potatoes
diced tomatoes
chili powder
cayenne (optional; I used 1/2 tsp.)
broth (I use homemade bouillon, which I wrote about below)

To prep everything, I just chopped the onions and pepper. Then I cut the sweet potatoes into large chunks (I wanted them to hold their shape after the long cooking time in the crockpot). I opened the cans of beans and drained and rinsed those. 

For recipes that call for broth, I use homemade vegan bouillon powder mixed with water. It's very similar to a chicken bouillon powder. I usually use 1/2 Tbsp. of powder for every 1 cup of water. But any broth will do.

Then, I just dumped everything into the crockpot and set it on low heat (planning to cook it for about five hours).

I'm very familiar with cooking soups, stews, and chilis in the crockpot and three cups seemed like a lot of water, especially considering the amount of vegetables that would give off water as they cooked as well. 

Usually for recipe reviews, I do everything exactly as written. However, instead of the three cups of broth that is called for, I used two and set the third aside in case it was needed. After giving it a stir, I decided holding off on the extra cup of broth was probably the way to go, knowing there would be more liquid as the veggies cooked.

Other modifications: The recipe called for 1/2 an onion, which I never do--why not a whole onion? So I used a whole one. I also cut the salt in half, figuring I could add more later. (In the end, the extra broth and extra salt were not needed.)

I cooked it on low for about five hours. I gave it a stir a couple of times because I didn't want the sweet potatoes to get overcooked and mushy, and I also wanted to see if it needed more broth. This was about halfway through, and you can see there was a lot more liquid:

The house smelled heavenly of chili spices while it cooked. The kids (and Jerry) asked what was for dinner, and I told them Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili. None of them seemed thrilled, hahaha. I have stopped trying to cater to everyone's wants and decided to cook healthy meals that I thought sounded good--they can take it or leave it. Or cook dinner themselves.

When it was done, I tasted a chunk of sweet potato and was surprised at just how good it was. I've never added sweet potatoes to chili before; I like sweet potatoes, but I only ever really eat them as a side dish  (and even that is only occasionally). Sweet potato casserole, baked sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries. I tried them in a hash one time at a restaurant and wasn't a fan. So, I wasn't sure if I was going to like them in chili.

The sweet potatoes had completely absorbed the flavors of the spices, and I honestly couldn't tell that they were sweet potatoes (judging by taste). The texture was really nice in the chili--a contrast to the usual bean chili (vegan) or meat chili.

Jerry and the kids are *not* sweet potato fans, so I totally didn't expect them to eat it. However, I wanted them to at least taste a piece of the sweet potato because I was sure that it would change their minds. And I was right! Jerry's face went from extremely skeptical to pleasantly surprised. He said they were amazing--the taste and the texture.

Eli was at work, but I gave Noah a piece to try; his face was skeptical as well, but he agreed. (I love that he is open-minded about trying foods that he thinks he won't like.) Just like Jerry, he was very surprised that he liked it. I was thrilled! Sweet potatoes are so healthy and I want to incorporate them into my diet more, so having the family on board is a bonus. I'm going to see if Eli will try a piece today. (I would bet my life that he'll say, "It's not bad". I don't think he would ever admit to liking sweet potatoes.)

Jerry took the chili to work with him and said that he "really liked the sweet potatoes, but the beans didn't have any flavor". This both surprised and confused me--canned beans are canned beans. I use them all the time in chili and he's never said that before.

I had a big bowl of it (too big, actually--I felt uncomfortably full afterward). I loved it! This is something I will absolutely make again. I would like to utilize my crockpot more, and this recipe was super easy. Noah actually ate a bowl of it for dinner, too, which I didn't expect.

Final thoughts: 

-super easy!
-lots of fiber
-tons of good nutrition
-use a whole onion
-cut salt in half
-reduce broth to 2 cups instead of 3
-good sweet potato recipe for people who think they don't like sweet potatoes
-the spiciness was PERFECT for me (if you don't like things spicy, then leave out the cayenne)
-leftovers reheat really well
-a good recipe for days when the groceries are running low

This was delicious and I definitely recommend giving it a try! You can find the recipe at Eating on a Dime.


  1. I'm so happy to hear you have energy and that your mindset is shifting toward the positive. And this recipe sounds yummy, without the spices.

    1. Do you not like spices?! I buy chili powder and cumin in bulk, haha. We go through it so fast.


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