Posted by on Sep 13, 2012 in | 10 Comments

There is a principal in yoga called ahimsa which translates to non harming or non violence.  This is why many yogis are vegetarian.  I do not follow it one hundred percent but do try and limit my meat intake to a few times a week and only eat local, grass-fed, organic, all that good stuff.

In the spirit of eating more vegetable protein is this delicious vegetarian chili.  It is hearty and warming, filled with deep red spices, sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, and tempeh.  Tempeh is a healthy and high protein soy product that is slightly nutty and neutral flavored on its own so responds fondly to marinades and long simmers.

To keep things interesting, the chili is topped with salty cojita (or feta), creamy avocado, and crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds.  I wouldn’t even think about eating chili without sour cream, so I add a big scoop too, but you can leave it out, use vegan sour cream, or plain fat free greek yogurt.

Meat or no meat this is an awesome chili recipe.  Try it out and tell me what you think.  :)

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili  
Serves 4-6 

4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large bite sized pieces

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 red or yellow onion, chopped fine

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 poblano, seeded and diced

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 15 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes

2 8 oz packages tempeh (or 1 pound cooked ground meat for non-vegetarian)

3-4 cups stock or water

1 15 ounce can drained black beans

1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

juice of 1/2 a lime

 Serve With:

crumbled cojita or feta cheese

roasted pumpkin seeds

chopped avocado


sour cream (vegan sour cream or plain yogurt too)

Preheat oven to 400.  Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toss sweet potatoes with 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and place in even layer on baking sheet.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until tender then set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, film the bottom of a large pot with grapeseed oil over medium heat.  Add onion, celery, bell pepper and poblano, and saute until soft, 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic, tomato paste and spices, stir frequently for 1 more minute.  Add crumbled tempeh (or ground meat) and stir to combine then add diced tomatoes and two cups of broth water to cover.  Bring to simmer and cook 15-20 minutes to combine flavors.

Add sweet potatoes, drained black beans, and corn to pot with enough additional liquid to cover (about another cup or so).  Stir, season, and bring to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes until mixture is thick and rich and all ingredients are blended.  Add additional salt, pepper, and lime juice to finish.

Serve hot with cheese, pumpkin seeds, avocado, and sour cream.



  1. Samantha
    September 14, 2012

    This looks so delish! Can’t wait to try it!!

    • Jessie
      September 17, 2012

      Hi Samantha, Thanks girl! Let me know how it turns out when you do. Hope all is well in DC!!!

  2. Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake
    September 14, 2012

    I love your photos!! And this is definitely my type of comfort food. :D Looks so delicious I can almost taste it!

    • Jessie
      September 17, 2012

      Hi Jenny, Thank you for the kind words. It made such a big batch, wish you could have come over and tasted it!

  3. Sally
    September 16, 2012

    Making this TONIGHT!!! YUMMO!

    • Jessie
      September 17, 2012

      Hey Sally, How did it turn out? Hope you enjoyed! :)

  4. lisaiscooking
    September 16, 2012

    Vegetarian chili is the best! The sweet potato in this one sounds great, and the toppings look fantastic.

    • Jessie
      September 17, 2012

      Thanks Lisa! The toppings do make this chili extra special.

  5. Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake
    September 25, 2012

    I loveee this recipe! It looks so tasty and hearty, would love a huge bowl of this with a big scoop of sour cream :)

  6. Emily
    October 3, 2012

    Yummy! I think I will make this for the weekend!!!


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