Sweet Potatoes Topped With Black Bean Chili

by Anne Bennett on October 1, 2009

I’ve been searching for a good chili recipe that doesn’t have the same old ingredients: beef and beanzzz. After plowing through more than 25 cookbooks (perhaps more, I lost count) I came across a recipe in the Bon Appetit cookbook that featured baked sweet potatoes topped with a vegetarian black bean chili.

My unappealing photo of this delicious meatless entree was taken at night, in the dark (in the corner behind the stove…)

In Caribbean cooking, sweet potatoes are often paired with spicy chilis, so it makes sense to combine them with an American version of chili, albeit beef-free. The results are inspired, that is, if you’re willing to think outside the chili box.

This is what Weight Watchers calls a filling food. If you’re a bulk eater you’re going to be very happy–you get a lot more of this chili than the meaty kind, plus you get a whole sweet potato tossed in for practically free.

The best part is that it’s delicious, regardless of whether you’re watching your calories, waistline or Dancing with the Stars. The combination of sweet (potato), spicy (chili) and tangy (yogurt) makes for an unexpectedly refreshing dining experience. And let’s face it–on a weeknight, any dining experience other than frozen dinners or fast food can be deemed refreshing.

Don’t believe me? Go ahead and try it. You’ll get more to eat, and there could be less of you to love. Good outcome, I’d say.

4 medium sweet potatoes
1 T. olive oil
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. chili powder
2 t. ground cumin
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups zucchini or yellow squash (or a combination) diced

lime wedges
fat-free greek yogurt
chopped pickled jalapeno peppers
fresh cilantro, chopped (optional but good)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on oven rack and place sweet potatoes on foil. Bake for at least one hour, until tender.

Heat oil in a pot. Add red bell pepper and onion and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook about a minute, then add chili powder, cumin, tomatoes and beans. Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 20 minutes. Add zucchini and continue cooking until squash is tender, about 10 minutes.

Split sweet potatoes, mash the flesh a bit and then spoon chili into centers. If you’d like, squeeze some fresh lime juice over the chili, then top with 2 T. yogurt and freshly chopped cilantro.

Serves: 4

Are there only two of you? No problem. Leftovers, including the sweet potatoes, reheat in the microwave. Good for lunch the next day or even an encore dinner. Ole!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda October 1, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Yum! Definitely gonna have to try this one soon!!!!!

Amy October 2, 2009 at 11:15 am

My kids love sweet potatoes..must try this!

kaye October 4, 2009 at 7:33 pm

Sunday nite football just got a whole lot healthier–perfect replacement tonite for the traditional pot o’ chili.

Linda K October 7, 2009 at 2:25 pm

I made this and loved it; which really did surprise me a little!

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