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This hearty bowl of chili has it all — meat, beans, and just the right amount of heat!
Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili made with spicy Italian sausage is loaded with delicious flavor. Prepare this easy recipe for a weeknight dinner or for your next football party!
Sweet potatoes in chili may be seem unusual, but when paired with the other spices they add a hint of sweetness for the perfect balance in this dish. Serve this black bean chili with tortilla chips, corn muffins, or a crusty loaf of bread for a complete and satisfying meal.
Looking for more delicious chili recipes? An exclusive list of amazing chili cook-off recipes from some of my blogging friends is at the bottom of this post just for you!
Key ingredients & substitutions for Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili
- Ground Italian sausage — Most chili recipes start with ground beef, but here we’re using bulk Italian sausage which is seasoned with fennel, garlic, and other spices. Use either the mild or spicy sausage depending on your heat preference.
- Canned black beans — Using canned beans is a real time saver, but always rinse and drain them well before adding to any recipe to remove extra sodium.
- A large sweet potato — Peel and dice one large or two medium sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes. I personally prefer dark orange sweet potatoes, but any variety will work in this recipe.
- Canned tomatoes — The recipe calls for petite-diced tomatoes, but you may want to substitute fire-roasted tomatoes or your favorite salsa for even more spice.
- Onion — Use whatever you have on hand sweet yellow onion, white onion, or red onion. Also, diced red bell pepper would be a delicious addition.
- Chili powder & cumin — These ground spices are essential for any kind of chili! Substitute a chipotle chili powder for a more smoky flavor.
- A squeeze of fresh lime juice stirred into the pot at the end of cooking gives this chili an extra punch of flavor and brightness.
How to make chili with sweet potatoes?
STEP 1 | Brown the meat
Break up the Italian sausage into the bottom of a Dutch oven and sauté over medium hight heat until the meat is no longer pink. Drain off any excess grease.
STEP 2 | Sauté the aromatics
Toss in the diced sweet potatoes and onions and cook until the onions are tender. Add minced garlic and the other spices and cook until the mixture is fragrant.
STEP 3 | Finish cooking the sweet potatoes
Add about 3 cups of water to the pot. Once the chili begins to boil, reduce the heat and cook until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.
STEP 4 | Simmer
Finally, stir in the canned black beans and tomatoes. Simmer until all the ingredients are heated through.
- Most canned beans and vegetables already have been salted, so be careful when adding more salt to your soups and chilis. Always drain canned beans and rinse well under cool running water to remove excess sodium.
Frequently asked questions
Yes! Be sure to let the soup cool completely, then store in resealable freezer bags for up to 2 months in the freezer. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then warm on top of the stove or in the microwave.
While I haven’t tried that myself, you absolutely could use dry beans. One can is equivalent to about 3/4 cup of dry beans, so you’d need to cook 1 1/2 cups from scratch for this chili recipe.
Of course! Obviously, you would omit the sausage, but I’d suggest that you also add an extra can of beans.
For a thicker broth, simply blend or mash up half the beans and stir them back into the chili.
Serve with lime wedges, avocado slices, sour cream, tortilla chips, cornbread, or garlic bread.
Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili
- 1 lb. ground Italian sausage mild or spicy
- 1 large sweet potato peeled and diced
- 1 large sweet onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups water
- 2 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed
- 1 14 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
- 3 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- Crumble the Italian sausage into the bottom of a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Sauté until the meat is no longer pink, about 6 – 7 minutes.
- Add the sweet potatoes and onions. Cook and for about 5 minutes, until the onions are tender. Stir in the garlic, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Cook for another minute, until the garlic is fragrant.
- Pour in the water and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork.
- Add the beans and tomatoes, and squeeze in the fresh lime juice. Simmer for another 5 minutes, or until heated the chili is heated through.
Welcome to our 2021 Chili Cook-Off!
October is Chili Cook-Off Month! We have delicious recipes from across the country to get your chili making to the next level of deliciousness!
#ChiliCookOff is an annual blogging event that is hosted by Ashley from Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Venison Chili from Cheese Curd In Paradise
- Colorado Green Chili from The Fresh Cooky
- Leftover Roast Pork Chili from A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili from Sweet Beginnings
- Instant Pot Chili from Devour Dinner
- Chili con Carne from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Smoked Turkey Chili from Palatable Pastime
- My Dad’s Contest Winning Chili from The Spiffy Cookie
- Instant Pot Pork Green Chili from Hostess At Heart
- Black Eyed Pea Chili from Leftovers Then Breakfast
- Pork Chili from Art of Natural Living
- Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili from Life Love and Good Food
- White Chicken Chili from Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog
- Pumpkin Chili from Jen Around The World
- Vegan Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili from Magical Ingredients
- Cincinnati Chili from An Affair from the Heart
- Grilled Pork Tenderloin Chilifrom The Freshman Cook
- Texas Chili from SmartyPants Kitchen
About Sheila Thigpen
Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer
Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.