Sweet Potato Chili

Bob told me I can’t call this chili, but I disagree. He claims chili is more liquid-y and doesn’t have as many chunks in it. I understand where he is coming from, Texas style chili is almost all meat, cooked down to a very thick soup and spiced. But I grew up with a different kind of chili, one where meat, beans and peppers all played a big role in the texture and flavor. I know, there is a lot of debate about chili and what it technically is, but I’m calling this chili in large part because the recipe it is based off called it chili.

We had a cold front come through, complete with a very cold rain that felt a little like icicles falling on your skin. This didn’t last, but it did get me in the mood for winter type food, and chili is definitely a winter food. I thought about making Bob super happy and making a traditional meat chili, but that would not make me very happy (and he is already getting hosing pork buns as soon as I manage to make it to the Asian market). I found a Jamie Oliver recipe for sweet potato chili and thought it looked interesting – minus some of the seasoning, the black beans and flour tortillas for the chips. But receipts are a suggestions, a starting point, so that is what I did.

I started with the basics of his version and changed a few things. Rather than use a dried or fresh chili and garlic, I went with chili garlic sauce. I really dislike blackens, so I substituted pinto beans. I like cheese on my chili, so I added that. Corn tortillas made great chips, so I swapped them for the four ones he recommends. I didn’t have smoked paprika on hand so I used regular paprika and two drops of liquid smoke. It worked. I really loved this chili. It may become my new go-to chili. And maybe, since I love this one so much, I’ll make Bob a meat chili so he can have his own.


  • 2 scallions
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1/2 pepper – orange, yellow or red
  • 1 sweet potato (small to medium)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 drops liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seed
  • 3/4 cup diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1, 7.75 oz can pinto beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 lime
  • 2 corn tortillas
  • 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
  • shredded cheese mix
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • rice for service

cook rice per package directions

Heat over to 350. Roll tortillas into a log shape and slice to create threads. toss with a little bit of oil and salt and bake for about 8 minutes – you want them crispy but not burnt.

Slice scallions, separating white/light green parts from dark green parts. Dice the pepper and grate the sweet potato.

Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a pan. When hot, add white/light green scallions, paprika, chili powder, cumin seed, chili garlic sauce and liquid smoke.  Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, about two minutes.

Add pepper and sweet potato. Stir to combine with spices. Add tomatoes and broth and mix well. Season with salt and pepper then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low/low and add beans. Mix and cover. let simmer 15-25 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add dark green scallions, yogurt and lime juice. Mix well.

Layer – rice, chili, chopped cilantro, tortilla strips and cheese. Serve hot.

*recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Sweet Potato Chili. (I forget where I found it originally.)

And just because they are cute ….

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