So far this season, we’re having such a beautiful snowy winter here. I absolutely love it! However, with the cold & snow comes the yearning for comfort food and warmth. Given I’m still sorting through health struggles and have been on a bit of a journey (my body is rebelling, eye roll), I’ve been eating very clean. Too clean for my liking, honestly. Super healthy eating typically isn’t my norm. I don’t jump on the fitness & fad diet plan at the start of each new year, I’m not into resolutions, and I’ve always been one to eat anything & everything (including carbs, sweets, and my personal favorite- dairy). I also refuse to count calories or macros. My mindset has been everything is fine in moderation. I try to eat healthy when I can, but I’m sure to live along the way… aka- eat that slice of pizza or cake and definitely have the pasta! I’ve had a pretty positive relationship with food and my body this past decade and it took me awhile to get there. These past few months, excluding the holiday week, thanks to said health journey- I’ve eliminated sugar, gluten, dairy, red meat, and all sorts of things in an effort to feel my best while my doctors continue to help me search for answers. Regardless of my clean diet (no matter how temporary I hope it is), I’ll be making certain newfound dishes regardless- because they’re just that good… this sweet potato chili being one of them! I’ve probably made this recipe 8-10 times already this winter, and somehow Emmett & I aren’t bored with it yet. It stores & heats nicely, which makes the perfect easy winter lunch, is filling, has robust flavor, and it’s very healthy- something you can really feel good about eating. Click through for the quick recipe. This one is definitely worth saving or pinning!
Chili has always been a winter staple in our household, but we usually include a meat of some sort. Emmett prefers ground beef, and I’ve always leaned toward shredded chicken or ground turkey. My Nan’s chili I grew up eating was filled with noodles- nostalgic and delicious. I used to eat it almost everyday after school. I’d hop off the bus, make the long walk up her mile driveway, and was always welcomed with chili waiting at the table for me. In fact, in our family cookbook, it’s labeled “After School Chili”. Ha. Gone are my noodle filled chili days. This is honestly the first vegetarian chili I’ve attempted and it took a few times to perfect the recipe.
It makes a BIG hearty batch and I’m telling you- it goes quick because it’s so delicious. In addition to the basic chili ingredients (beans, tomato, onion, garlic, chili seasonings & spices, etc), this one has some unique additions that kick it up a notch… sweet potato, lime juice, and a silky avocado crema, to name a few of my personal favorite flavor profiles. The best part? It’s dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, and meat-free… a totally vegan chili.
This is an easy recipe to make and it’s quick to cleanup, as it only takes one pot. I use my Le Creuset dutch oven and it’s the perfect size for the big batch.
Vegan Sweet Potato Chili with Lime Crema
- 2 tbsp olive oil for drizzling
- 2-3 large sweet potatoes peeled & diced
- 2 small / medium onions peeled & diced
- 7-8 cloves garlic minced
- 4 tbsp chili powder (can use more for additional heat)
- 8 tsp cumin
- 3 tsp cayenne
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4-5 cups water
- 3 15 oz cans of mixed beans pinto, kidney, black beans (drained & rinsed)
- 1 28 oz diced tomatoes and their juice
- 1 lime juiced
- 4 avocados
- 2-3 tbsp almond milk
- 4 limes juiced
- maldon salt flakes to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium/high heat. Add the onion and garlic, stirring & cooking until the onion is softened and translucent (about 5 minutes). You can add a splash of water if it begins to stick.
- Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, paprika, and salt, stirring constantly for 10-15 seconds. Add a splash of the reserved water, allowing it to cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Add the diced sweet potato and 2 cups of the reserved water, stirring until combined. Cook for another minute until fragrant. Add more of the water- just until the sweet potatoes are barely covered (save the rest for later). Bring to a simmer.
- Once simmering, reduce to a low simmer and cover the dutch oven, cooking until the sweet potato is fork tender 13-15 minutes.
- Add the beans, the tomatoes and their juice, as well as the lime juice. Stirring until combined.
- If you'd like to keep your chili thick and sauce-like, omit the remaining water. If you prefer a soup-like chili... add more water until you're pleased with the consistency.
- Increase the heat to high and return to a simmer, stirring often. Allow the chili to simmer for 10-12 more minutes (uncovered) to reduce and combine just a bit.
- Peel and scoop out the avocado into a blender.
- Add the almond milk and a sprinkle of malden salt flakes.
- Juice one lime to start, and blend until smooth & creamy.
- Taste the crema and add the juice from one lime at a time, tasting in between, until it's to your liking. I typically do a 1:1 ratio (one lime per one avocado).
- You can also add more almond milk (or any milk of your choosing) to thin the crema. To make it thicker, add another avocado... salt as needed.
- Garnish a dollop (or two) on top of the chili!
I also have to brag on my new favorite healthy condiment… lime crema. I’m a person who loves toppings and dips. Not being able to have dairy, I keep a jar of this stuff in our fridge at all times. It stores really well thanks to the acidity of the lime. I put it on everything (tacos, chili, rice bowls, chicken, etc) and also use it as a dip / spread (chips, veggies, almond flour flatbread, etc).
It is SO good! Something to note though- I like a lot of lime. Emmett thinks I add too much lime, and maybe he’s right? I’m the gal who enjoys plain grapefruit (no sugary brûlée needed) for breakfast and I like a strong tart flavor. In the recipe, leave out a lime or two for a more mild flavor. I noted it in the recipe, but start with a small amount of lime juice… you can always add. I usually do one lime (juiced) per one avocado. Again- Emmett thinks I’m insane and doesn’t enjoy my “potent lime crema”. Make it to your liking! Emmett (being Emmett) also prefers a big dollop of sour cream and cheese on top of his chili, so take his advice with a grain of salt.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised (and actually prefer) this lime crema paired with this recipe. I’ll also toast up some almond flour tortillas on the side (I can’t have corn at the moment- so no chips for me), but dare I say this is even better?
Let me know if you give this recipe a try! It’s a little southwest, is savory, has punchy flavors, the perfect amount of heat, and a hearty bowl will warm you from within this winter. I promise you’ll love it- whether you’re on your own health journey, or not. It’s one of those winter recipes that everyone will enjoy & appreciate. If you have any healthy recipes (gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free) to share that sort of fit my limited criteria, I’d be forever grateful if you care to share! I’m missing my regular favorites, but am committed to feeling better in the year ahead. If altering my diet for the time being helps, I’m willing to give it a go. On another note… do you ever put noodles in your chili? Living in Ohio, I got into some heated conversations because I’m not a fan of Skyline. Haha! I’m fine with noodles in chili- I just don’t love theirs. It’s a serious debate! See more of my recipes here.