food & recipes

Vegan Sweet Potato Chili with Lime Crema

Vegan Sweet Potato Chili with Lime Crema - roomfortuesday.com 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!

Vegan Sweet Potato Chili with Lime Crema - roomfortuesday.com 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.

Vegan Sweet Potato Chili with Lime Crema - roomfortuesday.com 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.

Vegan Sweet Potato Chili with Lime Crema - roomfortuesday.com 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 - roomfortuesday.com

Vegan Sweet Potato Chili with Lime Crema - roomfortuesday.com

Vegan Sweet Potato Chili with Lime Crema

Healthy Chili Recipe
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course, Soup

Ingredients
  

Chili

  • 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

Lime Crema

  • 4 avocados
  • 2-3 tbsp almond milk
  • 4 limes juiced
  • maldon salt flakes to taste

Instructions
 

Chili

  • 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.

Lime Crema

  • 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!

Notes

Adjust to your dietary preferences! This easy recipe can be altered to your needs and preferences. Add or subtract spices to control the heat level, add or subtract water to manipulate the consistency, sub your favorite milk or milk substitute in the crema, etc. 
Keyword chili, dairy free, gluten free, healthy chili, meat free, sugar free, vegan, vegetarian

Vegan Sweet Potato Chili with Lime Crema - roomfortuesday.com 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).

Vegan Sweet Potato Chili with Lime Crema - roomfortuesday.com 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?

Vegan Sweet Potato Chili with Lime Crema - roomfortuesday.com 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.

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  • Reply
    Peggi
    January 11, 2023 at 5:57 am

    Good morning! Mmmmmm, chili! Definitely one of our winter staples. In fact, I made a pot just the other day that included half a roasted butternut squash. I’ll add roasted squash or sweet potato to most anything, but I’ve never put noodles in my chili. Ha. Food is one of my favorite topics! Be wary if you ask me for a recipe because you’re going to get several. Lol. Dietary restrictions can absolutely be a bummer, but I am constantly impressed with the volume of delicious alternatives and amazing recipe creators! I hate to sound like a proselytizing bore, but I try to keep my focus on the scrumptious foods we DO eat. (Nobody leaves my house hungry!) I especially love discovering new ingredients and techniques. #dork Kitchen store, Asian market or health food coop…I could happily browse and sniff for ages! As it happens, on my agenda today are a big batch of homemade falafel for the freezer and a to-be-determined soup for book club. Happy cooking! (Said in my best Jacque Pépin accent!) And a lovely Wednesday to you, Sarah!💜

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 12, 2023 at 9:31 pm

      Chili is one of our winter staples, too! Soups in general… I like that you can basically dump whatever you have into a bot with broth and you’re left with something warm & tasty. I love your idea to use butternut squash in chili! Maybe for my next batch, I’ll sub that for the sweet potato. Chili in noodles is definitely weird, but it’s something we grew up with- a total Kentucky / Cincinnati thing. I didn’t think it was strange until I moved away and realized that was not the norm. Haha! I love that you’re always so generous with your recipes and food knowledge. I also like your food philosophy on focusing on all the tasty options available. How was your freezer falafel? That sounds pretty amazing. Hope book club went well and you’re having a great week! xo

  • Reply
    Lauren
    January 11, 2023 at 7:24 am

    Chili…is there anything more comforting in the winter? My dad worked for 23 years as a fireman, and those boys sure know how to cook! I remember him always making his “5 alarm chili” (named not for the heat, but for the fact that they never got to eat it right off the stove because they’d always get a call). It was one of my childhood favorites, and always served with a thick slice of honey butter cornbread. I’m with you Sarah- I typically am of the “everything in moderation” mindset, and more than that, listening to my body when I’m feeling off and adjusting as needed. It’s never easy to give up foods you love, even when your body is craving it, and I feel for you with the dietary restrictions you’re adjusting to. I’ve made a few vegan recipes over the years when we’ve needed a break from the norm, but have never found one worthy of being a staple for us. You certainly have my interest piqued, and this chili looks incredibly delicious. I’ll have to try a batch of this when the next storm rolls in this weekend. To add to the discussion regarding overuse of lime- I’m with you. Despite a citric acid allergy, I prefer avocado, guacamole, or any avocado based sauce with a healthy helping of lime juice. In my younger years lime was one of the no-go citrus fruits, but in my 30’s it hasn’t bothered me a bit- I’m probably making up for lost time. And Jeff is on Emmett’s side- he fully thinks I’m crazy. But noodles in chili?! I’ve never tried that, or heard of anyone making it that way. I would imagine it would have to be egg noodles? All discussion aside, are the restrictions actually helping the way you feel? I sincerely hope it’s offering relief on some level, and I’m crossing my fingers for you that restricting yourself won’t have to last too long. Thank you for sharing this recipe and your personal journey with us. Have a wonderful Wednesday Sarah!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 12, 2023 at 9:28 pm

      I love a good chili! I also loved reading about your dad’s 5 alarm chili. Does he still make it? Oooh cornbread… I miss it, ha! I haven’t been able to eat corn, but that sounds divine. Let me know if you give the recipe a try. Emmett has been eating a lot of it without complaining about the lack of meat (lol), so I’m thinking it’s pretty good… at least I love it. I’m so glad you’re able to have lime these days. Avocado lime crema has been life these days. I put it on EVERYTHING. It’s so good. Ok- noodles in chili is a total Cincinnati / Kentucky thing. It really is! I’m not making this up. Both my family and Emmett’s all put noodles in chili. His family uses elbow macaroni and my fam uses spaghetti noodles. Ha. Kinda weird, I know. My restrictions make me feel a bit better, but my doctors are really just trying to figure out if food is contributing to some potential autoimmune issues and inflammation. Eventually (hopefully), I’ll be able to start adding foods back into my diet again. Some things I’ve found out I have sensitivities toward (like dairy), which is kind of a bummer because I can’t add those back, but I’m trying to adjust. Hope you’re having a great week :) xo

  • Reply
    Torinog
    January 11, 2023 at 7:59 am

    One restricted diet recipe I really enjoyed when I had to go through a similar process was Mason Jar Instant Ramen Zoodles http://www.strictlydelicious.com/mason-jar-instant-ramen-zoodles/. Surprisingly tasty and great for pre-making lunches. Hope you get things figured out soon!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 12, 2023 at 9:22 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing, Torinog! I’m excited to give them a try. That definitely sounds like an easy and delicious lunch idea.

  • Reply
    Michelle Ginskey
    January 11, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    This chili sounds delicious! It can be tricky finding good recipes to fit ones needs. Are you familiar with Danielle Walker? She has UC and has a lot of cookbooks with recipes that sound like they would work for you. Her website has lots of recipes too!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 12, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      Thanks, Michelle! I am not familiar with Danielle Walker, but I certainly am now- thank you for sharing. Her recipes look amazing! Can’t wait to try them.

  • Reply
    Melanie T
    January 11, 2023 at 8:02 pm

    My mother was raised on the Kentucky side of Cincinnati so I grew up eating macaroni in chili (and cheese crackers instead of saltines but maybe that was just our thing) so I thought that was the norm! This looks SO good as does the soup you shared recently. I sure envy your very French attitude toward food. I have had to work very hard all of my life to not overindulge in treats. Although I eat and enjoy a variety of healthy foods, I just can’t even keep muffins, any dessert type foods around because they seem to be a magnet for me. It’s immediate weight gain and too much temptation. I am overstepping boundaries here but Im going to take a chance and hope that you haven’t gotten your fill of advice yet( ha, fat chance). Have you ever considered visiting the Mayo Clinic for a second opinion? It’s a world renowned medical facility used to cracking difficult cases. They have seen it all. They are used to scheduling out of town patients so to make their visit concise and it’s only an hour or less from the Minneapolis airport. It was just a thought, sorry, I couldn’t hold back. OK, I know you really were asking for some great gluten free recipes so I can suggest instead of using gluten free flour just grind up oats in a foòd processor or blender ( or buy oat flour). It makes a really great tasting muffin and binds other ingredients together not unlike gluten so you don’t have to use xanthan gum.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 12, 2023 at 9:20 pm

      That’s where my parents live :) which is probably why noodles in chili are a thing in our house, too. Haha! Same with the cheese crackers. Sweets are a magnet for me, too… I just enjoy baking. Usually I share with friends & neighbors, after having my fair share. I actually have seen multiple specialists (second referrals for many), and I’ve also applied for a Mayo Clinic visit. Unfortunately, my case got denied. They’re so busy these days, they have an interview / referral process. I definitely considered it and tried though. Thanks for the suggestions- hope you’re having a good night!

  • Reply
    april smith
    January 11, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    This recipe sounds SO good; I can’t wait to try it out. I’ve followed a vegetarian diet for over 30 years, so I have tons of recipes that could fit your diet as long as you use GF/corn free tortillas and bread crumbs. You could definitely omit the corn from the black bean burgers

    https://www.eatliverun.com/boyfriend-approved-spicy-black-bean-burgers/

    https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/quinoa-sweet-potatoes-pesto

    https://aggieskitchen.com/roasted-veggie-and-black-bean-burritos/

    I hope you get answers to your health issues soon and are able to open up your eating restrictions!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 12, 2023 at 9:17 pm

      Let me know if you give it a try, April! Thank you SO much for sharing these wonderful recipes. I’m excited to try them. I hope you’re having a good week :)

  • Reply
    Lauren
    January 16, 2023 at 5:20 pm

    Loved this recipe, you had me at sweet potato! But I had to catch my husband as he was following measurements. Three teaspoons of cayenne is hefty! Usually the recipes I follow call for a quarter teaspoon. I went with one as a compromise and our lips were still tingling. Other than that one caveat, I loved it! And we are meat eaters but love to try new recipes. Thank you for sharing.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      January 16, 2023 at 9:24 pm

      I’m so glad to hear that, Lauren! Sorry to lead you astray with the cayenne- we like it pretty spicy. I’m glad you caught him before he dumped in the full amount. Ha! I’m always sampling and adjusting as I go, when it comes to chili. Hopefully if you make it again, you can note less cayenne. Sorry about that! Thanks for giving it a try :) I hope your week is off to a good start!

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