Now that some cooler, more winter-like temperatures are here, it’s time for some chili!

I’ve had an on-going debate with Mr. Real Food for some time now about whether or not chili should have meat.  He says it does and I disagree.  To me, chili needs to be hearty, filling and warm.

This black bean and sweet potato is everything I want in a chili.  Black beans and quinoa add plenty of protein to make it a hearty meal so there’s no need to add meat.  And there are plenty of vegetables like onion, bell pepper and sweet potato to add in plenty more nutrients.  I think we can all agree that chili just isn’t chili without tomatoes so you’ll find diced tomatoes to give it the traditional chili flavor.  The seasonings I used are for a more mild chili so you’ll want to add more if you like it spicier.

The only prep needed for this recipe is to peel and dice the sweet potatoes and dice the onion and bell pepper.  I was able to find pre-diced pepper and onion in the freezer section at the store so that was a time-saver for me.

To make the chili, simply add the ingredients to the slow cooker. Cook on low 8-10 hours or high 5-6 hours.

When you are ready to serve, top with your favorite chili toppings. I love using cilantro, Greek yogurt or sour cream, shredded cheese or green onions.

Not only is this chili delicious when it’s finished, it makes tasty leftovers.  And it freezes really well, too!

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili


3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
4 cups vegetable broth
2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Additional salt and pepper to taste
Optional toppings: cilantro, Greek yogurt, sour cream, green onion, shredded cheese


Add all ingredients to slow cooker.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.
Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with your favorite chili toppings.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Does chili need to have meat in it or is a hearty meatless version just as good?

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