Sweet Potato & Black Bean Crock-Pot Chili

Why do I crave soup every night? Seriously, ya’ll, there must be something wrong with me. I just loooooooove a big hearty stew when the weather starts to get chilly (okay, I’d probably eat it in the summer too… have I mentioned gazpacho is my weakness? but I digress.) and there’s something about a loaf of crusty bread or handful of tortilla chips or wheat crackers to dip, until they get just chewy enough to pick up with a spoonful of hearty goodness.

The best part about stew is that you can honestly add any ingredient you want and completely custom-design! (Sometimes that’s also a problem for me. Note to self: sweet potatoes, peas, and dried mint don’t mix well. Literally.) I usually raid my pantry for canned beans and veggies that I can find in there, and use a 1:1 veggies to beans ratio in most of my stews. Two cans beans, a can of corn and a can of tomatoes, and some chicken broth (Better than Bullion is my favorite)… throw ‘er into the crock-pot AKA mostingeniousinventioninthehistoryofmankind with some kind of protein and spices, set to high, and in a few hours your work is done. Oh, the smells that will waft through your nostrils when you walk through the door after work or an afternoon of errands.

I have to admit this one is probably my absolute favorite stew recipe. I make it so much that it’s a wonder Ben doesn’t plead with me to stop. But he seems to like it too. It must be the sweet potatoes. No, the turkey sausage. Black beans and cumin combo? I don’t know what it is, but just try it. You won’t be disappointed. I do have to say, though, that I think the deal-breaker in this one is the Latin Style Black Bean Soup base from Trader Joe’s that I used in place of chicken broth. A few extra calories, but the creaminess is definitely worth it. And you can still add more water or broth if it’s too thick for you!

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Crock-Pot Chili
Recipe Type: Stew/Chili
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Claire McCormick
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
A hearty, “warm up those bones” stew that will leave you completely satisfied! I altered the original Real Simple recipe (see link below) in order to use up some of the Trader Joe’s black bean base I had in my pantry, which turned out to be JUST the right thing for this stew to thicken it up and add a little bit of sweetness! Serve with cornbread or tortilla chips, and a dollop of plain greek yogurt to mix in.
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 links fully cooked turkey sausage (any variety), thawed and sliced into 1/4″ slices
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 14.5 oz cans peeled or diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 14.5 oz cans black beans, rinsed
  • 1 14.5 oz can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen yellow corn kernels
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 28 oz carton Trader Joe’s Latin Style Black Bean Soup (http://www.traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/article.asp?article_id=1022)
  • Plain greek yogurt, tortilla strips, shredded cheddar cheese or cornbread for serving
  • Dried parsley for garnish
  1. In a saute pan on medium-high heat, add oil until hot. Saute onion, mushrooms, bell pepper and garlic until just tender- about 5 min. During last minute, add sliced turkey sausage and stir until the sausage is nicely browned on both sides.
  2. Add mixture to a large crock-pot. Add chili powder, cumin, cocoa, cinnamon, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper.
  3. Add tomatoes and their liquid, black bean broth, sweet potato chunks, and all beans. Add 1 cup water to thin stew a bit and stir together.*
  4. Set crock-pot on high heat for 4-5 hours.
  5. About 30 min before serving, add corn kernels.
  6. Serve with plain greek yogurt or sour cream, tortilla strips, or cornbread. Garnish with a little sprinkle of dried parsley, too!
Serving size: 1 1/2 cups chili (does not include the optional cheese/yogurt/tortilla chip toppings) Calories: 263 cal Fat: 2 g Carbohydrates: 49 g Fiber: 14 g Protein: 14 g
*Edit (1/10/14): Some of you have decided to try this one and have given me great feedback that you’ve had some issues fitting everything into the crock pot. I admit, I had this same problem. And so I decided it was time to be honest with you, my dear readers… when I made this in my little crock pot, instead of trying to shove the top of the crock pot on and sit on it, or tape it down with duct tape or something, I reserved half of the mixture (uncooked, without additional water added) and froze it in a gallon-sized ziplock bag for later. This helped ensure that the pot stayed only about 3/4 of the way full to ensure faster and more even cooking (“crocking?”). I also had another batch of soup ready to throw into the pot a few weeks later! (It was like I planned it that way or something!)

Original recipe adapted from RealSimple.

Black bean sweet potato stew


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