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Southwestern Vegetarian Chili

Southwestern Vegetarian Chili with sweet potato, corn and all sorts of veggies is a flavorful, healthy vegan chili recipe! Make it any night of the week for a healthy dinner.

I know myself pretty well. I know I’m a Gemini and I can be loopy in an “I want what I want when I want it” sort of way, but reserve the right to change my mind at any moment.  

I know that I tote around this “I know what I want” persona, but am really an extremely indecisive person.  I know that the second I’m off work, I want my stomach filled, pronto.

I know that snacking on an apple will {just barely} tide me over while dinner is cooking. I know that when it gets cold and snowy in June (yup, we got snow Monday and Tuesday in Lake Tahoe), all I want is an endless mug of warm tea and endless bowl of soup.

I also know that if I set out to make soup without consulting someone else’s recipe, I will end up making the same dern soup every time.


I know that sometimes I need someone to tell me what soup to make. When the weather turned from warm to cold this week, I turned to the most obvious recipe index I could think of. Natalie Perry’s recipe index.

First, her recipe index is BOMB, and second, she lives in the same area where I work, so I immediately thought of her. She is amazing with fresh & creative recipes using nutritious ingredients and I just trust her to pieces. 

I knew I wanted chili on Monday, but I wanted someone to tell me what kind. It took about 5 seconds for Natalie’s recipe indexto tell me what kind of chili I wanted.  Vegetarian chili, baby, with sweet potato!

So I made some minor changes. I wanted a little bit of southwestern flare, so I added two stalks worth of corn kernels to the chili (okay, okay, you can add canned corn if you want to… ;). I changed up the seasoning just a tad and added quite a bit more vegetable stock (I was in the mood for a soupy chili). Check out Natalie’s recipeon Perry’s Plate, and see my take on the recipe below.

Ingredients for Southwest Vegetarian Chili:

  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, chopped into ½” pieces (peel on)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks corn on the cob, shucked, kernels removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans of diced tomatoes, un-drained
  • 1 14.5-ounce can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 14.5-ounce can black beans, drained
  • 32 ounces vegetable broth

How to Make Southwest Vegetarian Chili:

Shuck your corn and using a knife, carefully cut the kernels off the cobs. Set aside.

In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, heat olive oil to medium high and add the chopped sweet potato.  Sauté about 10 minutes before adding the onion.  Sauté an additional 8 minutes. Add just a splash of the vegetable stock while the sweet potato and onion are sautéing to give them a little steam.  Add the chopped bell pepper and sauté another 5 minutes, again adding a splash of vegetable stock to steam the veggies.

Add the diced tomatoes, drained beans, corn kernels and the remaining veggie stock. Stir. Add all of the seasonings (chili powder, oregano, salt, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cumin, red pepper, black pepper).  Stir to combine all ingredients. Bring the chili to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Allow the chili to simmer for 30 minutes before serving it in heaping bowls with your favorite toppings!

Also check out my Vegan Pumpkin Chili recipe!

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