Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Did you know chili traditionally contained no beans? It’s true! The name “chili con carne” is taken from Spanish, and means “peppers with meat.” Fortunately I don’t follow food rules, make beans the main part of my chili, and can’t even imagine a spicy hot bowl of chili sans beans. I also think you can toss just about anything into chili (leftover veggies, rice, beans, etc.), dash some chili powder on top and call it chili. I’m sure the folks at the Chili Festival would disagree…

This is what my chili creation looked like the other night:

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 2 small white onions, diced
  • 1 14-oz can spicy diced tomatoes
  • 3 small sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 package LightLife sausage, divided into small meat balls

I received a package of the LightLife sausage to review, and while I’ve had it before, I’ve never used it as I did in this chili. I decided to make mini-meat balls with the “sausage” and toss them into the chili. Good decision. The LightLife sausage is seasoned with just a little spice and I think it went perfectly with the rest of the ingredients. Truth be told, even when I ate meat I never had real sausage, so I don’t know how this compares to the real thing. But I find it tasty, in a processed, packaged, eat-it-occasionally way. It has only 60 calories per serving, 7g of protein, and zero fat which is great compared to it’s meat counterpart.

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1. Sautee the onions in olive oil for about 5 minutes until they soften and brown. Meanwhile, heat the diced sweet potatoes in the microwave for about 4 minutes to begin cooking them. This will reduce the amount of time they need to cook in the pot.

2. Add all other ingredients into the pot. Heat on medium until the big batch o’ chili is fully cooked (about 10 minutes). Note the ½ cup canned pumpkin I used…this was really just to get it out of my fridge because it had been in there for a few days. It’s not necessary, but I think it added a nice creamy component to the chili so if you have it on hand, add it (and maybe more) in.

The entire meal was made in less than 25 minutes. That alone makes it awesome.

I think it’s hard to mess up chili (unless you’re following the rules) and this batch came out perfectly. The diced tomatoes I used already had a bit of heat added, so I didn’t need to add any spice but you can adjust based on your taste preference. It was so good, I texted Funk while he was at the gym something along the lines of, “Hurry home…you’re going to flip out over this chili.”  And he did. It was a heavy one-pot meal, but in a satisfying, not overstuffed way. We polished it off in two dinners, wishing there was more.

Disclaimer: I was not paid to promote LightLife.

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