Recipes, Photography, Musings

Colorful Vegetable Chili

This chili is as pleasing to the taste buds as it is to the eyes.  Sweet potatoes, black beans, tomatoes, corn, lime juice and cilantro give each spoonful vibrant color, flavor, and nutrition.  Serve it with some tortilla chips, sliced avocado, and shredded cheese, and you have a festive, healthy meal.

In a previous post, I mentioned a cookbook my husband somewhat recently bought, called Thrive Energy Cookbook, by Brendan Brazier.  This chili recipe I am sharing below is based on a recipe in that book, though I did change and substitute a few things.  The flavor of the this chili is absolutely rich and warm-tasting, with a subtle zing from the lime juice.  My son, who normally won’t go near a sweet potato, even likes it, and my husband loves it.  All the vegetables blend together beautifully.

colorful chili 1 It really is a good meal to have right now, in early March, when we are longing for color, but our gardens have not caught up to that longing yet.  And though our snow has all melted and it has warmed up some, it is still cold and damp enough outside to appreciate a nice warm bowl of chili.

chopped sweet potatoesSpeaking of gardens and color, I did see some crocus and daffodil shoots poking up just above the soil in our yard yesterday.  Spring is coming, though here in Michigan I’m sure we have some cold days ahead of us before spring really settles in.

Until then, there is the fresh wind, the brighter sun, the earthy smell of the wet ground as it prepares itself for new growth.  I saw some red-winged blackbirds the other day–one of the first signs that spring is coming.  Soon we’ll be looking for fresh greens and asparagus!

daffodil shootsFor now, it is the perfect time to tromp around in my favorite boots through mud and wet undergrowth, cleaning up the yard or hiking down to the lake. My friend and I came across these beautiful milkweed pods on a walk the other day.milkweed pods

If you are longing for spring, but still shivering in the evenings, this chili has just the right amount of warmth and bright color to cheer you up and nourish your body for challenges ahead.  I hope you all have a great weekend!  There is a Fiesta Friday going on at Angie’s blog, co-hosted this week by Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Aspara @ Eating Well Diary.  If you are looking for food inspiration or to find great blogs, it’s a great place! I’m looking forward to checking it out!cilantro and lime 3colorful chili with cilantro

Colorful Vegetable Chili

  • Servings: 5-7
  • Print


  • 3 cups of sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 cup of sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder (more if desired)
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin (more if desired)
  • 3 cups of tomatoes (fresh, or if canned, I like the San Marzano kind), quartered
  • 2 cups of corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cans (14 oz cans) of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of lime juice (about 2 to 3 limes’ worth)
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth (I like to add a cup of water and a teaspoon of the Better than Bouillon vegetable base)
  • 1 handful of cilantro leaves, stems removed
  • shredded Cheddar cheese for topping (optional)
  • sliced avocado for topping or garnish
  • tortilla chips


Wash and cube the sweet potatoes.  Place them in a large pot.  Cover the sweet potatoes with salted water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until just barely tender (about 6 minutes, depending on the size of the cubes).  Drain and rinse with cold water. (If desired, transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, and drain again.) Set aside.

In the same large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic, and cook until the onions are tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chili powder and cumin and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the sweet potatoes, tomatoes, corn, black beans, lime juice, and vegetable broth.  Simmer gently, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, at medium-low heat.  Add a little more water if the mixture is too thick.

Spoon the chili into bowls and top with cilantro and shredded Cheddar cheese (if desired). Serve with sliced avocado and tortilla chips. Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from the Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier




  1. Debbie Spivey

    This chili looks really good. My husband says sweet potatoes taste like “sweet dirt”. Wonder if I could sneak them in if he’d notice?!? Loving your photos!!

    • Jenny

      Thanks, Debbie! I think you could try to sneak in the sweet potatoes. They don’t really taste sweet potato-y with all the other ingredients mixed in. My son really liked the chili (once I convinced him to take a bite. :)), and he is not normally a sweet potato fan.

  2. nancyc

    This chili looks so good–love all the colors and healthy ingredients!

    • Jenny

      Thank you so much, Nancy! Happy Fiesta Friday!

  3. Nancy

    Love the addition of sweet potato! I never thought to add it to a chili… genius!

    • Jenny

      Thanks, Nancy! I was happy with how well the sweet potatoes went with the rest of the ingredients. Happy Fiesta Friday to you!

  4. apsara

    I’ll take a bowl of that hearty vegetarian chili, it looks super colorful and healthy! Thank you for bringing this to the FF party!

    • Jenny

      Thank you so much, and thank you for co-hosting FF this week! 🙂

  5. Jhuls

    What a great dish – I am loving all the veggies! I’d love to take a bowl of this right now! Yum! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Jenny

      Thank you, Jhuls! Thanks for co-hosting Fiesta Friday this week! 🙂

  6. Julie is Hostess At Heart

    I just love chili like this, and can eat it year around. The milk week photo is great!

    • Jenny

      Thanks, Julie! I love chili like this too–it tastes so good and feels like it is so good for us. Hope you had a great weekend!

  7. Hilda

    Beautiful picture of milkweed. I have been working in the garden these last two days, and it sounds as if we are in the very same climate zone. Certainly a good time for a hearty bean dish like this.

    • Jenny

      Thank you, Hilda! My daughter and I took a walk in the rain today, and I wish there was still some chili left! 🙂

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