Spicy Poblano and Sweet Potato Chili

I admit it: despite the fact that I cook for a living, I regularly stress out over what to cook for company.  I want to make something that everyone will love, but often don’t have the time to spend on a labor intensive recipe.  I want whatever I cook to be appropriate for the vegans at my table, but also for the meat-eaters.  Oh, and if I can cook something a full day in advance and have it taste even better the next day?  Gimme.

I created this recipe for Spicy Poblano and Sweet Potato Chili a while back for by CHLOE., and it remains one of my favorites because it’s just so darn versatile.  I’ve cooked it for a Super Bowl party, during a big blizzard, for a potluck, for casual company, and for a friend with a new baby.  On top of being vegan and omnivore friendly, it’s also gluten free and soy free, so there aren’t too many people who can’t enjoy this chili.  It’s perfectly spicy and has the unexpected addition of cocoa powder, which really adds great depth of flavor and richness that all of your guests will love.  It’s also a great freezer meal, so if you’re into batch cooking, you can make a big pot of this one Sunday afternoon, stick it in the freezer, and have something wonderful to defrost and enjoy during an especially busy week.  

Spicy Poblano and Sweet Potato Chili

Yield: Serves 6-8

Spicy Poblano and Sweet Potato Chili


  • 4 medium poblano peppers
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½” dice (approximately 2 ½ cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (28 oz.) can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • sliced avocado, sliced scallions, hot sauce for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking mat. Place peppers on baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, turning once, and then roast an additional 15 minutes, or until skins are blackened and bubbling. Carefully remove from oven and place poblanos in a bowl tightly covered with foil for 15-20 minutes. Once poblanos have cooled enough to handle, peel and seed them (rinsing away excess seeds if necessary). Coarsely chop and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until softened and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and cook an additional 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and chopped poblanos and cook 2 minutes more. Add black beans, pinto beans, corn, tomatoes, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cocoa powder, salt, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to low. Simmer, partially covered, for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sweet potatoes should be tender and liquid should be slightly reduced. Serve hot, with sliced avocado, sliced scallions and hot sauce, or your favorite toppings!


This chili is inherently spicy due to the poblano peppers – feel free to substitute bell peppers instead for a milder chili. This chili freezes well – let cool completely after cooking and transfer to airtight containers. Chili will keep for up to 2 months in the freezer.


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