Recipe: Black Bean and Kale Chili with Roasted Sweet Potato Spears
Pairing roasted sweet potatoes with this spicy veggie-packed chili enables the perfect balance of sweet to heat that makes your tastebuds tingle with delight.
I often find one of the best ways to combine three of my favorite foods (black beans, kale, and sweet potatoes) is through Mexican flavors. The reason I like using those flavors so much is because the spicy peppers and smokiness of cumin, which are common in many Mexican dishes, happen to taste even better when you factor in the cinnamon I always put on sweet potatoes or in sweet potato recipes. I also particularly enjoy using kale in anything that has tomatoes in it, as many South of the Border specialities do, too.
I thought of this black bean and kale chili with roasted sweet potato spears duo as I was brainstorming possible Cinco de Mayo food ideas. As soon as it popped into my head, I knew I had to try it.
I’m happy to say my experimentation pulled off, and the combo is in fact delicious.
Moreover, the recipe is super easy to make and the end result looks beautiful with all the vibrant colors involved. Leaving the tips of the sweet potato spears sticking out of the chili not only adds to the presentation’s aesthetic value, but also allows you to pick them up and eat them separately and savor the chili-dunked sweet potato’s fantastic flavor.
The key to making the recipe is starting roasting the sweet potatoes right before you start putting together the chili. You want them both to be ready at the same time. Alternatively, I recommend making the chili ahead of time (soups and stews taste better the second day anyways) and then you only have to worry about roasting the potato spears.
Whether you make this meal for Cinco de Mayo, or anytime you feel like having a fiesta, you cannot go wrong with this spicy chili and sweet potato combination.
1 large sweet potato, cut into lengthwise spears
Salt, pepper, cumin, and cinnamon to taste
Oil of choice
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1/2 cup canned black beans (drain if using broth or keep some liquid if using water)
1 cup chopped kale
1/4 cup diced bell peppers, add jalapeno for a spicier version
1 small shallot, diced (or 1/2 a cipollini onion)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup tomato puree
2 tablespoons fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. While oven is preheating, cut the sweet potato lengthwise into similarly shaped spears. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place sweet potatoes on top. Season with salt, pepper, cumin, and cinnamon, and drizzle oil over them (you can also coat them using an oil spray). Once the oven is hot, bake 30-35 minutes until the edges are toasted.
When the potatoes are in the oven, you can start the chili. (Yes, you can make it in less than 30 minutes).
In a medium-sized soup pot, bring broth or water to a boil. Add garlic, peppers, and shallot, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the shallot starts to become translucent. Then add kale and oregano and cook for a few more minutes until the kale cooks down into the other veggies. Turn down heat. Then add the beans, tomato puree, chili powder, and cumin, and bring to light boil. Let it bubble about 3-5 minutes or until the chili reaches the desired thickness. Simmer at least 10 minutes.
Once sweet potatoes are done, take them out of the oven and arrange them neatly about your bowl’s edges with the tips pointing up. Finally, pour chili in the middle of the bowl and enjoy!
Makes one big bowl.