Sweet potatoes are starchy vegetables that you normally would not think of as a nutritional powerhouse let alone the centerpiece of chili. But they are incredibly flavorful and rich (769% of your recommended daily allowance of of Vitamin A and 65% of of vitamin C in just one cup of cooked sweet potato). They contain antioxidants known as carotenoids that are essential for our eyes, skin, and general health. They add a sweetness that compliments the cumin, smoked paprika and chili pepper to round out this dish.
Sweet potatoes and Quorn crumbles stand in for beans in this chili dish, which is made like “Cincinnati chili” in that it uses pasta instead of rice.
My husband Nick gave me a high compliment when I served this. “I don’t even know I am eating vegetarian with this dish.” ……. glow!!! ……
Beanless Chili with Sweet Potatoes
6 ounces of shaped pasta
1 bag of meatless crumbles (we like the Quorn variety)
Olive or vegetable oil
1/2 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1-2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 10 ounce can diced tomatoes, fire roasted and organic, or use several juicy fresh tomatoes, chopped
6 ounces of tomato juice or sauce
2 ripe avocados, diced
1-2 fresh limes, quartered
kosher salt to taste
Optional: Sour cream (preferably vegan)
Mexican cheese blend (vegan if you can find it)
Hot sauce of your choosing
Prepare pasta according to package directions in a large pot of water, drain, toss with one tablespoon of oil and set aside.
Heat skillet with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil until just slightly smoking. Add chopped onion and garlic, swirl around for 30 seconds until redolent. Add Quorn crumbles, stirring gently to break up clumps, and fry until they are hot and starting to brown. Remove to a bowl. Scrape skillet of any bits that accumulated and add to the bowl.
Now for the sweet potatoes… Add olive oil, heat pan to near smoking, gently drop in sweet potatoes, swirl them around in the oil for a moment to prevent sticking, add a quarter cup of water, put a lid on the pot to steam the potatoes for about 5 minutes, lift lid and allow water to evaporate, then carefully saute the potatoes until tender. Remove from pan and add to the Quorn bowl.
Put another two tablespoons of olive oil into the pan. Heat for about 30 seconds on high then add hot pepper flakes. Swirl the pan lightly — when you can smell the hot pepper aroma, add the chopped bell pepper and saute until crisp-tender. Add the tomatoes, tomato juice, paprika, cumin and some salt and pepper and allow mixture to simmer for about 15 minutes until liquid reduces slightly. Taste for seasonings and add more if needed.
Slice avocados in half, remove pits, slice across flesh with a knife, cutting first across then down into the fruit to create cubes on the inside of the skin. Squeeze lime juice on top and sprinkle with salt.
To assemble each bowl, take a serving of pasta, top with Quorn crumbles, top that with a generous serving of sweet potatoes, then top with a couple scoops of the tomato mixture. Spoon avocado out of each half skin onto the top. Garnish with sour cream, cheese, and cilantro. Let everyone to put on their own hot sauce.