Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chilli

Veggie chilli has to be one of my all time favourite camping meals and I’m constantly inventing new variations. This sweet potato and black bean chilli is inspired by my friend Abby who cooked this up after a very cold day spent cross country skiing in Wisconsin. There is something so enormously satisfying about a big bowl of chilli after an energetic day out, especially when the weather is cold.
You can cook this chilli on a campfire in a dutch oven or make it at home in your kitchen then dehydrate. I almost always have a couple portions of dehydrated vegetarian chilli around for those impromptu wild camping trips. Guaranteed deliciousness on the trail.
This sweet potato and black bean chilli is vegan, though I do like to garnish with a bit of cheese or sour cream (and yes I have been known to haul these items in to a wild camp, along with avocado and lime). If you’re the kind of person who needs meat at the end of a big day out, you’re welcome to add some sautéed beef mince (go for high quality beef, as lean as you can get it – dehydrated meals work best when low in fat… that’s why you add the cheese and sour cream at base camp!).

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chilli

For the chilli

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion (chopped)
  • 1 red pepper (chopped)
  • 1 green pepper (chopped)
  • 1 carrot (chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 to 2 large sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into cubes)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tins diced tomatoes
  • 3 tins black beans (drained)
  • 1 jalapeno chili pepper (seeded and chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp brown sugar (or more to taste)

Garnishes (These are optional but do make things nicer…)

  • Cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado
  • Raw diced onion
  • Pickled jalapeno

At home

  1. Warm the oil in a large pan over medium heat (this can be done on a stovetop or in a dutch oven set over your hot embers of a campfire) and add the onion, red pepper, green pepper, carrots, garlic, and salt. Saute until soft, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the sweet potato and lime zest, and cook 10 to 15 minutes more, continuing to stir occasionally.
  3. Add the jalapeno, cumin, chill powder, cinnamon, cocoa and oregano, stir and cook for a minute or two.
  4. Add the tomatoes, black beans, lime juice and sugar. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20-40 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are very soft.

For dehydrated Veggie chilli

  1. Let the chilli cool thoroughly.
  2. Spread the chilli on dehydrator trays covered with non-stick sheets or parchment paper.
  3. Dehydrate at 63C/145F for 8-10 hours, until totally dry (to speed things up a bit, you can check the chilli after a few hours, peel the partially dried chilli off these sheet, and finish drying on the mesh dehydrator mats).
  4. Once totally dry, pack the chilli into zip lock bags or use a vacuum sealer which will allow for a longer shelf life.

At Camp

  1. Put the veggie chilli in a pot and pour water over to cover.
  2. Place the pot on your stove and heat until boiling. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and cover. Let sit for another 5-10 minutes to rehydrate completely.
  4. Serve with those tasty garnishes that you’ll be so happy you carried with you!

Sweet potato black bean campfire chilli