Recipe and Photography by Ellie Yamanaka

Chili is a staple Whole30 meal. It’s simple enough to cook up in a single pot, easy to mix up based on the vegetables you have handy, and as comforting as it is nutritious. (Not to mention, you can make a big batch and stash leftovers for future meals.) It’s also typically a pretty meat-centric meal with most recipes putting some form of animal protein front and center—but that doesn’t have to be the case.

If you’re doing the Plant-Based Whole30, this completely meat-free chili dish promises to deliver all of the cozy flavor and hearty nutrition your heart desires, while serving up the protein you need to feel satiated and fueled. Packaged up in soft, colorful baked sweet potatoes, it’s a complete meal you’ll turn to again and again.

While you roast your potatoes, you’ll whip up the plant-based chili, which is loaded with flavor thanks to garlic, jalapeño, nutritional yeast, lime juice, coconut aminos, and cilantro, as well as spices like chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin. Every spoonful offers the perfect balance of kick and umami, zip and zing. One part punchy, one-part comforting—just what you expect from a good chili.

Black beans may play the lead when it comes to plant-based protein here, but the chopped walnuts are the unexpected star of the show, adding chewy texture and healthy fats that really round out the chili. Really, meat who? Trust us, after trying this recipe, you’ll be adding chopped walnuts to any and every plant-based meal you can. (Hint: They’re fabulous in taco or burrito bowls—or anything that typically involves ground meat.)

And, just in case you’re not sure whether serving your chili in a baked sweet potato is worth it, know that the combo of savory and sweet flavor you’ll get in every bite as you dig in takes the cozy vibes through the roof. Of course, though, you can always swap in a regular baked potato (so much smooth, starchy goodness!), if that’s what you have around.

The chili itself is also super customizable, so feel free to use kidney, pinto, or another bean variety in place of the black beans, whatever color bell peppers you like, and any vegetables you have in the fridge or freezer that you need to use up.

Last but not least, garnish as you please! Sliced avocado, scallions, and jalapeño all add bursts of fresh flavor, but you could also top things off with extra cilantro, lime juice, chopped walnuts, or nutritional yeast. Pick your adventure!

Photo Credit: Ellie Yamanaka
Whole30 Plant Based Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Plant-Based Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Served up in soft baked sweet potatoes, this chili is chock-full of savory flavor and plant-based protein, and makes for an easy, cozy meal you’ll spoon up again and again.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course dinner, lunch
Servings 3 people

Ingredients
  

  • 3 small sweet potatoes about 5 oz each
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 stalk celery diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 jalapeño diced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 14 oz crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1/4 tsp salt or more to taste

Optional Toppings

  • sliced avocado, scallions, and/or jalapeño

Instructions
 

  • PREHEAT the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with foil.
  • SCRUB the sweet potatoes clean and pat dry. Prick with a fork in several places, place on a baking sheet, and bake for 45 to 60 minutes until soft.
  • MAKE the chili while the potatoes bake. Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat and add onion, garlic, and celery. Cook until the onions are translucent
  • ADD the bell peppers and jalapeño and cook for one minute. Then add the walnuts, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and nutritional yeast. Stir constantly for 30 seconds.
  • STIR in the tomatoes, tomato paste, and broth. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer for 20 minutes.
  • ADD the black beans and simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • TURN OFF the heat and stir in lime juice, coconut aminos, cilantro, and salt.
  • CUT baked sweet potatoes in half and stuff them with the chili. Garnish with sliced avocado, scallions, and/or jalapeño as desired and serve the remaining chili on the side.
  • ENJOY!
Keyword Plant-based
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Ellie Yamanaka

Recipe Developer and Food Photographer

Ellie Yamanaka is a food photographer and recipe developer who loves making simple, feel-good plant-based recipes that don’t compromise on taste or nutrition. She’s been making messes in the kitchen since she was 12, and after finishing university 10 years later, she decided to trade in her nutrition degree for a camera and a kitchen. Through her food blog Ellie Likes Cooking, she hopes to inspire others to eat more plants and get creative in the kitchen.

Published by Liz Parrent

Liz Parrent is Whole30's Senior Manager, for Whole30 Recipes content.She comes to Whole30 with over a decade of CPG and content marketing experience in the health and wellness space. Having been a part of Primal Kitchen's founding and pre-acquisition team, Liz holds a deep passion for the Whole30 community and the transformative power of a whole foods-focused lifestyle.