My Yummy Local Life

{July 19, 2010}   Veg*n Chili

One of the awesome parts of having a hubby who works with plants is that during field season, he often comes home with A LOT of whatever crop they were examining that day.  They came home with a 5 gallon bucket of blueberries one week; a paper grocery sack full of peaches another week, and last week…

…approximately 30 pounds of sweet potatoes…

So yes, I know it is the middle of summer and over the winter I was quite bored of sweet potatoes, but currently it is a game of figuring out which  summer veggies can be paired with the never-ending sweet potatoes.

I had some shelled purple spotted peas that I got from Bobby this week, and I wanted to make chili.  I figured with a little over a quart of these peas, there was no reason to add meat to the chili, so I set out for a vegetarian chili recipe.

The recipe I found was Mark Bittman’s “Espresso Black Bean Chili” which I used as a loose guide for the recipe that follows.  I cooked this in the crock pot for about 6 hours on high (which produced a chili veggie soup consistency) so I then allowed the crockpot to cook on low overnight and into the next afternoon (when I got home from work there were no more worries about it being thin). Bittman’s recipe was a stove top recipe, but quite frankly I didn’t have 2-to-god-knows-how-many hours to stand around the kitchen.  So here’s what I did:

Espresso-Chocolate Vegan Chili with Sweet Potatoes


Extra Virgin Olive Oil (to coat bottom of crock pot)

2 onions, chopped (from farmer’s Fred and Bobby)

2 Tbsp garlic, minced

3 cups tomatoes, fresh, chopped (from my friend Leah’s garden)

1 bell pepper, chopped (from Bobby at Cane Creek Farm)

1 Anaheim pepper, chopped (from Lyon Farms)

1 jalapeno, minced (from the Love Chapel Hill community garden)

1 quart spotted purple peas, shelled (thankfully by Bobby’s shelling machine and not by hand, which is a royal pain…)

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (from the NC research station)

1 cup brewed coffee (from Muddy Dog Roasting Company)

2 tablespoons of chili powder (homemade)

1/4 sucanat (organic, fair trade)

1 oz chocolate (unsweetened)

kudzu root, corn chips or in this case both (as needed for thickening agent)

salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Turn on crockpot to the setting you will use, if you can let it go all day, this is ideal.
  2. Coat the bottom of the pot with EVOO.
  3. Chop and add all of the vegetables.
  4. Add the sucanat, coffee and chocolate (if you don’t have unsweetened chocolate you can cut out the sucanat; obviously please don’t use chocolate if you are allergic to that).
  5. Add water until everything is just covered.
  6. Cover. Wait all day. Enjoy.
  7. If it is not thick enough add either some kudzu root or corn chips (or just do like we did and let it keep cooking overnight and into the next day). You can’t over cook this.

Personally I like to add a huge dollop of sour cream and some cheddar cheese to the top of my chili, which I am highly aware negates it’s vegan-ness, but in all honesty it was an accident to discover that this was indeed a vegan recipe: I didn’t actually notice until I went to type this up… But I am sure the vegans out that can use their fake-y cheeses and it will be just as yummy 😉

I am excited that this recipe would be good for nearly anyone to eat.  Save from the rare odd-ball allergy this recipe is a safe bet being dairy, soy and gluten-free! So try it, or tweak it and let me know what you think!  Keepin’ it local and yummy this summer, sweet potatoes and all…


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