Lentil Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Raise your hand if you’re a chili fan? One of my absolute favorite cozy Fall/Winter meals growing up was (and still is!) my mom's chili with fresh cornbread smothered in butter and honey. Yum. I wanted to make my own spin and came up with this little number. I took the idea of a loaded baked potato and chili and married the two here in a healthier version and it’s super easy to make, too. I love sweet potatoes. Do you? They are essentially a blank canvas for an endless variety of things, sweet and savory alike. Not to mention they’re packed with nutrients! The whole thing can be done in about an hour. While it does take a bit for the sweet potatoes to roast, you can get the chili made in the time they're cooking and be ready to dig in when they're ready! This chili could also easily be eaten all on it's own, without the sweet potato or you could even make cornbread to go with it.
So a few notes on this recipe. This is a fairly mild chili as far as spiciness goes cause I’m a weenie but you can add as much spice as you like! More chili flakes, some ground cayenne, even hot sauce! Feel free to adjust to your taste. While there is no meat in this recipe, I used chicken broth because I prefer the flavor over vegetable stock but you could easily substitute for vegetable stock if you want it to be completely vegetarian. And if you want to go vegan, just skip the sour cream! Or if you want to go the opposite direction, you can also totally add a pound of ground meat such as turkey or grass-fed beef. I also decided to go simple and just use lentils but you could definitely add a can of your favorite beans if you want to heft it up a bit. You do you. Soaking the lentils overnight isn’t crucial to the recipe, but I’d encourage it if you have the time because it allows all the nutrients in them to be more bio-available for you when you eat them. But you could also just give them a soak for about an hour before, too. And for toppings, I kept it pretty fresh and light so I decided to skip cheese but you could also certainly top these with a little shredded monterey or pepperjack. Lastly, this will yield a good amount of chili so you’ll definitely have leftovers, unless serving a large crowd. To scale up the recipe for a larger group of people, all you need to do is roast more sweet potatoes (or even regular potatoes) and you’re good to go since this makes extra chili. I froze about half of mine to pull out on a cold, gloomy day later this Fall or Winter for a nice and comforting (and super easy) and healthy meal. Hope you enjoy this recipe and please share if you make it! Don’t forget to use #allpurposeflourchild on Instagram and don’t forget to tag me so I can see your creations!
Lentil Chili-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
serves 4 stuffed sweet potatoes and makes about 2 quarts of chili
4 medium to large sweet potatoes, washed (preferably organic)
2 T avocado oil
1 large yellow or white onion, diced into 1/4 inch cubes
2 sweet bell peppers (I used red), diced into 1/4 inch cubes
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 T chili powder
1 T smoked paprika
pinch of red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1 T dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1/4 c tomato paste
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes (I used no salt added so I could control the salt)
1 1/2 c small green lentils, soaked overnight and rinsed
4 c chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2 dried bay leaves
Himalayan pink salt, to taste
1 avocado, sliced
handful cherry tomatoes, halved
4 scallions, thinly sliced (chives work too!)
handful fresh cilantro, leaves roughly torn
1 lime, sliced into wedges
roast the sweet potatoes
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. Pierce the sweet potatoes all over with a small paring knife or fork. Place the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes to an hour, until a paring knife inserted into the flesh pierces through easily without resistance. Meanwhile, let's make the chili.
make the chili
In a large, heavy bottomed pot (I used my trusty 5.5 quart cast iron cocotte) over medium heat, add the avocado oil and add in the onions and bell pepper. Toss them around in the oil to coat and let them sweat until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes or so. Add in the garlic and stir again and let cook a minute or two, until fragrant. Add in the chili powder, paprika, chili flakes, and oregano and allow to cook another minute, until the spices are fragrant and toasty. Add in the tomato paste and stir to incorporate it and let it coat all the vegetables and cook for about a minute or so until it just begins to caramelize on the bottom of the pot. Add in the canned tomatoes and chicken or vegetable broth and stir everything together. Season with salt to taste, giving it a taste and adjusting as necessary. Add in the lentils and bay leaves and stir to combine and allow to come to a boil, then reduce heat to medium/low and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until liquid has reduced and been absorbed by the lentils. The lentils should be tender and the chili should be thickened. Remove from heat.
Split the warm sweet potatoes in half and fluff the interiors with a fork, seasoning with a little salt if you’d like. Top each sweet potato with about 1/2 a cup of the chili (or as much as you’d like), then add on your desired toppings and enjoy! Any leftover chili freezes beautifully, too!