Black bean chili with sweet potato and chard

This hearty chili can provide tasty meals for days, and it freezes well, too.

Black bean chili with sweet potato and chard

For many of us, cooking at home is not always an easy task to accomplish. At least it certainly feels that way sometimes. With work, family, school, and dance class or soccer practice — you name it — the list adds up. Time, or the perceived lack thereof, is a common reason why people choose not to cook dinner at home.

“Batch” cooking, or cooking large volumes of a dish that you can freeze for later, is a great way to get the most out of your time in the kitchen. This can be a great weekend afternoon activity for the family. Cooking at home, mostly from scratch, is also a great way to get the most bang for your buck.

Using all organic ingredients from an overpriced supermarket, this black bean chili “batch” recipe came out to only $2.12 per generous serving using dried beans and $3.25 per serving using canned beans. Just think — finding mason jars of black bean chili in the freezer on a hectic night: priceless.

Servings: 8


  • 1 pound dried black beans or 4 15-ounce cans of low-sodium black beans
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large carrot, peeled
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 heaping tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 28-ounce can low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups water or low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Kosher salt


  1. If using dried beans, either soak overnight prior to cooking or do a “rapid soak” by bringing them to a rolling boil in water, turning off the heat, and letting them sit for an hour or two. To cook, drain soaking liquid, add new water to cover by 2 inches, bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Season the cooked, dried beans with 2 teaspoons of salt.
  2. Roughly chop the onion, carrot, celery, and sweet potato into half-inch chunks. Tear the chard leaves off the stems, chop the stems, and wash the leaves. Chop the washed leaves and mince the garlic while the vegetables cook.
  3. Heat a large soup pot over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the olive oil and, when hot, add the onion, carrot, celery, sweet potato, and chard stems. Cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and chard leaves; once the leaves are wilted, stir in the cumin, oregano, and chili powder. 
  4. Once you start to get a good waft of fragrant spices, add the tomatoes and cooked beans — if using dried beans add the cooking liquid or if using canned beans, add the canning liquid, too. Add the water or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. 
  5. Puree a few cups of the chili in a blender and add it back to the pot. If a slightly soupier consistency is desired (this is a thick, hearty chili), add another cup or so of water. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt as needed. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro.

Note: To prevent breakage, when using glass mason jars for freezing leftovers, fill the jars 80% to 90% full and freeze without the lid. Screw the lid on once frozen.

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 300
  • Total fat: 4 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 400 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 50 g
  • Dietary fiber: 17 g
  • Total sugars: 14 g
  • Protein: 16 g

Added sugars: 0 g, using water or a vegetable stock with no added sugars