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Organic Sweet Potato Chili with Tomatillos

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili with Tomatillos is a delicious recipe highlighting the organic harvest here in New England. Abundant fresh tomatoes, tomatillos, chilies, onions, corn, and cilantro mingle with beans cooked with flavor enhancing kelp seaweed. Now that the temperatures are dropping in the evening,  I welcome a hot bowl of chili.

Using Maine Coast Sea Vegetables Kelp, this recipe is featured in this month’s Maine Seaweed Council Newsletter (with Credit). The MSC is working to deepen the education of what is happening with Maine Seaweeds!

Here is their mission statement:

“The Maine Seaweed Council strives to protect the ecosystems of Maine’s marine algae and adhere to sustainable cultivation and harvest practices, promote the use of Maine seaweeds, educate the public, regulators, and elected officials, and provide a collaborative forum for its members.”

Proud to be part of solution.

As a personal chef, author, cooking teacher and motivational speaker; I inspire folks to eat, cook and live a sustainable and luscious organic lifestyle. Good for you and the planet!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili with Tomatillos is a delicious, organic, vegan chili. Highlighting  locally sourced organic vegetables and beans cooked with mineral and vitamin rich kelp, which also enhances its flavor.Organic Gluten-Free Vegetarian Sweet potato chili

Photos by Tracey Eller

Serves 6 to 8

This sweet and spicy stew is a fun and unusual take on chili. And if you happen to have leftovers, it tastes even better a day or two later.

If you choose to top the stew with grated cheese, as usual I recommend a local variety—hopefully made with goat’s milk or milk from grass-fed cows.

Kelp may seem like an unusual ingredient here, but it has several benefits: it makes the beans more digestible, and it also contains flavor-enhancing compounds and loads of minerals and vitamins.



1 cup dried black beans, soaked overnight
1 tablespoon kelp flakes, or 1 (3-inch) piece of kelp
4 cups water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or 1 cinnamon stick
1 cayenne pepper, seeded and minced, or 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped red onions
3 cups peeled, grated sweet potatoes
4 cups quartered tomatillos
3 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 1/2 cups tightly packed chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
Grated Cheddar cheese (optional), for garnish


  1. Drain and rinse the beans, then put them in a large soup pot with the kelp, water, cinnamon, and cayenne. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sweet potatoes and sauté over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the yams soften and take on a brighter orange color. Add the sauté to the soup pot and continue to simmer for about 45 minutes, until the beans are soft.
  3. Stir in the tomatillos and tomatoes. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the tomatillos almost melt into the stew. Stir in the corn, cilantro, garlic, cumin, and salt. Taste and adjust the seasonings if desired. Serve topped with the cheese if you like.

Recipe Copyright © 2010 Leslie Cerier. All Rights Reserved to Leslie Cerier. Originally published in Gluten-Free Recipes for the Conscious Cook by Leslie Cerier (New Harbinger, Inc).


Leslie Cerier, The Organic Gourmet

Renowned Chef & Author
Gourmet Getaway Retreats

Vegetarian Cooking from the Heart


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