If you’re looking to put the most nutritious ingredients into one pot, season them to perfection and call it dinner- this is it. This chili is not for the faint at heart, but damn is it delicious!

I prepared this recipe for a live cooking demo for the Civic Garden Center http://civicgardencenter.org for their garden education series every third Wednesday of the month. The idea is to use what’s growing in the Victory gardens around the city. The first Wednesday features a master gardener providing gardening tips and the class I teach includes a recipe or two using what’s available at the time.

This month, the garden coordinator communicated to me that sweet potatoes, tomatillos, peppers, kale and cilantro were on hand. Sounded like a pot of chili and fresh salsa to me!

I decided to use chipotle chili pepper in place of standard chili powder and flavor was out of this world! Serano peppers added a serious kick, but could be left out if you’re not into the spicy bits. The tomatillo salsa with cilantro was a fresh addition to the hot chili. Fresh tomatoes could be used in place of canned, but you may need to add some liquid or broth to the chili. This recipe included black beans, but pinto or kidney would work well, too.


  • 1 tablespoon canola or corn oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 serano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. chipotle chili powder/pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1” chunks
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes- do not drain
  • 2 cups cleaned, chopped kale (any variety)


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, and saute the onion, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and garlic until tender.
  2. Add chili powder, cumin and salt to the vegetables and stir until coated.
  3. Add sweet potatoes, black beans, and diced tomatoes.
  4. Boil for 3 minutes, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes until the sweet potatoes are soft.
  5. Stir in kale and continue to heat for 5 minutes until kale is soft.
  6. Serve with your favorite salsa (try our fresh tomatillo salsa)!

Makes 6-8 servings.

Fresh tomatillo salsa


  • 10 medium (blank)s tomatillos, husks removed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Place tomatillos in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Simmer until tomatillos soften and begin to burst, about 10 minutes.
  2. Drain tomatillos and place in a food processor or blender with onion, garlic, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, salt and pepper. Blend to desired consistency.

Makes 2 cups salsa




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