Whenever asked about the mission behind my culinary work, my answer is simple: To inspire people to eat healthier food. Yet to be honest, the behind-the-scenes how of this mission is much more complex. And so, for the past 2 decades that I’ve been involved with superfoods, I’ve done the relentless research (and obsessive recipe testing!) so you don’t have to: utilizing all kinds of smart and healthy tricks to make the recipes I share the most optimized they can be, in every way.
The best tricks, I find, are often the simplest. They’re the small bits of know-how that can have a big impact on your health, let alone your cooking prowess. Sometimes it’s a substitution, like using cholesterol-free coconut oil as an ideal substitute for butter. Other times it’s a method, like how to create a shockingly delicious almond ricotta. And, on occasion, it’s nothing more than the alchemy of certain ingredients—a surprisingly beneficial combination. Today’s tip lands in this last concept, with two unlikely foods sharing center stage: beans and seaweed.
Beans are arguably one of the healthiest sources of protein we have, as showcased by the long-living cultures in the Blue Zones all around the world. But if beans are not regularly consumed, their high fiber content can cause some people to experience the kind of digestive issues that lead to, well, the stuff quirky songs are written about.
Enter our superfood hero: seaweed. Many seaweeds contain special enzymes that can help break down the difficult-to-digest carbohydrates in beans, thus rendering better nutrient absorption. As one of the most nutrient-dense superfoods on the planet, seaweeds like kombu and wakame also add a vast array of trace minerals and electrolytes to recipes, for broad-spectrum nourishment that’s often hard to come by outside of supplements. And, if all that wasn’t enough, seaweed also adds a gorgeous umami flavor to beans, while ensuring they become extra tender.
It’s for all these reasons that I love to use this special bean-seaweed combination when making chili. In fact, today’s delectable Chipotle Sweet Potato Chili is actually from my first cookbook, Superfood Kitchen, and has become the kind of runaway-popular recipe that people have written me rave reviews about for years! You’re certainly unlikely to find another chili recipe quite like it, but once you try it, you’ll be glad you don’t have to miss out any longer.
WATCH HOW WE MAKE OUR CHIPOTLE SWEET POTATO CHILI:
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CHIPOTLE SWEET POTATO CHILI PREP TIPS:
This chili may be a little different than others you’ve tried in the past; here’s how to make the healthiest bowlful you’ve ever had.
Chop evenly. Making good chili doesn’t mean you have to be a Cordon Bleu chef, but the more you aim to even out the size of your diced and chopped vegetables, the more consistently they’ll cook. If you’re unsure of the size, watch our cooking video for reference, and when in doubt, lean on the smaller side.
Use organic seaweed. Wakame offers a savory and slightly sweet umami flavor note that makes our chili really unique. You’ll want to be sure to choose this seaweed from a reputable brand however, as seaweed can easily absorb toxins if grown in polluted waters. Wakame makes a great addition to all kinds of other soups and stews too, and will last for YEARS in your cupboard as a nutrient-dense green vegetable that’s ready on demand! As an alternative, you can also use a large strip of kombu instead.
Take it slow and low. A great chili can’t be rushed. Cook with patience to allow all the flavors to meld together, and keep the heat nice and low to prevent burning.
Adjust seasonings at the end of cooking. The flavor of this chili will evolve dramatically through cooking, so give it a chance to “settle in” before adding too much of additional seasonings, like more salt and pepper, or hot sauce. (Side note: The chili is even better the next day!)
Don’t skimp on toppings. Our Avocado Sour Cream takes just minutes to prepare and ensures this excellent chili a position in the “seconds, please” camp. If you choose not to make it, try adding a dollop of non-dairy yogurt, or another one of your favorite chili additions.
MORE HEARTY ENTREE RECIPES:
Hearty Superfood Salads (Cooking Course)
Chipotle Sweet Potato Chili with Avocado Sour Cream
You’d never guess this savory chili contains healthy wakame in it since it almost melts away while cooking, leaving only its minerals and detoxifying benefits behind. Like most good chilis, this recipe loves a nice, slow cook to allow the flavors to meld, but is definitely worth the wait. Recipe reprinted with permission from Superfood Kitchen, by Julie Morris
Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 70 mins | Total Time: 80 mins Servings: 4 Author: Julie Morris
6 cups chopped tomatoes, divided 2 tablespoons coconut oil 1 medium yellow onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 stalks celery, diced 2 fresh Anaheim peppers, diced 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped 1 teaspoon chipotle powder 3 cups cooked black beans (or 2 15-ounce cans, drained) 2 tablespoons wakame flakes 3 cups vegetable broth Sea salt, to taste Avocado Sour Cream, for topping
1. Blend 4 cups of the tomatoes in a blender or food processor until a chunky puree has formed. Set aside.
2. In a large pot, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, celery, peppers, and sweet potato, plus the remaining 2 cups of chopped tomatoes and sauté for about 5 minutes longer to help break down the tomatoes. Add the prepared tomato puree, thyme, chipotle, cooked beans, wakame, and vegetable broth to the pot. Season with some salt, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.
3. Taste and add additional salt or other favorite seasonings if needed, then simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 15 minutes longer, adding a little water if necessary. When the chili is finished cooking, serve hot, with a dollop of Avocado Sour Cream.
Chili will keep for several days, refrigerated.