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Sweet Potato & Barley Chili Recipe

Sweet Potato & Barley Chili is a delightful and hearty dish that combines the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes with the nutty goodness of barley. This vegetarian chili is packed with flavor, fiber, and wholesome ingredients.

It’s a perfect comfort food for chilly days, and its versatility allows you to customize it to your liking. Let’s dive into creating this savory and nutritious Sweet Potato & Barley Chili.


  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup of pearl barley, rinsed and drained
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can (15 oz) of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (14 oz) of diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, grated cheddar cheese, or sour cream (for garnish, optional)

Steps to Make

Step 1

  • In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the finely chopped onion and minced garlic, and sauté until they become fragrant and translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

Step 2

  • Add the diced sweet potatoes and rinsed pearl barley to the pot. Stir to combine with the sautéed onions and garlic.

Step 3

  • Add the drained and rinsed black beans, kidney beans, diced tomatoes (with their juices), chili powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper to the pot.

Step 4

  • Pour in the vegetable broth, ensuring that all the ingredients are well covered.

Step 5

  • Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 30-40 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender and the barley is cooked.

Step 6

  • Taste the Sweet Potato & Barley Chili and adjust the seasoning if needed by adding more salt, pepper, or spices to your preference.
  • Once the chili is hot and flavorful, it’s ready to serve.

Step 7

  • Ladle the chili into bowls.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro, grated cheddar cheese, or a dollop of sour cream if desired.


Sweet Potato & Barley Chili is a nourishing and satisfying dish that combines the earthy sweetness of sweet potatoes with the nuttiness of barley. This vegetarian chili is packed with flavor and fiber, making it an excellent choice for a comforting and nutritious meal. Customize it with your favorite toppings, and enjoy a bowl of warmth and goodness.


Can I use other types of beans in this recipe?

Absolutely! Feel free to use your favorite beans or a combination of different beans to add variety.

Can I make this chili in advance?

Yes, you can prepare Sweet Potato & Barley Chili in advance and reheat it when ready to serve.

Is this chili suitable for freezing?

Yes, this chili freezes well. Store it in airtight containers for up to 3 months.

Can I use quick-cooking barley instead of pearl barley?

Quick-cooking barley will work, but the cooking time will be shorter. Adjust the cooking time accordingly, and add the barley later in the process to prevent overcooking.

Can I make this chili spicier?

Adjust the amount of cayenne pepper or add diced jalapeños for extra heat.