Sweet for Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato adds a new flavor to this three-bean chili.

You know that you’re a grown-up when you fall in love with foods you disliked as a child. I never liked sweet potatoes, but we were raised to eat what was on our plates without complaint. Now, I’ve challenged myself to try sweet potatoes in a variety of ways, including baked and topped with roasted peanuts and peanut butter (a la Dr. George Washington Carver), as sweet potato fries, and as a flavorful addition to soups and stews. Best of all, there are a multitude of health benefits in this beautiful tuber.

The sweet potato is an excellent source of vitamin A, which supports good vision, the immune system and bone growth. Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin B-6, magnesium and vitamin C, along with iron, potassium and fiber. They also are great for the complexion.

Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene. A high intake of beta-carotene-rich vegetables like sweet potatoes can significantly reduce the risks for certain types of cancer. Those that are a pretty, bright-orange color are richest in beta-carotene.

This recipe for Three-Bean Chili showcases the flavors of the sweet potato in a spicy and healthy new way.

Three-Bean Sweet Potato Chili

1-1/4 pound sweet potatoes, about 2 or 3 large potatoes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 chipotle chilies in adobo, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon salt

2 cans (15-ounce) diced tomatoes

1 can (15-ounce) pureed tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon brown sugar

2 cups frozen shelled edamame

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added pinto beans

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, optional

1/2 cup sour cream, optional

1. In microwave-safe glass baking dish, combine sweet potatoes and 2 tablespoons water. Cover with vented plastic wrap and microwave on high 12 minutes, or until tender.

2. Meanwhile, in 5-quart saucepot, heat oil on medium. Add onion, chipotles, garlic, cumin, chili powder, cloves and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add tomatoes, brown sugar and 2 cups water. Heat to simmering on high. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add sweet potatoes to the pot along with the edamame, pinto beans, black beans and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook 2 to 5 minutes, or until beans are hot.

5. To serve, garnish with Cheddar cheese and sour cream, if desired. Serves 6.

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