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Get Your Plate in Cancer-Fighting Shape with Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes

By PearlPoint Nutrition Services October 3, 2012Pearls of Wisdom Blog

Fall is the perfect time to enjoy a comforting homemade chili. The recipe below for Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes from Real Simple is not only delicious, it is full of cancer-fighting ingredients.

Here is a run-down of how many of the ingredients in this chili work to fight cancer:

Sweet potatoes get their rich orange color from carotenoids. Carotenoids, like beta-carotene, can act as antioxidants. Our bodies convert carotenoids to vitamin A, a nutrient vital for immune function and maintaining healthy cells. Research tells us it is probable that consuming sweet potatoes lowers one’s risk of developing mouth, pharynx, larynx, lung, and esophageal cancers.

Beans and other legumes contain dietary fiber and folate. Studies show diets high in fiber lower risk of colorectal cancer and diets high in folate probably lower the risk of pancreatic cancer. Beans and peas are also a good source of protein and contain a variety of phytochemicals that are currently being studied for their cancer-fighting properties.

The tomato is rich in a phytochemical called lycopene. Lycopene gives the tomato its rich red color. There is convincing evidence that foods containing lycopene probably protect against prostate cancer.

Foods belonging to the allium family of vegetables, like garlic, probably protect against stomach cancer. Additionally, evidence from the American Institute of Cancer Research shows that garlic probably decreases one’s chances of developing colorectal cancer.



1 medium red onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
kosher salt and black pepper
1 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 15.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1 15.5-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
1 medium sweet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1 2-inch pieces
sour cream, sliced scallions, sliced radishes, and tortilla chips, for serving


In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cocoa, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, and teaspoon black pepper. Add the tomatoes (and their liquid), beans, sweet potato, and 1 cup water.
Cover and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chili has thickened, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours (this will shorten total recipe time).
Serve the chili with the sour cream, scallions, radishes, and tortilla chips.
Serves 4

Blog Author: Katherine T. Fowler, MS, RDN, CEDRD, LDN
PearlPoint Cancer Support Staff

Author PearlPoint Cancer Support Staff

PearlPoint Nutrition Services is a program of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

More posts by PearlPoint Cancer Support Staff

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