How to Make a Chili Stuffed Sweet Potato

pork sweetpotato

This is an article from Nerd Fitness Rebel Chef Noel Fernando

Imagine sitting around a camp fire on a clear desert night. Decked out in ponchos, boots, and 10 gallon hats, you and your posse settle down for a hot meal after a long day of ropin’ and ridin’ and roughhousin’ with outlaws. The Waco Kid lazily strums a guitar while you stir up a steaming cauldron of chili.

Life in the Wild West might be long gone… the closest you can get to this scene is a few nights of camping. But for now, let’s dress in cowboy hats and get down on some Texas-inspired chili.

If you’re looking for a flavorful meal with tons of veggies or a new way to use that pulled pork you learned to make last year, look no further.

A small disclaimer: This is a recipe intended to be a version of Texas style chili. Purists, look the other way. We know how passionate you are about your food. Personally, I try to stuff as many veggies into a meal as I can, and come up with interesting recipes that align with the dietary values we practice on this site. Cool? Cool.

Chili Stuffed Sweet Potato

Pulled_Pork_025_Noel

This recipe takes a little more prep work than the other recipes for pulled pork meals we’ve posted in the past. If you’re feeling up to it, get your chef’s hat on! This makes a big ‘ol pot of chile, and adds a decent amount of veggies to the meal. Plus, it’s great for freezing for emergency meals later. For those of you who like to prep meals for the week, this is a great option!

The hardest part of this recipe is gathering all the ingredients. After that, it’s all downhill: you cut things up however you want, throw them in a pot, and cook!

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 – 2 cups cooked pulled pork
  • 1 tbsp  (15ml) olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers – I used one red and one green here, but you can use whichever colors you prefer.
  • 1 jalapeno – you can use less or more depending on how spicy you like your chile
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 28 oz (828ml) can crushed tomatoes – look for a can that’s BPA free or tomatoes in a jar! And as always, read the ingredients to make sure your tomatoes don’t have any added sugar or other weird ingredients!
  • 1 tsp (5ml) cumin – find this in the spices aisle!
  • 2 tbsp (15ml) chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp (2.5ml) garlic powder
  • 1 tsp (5ml) oregano
  • 1 tsp (5ml) paprika – smoked paprika is awesome and will give your chili a more camp-firey feel.
  • 1 tsp (5ml) chipotle powder – (optional) again, for that camp-firey goodness
  • 1/2 tsp worchestershire sauce – (optional)
  • A few dashes salt
  • A dash pepper
  • 4 sweet potatoes

Optional toppings:

  • Diced avocado
  • Chopped bacon

Instructions

1. Wash and dry the bell peppers, jalapeno, and zucchinis.

2. Heat up a pot on low with 1 Tbsp of olive oil at the bottom.

3. Chop all of your veggies. As you’re cutting, you can add the chopped veggies to a bowl to make room for cutting more, this way you can add all the veggies to the pot at the same time. HOWEVAH! Don’t add the zucchini with the peppers and onion. Zucchini takes less time to cook and you don’t want it to be over cooked. We’ll add it in a little later.

You can cut peppers however you like. I like to do it like this:

  •  Chop off the top of the pepper.

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  •  Carefully move the knife around the perimeter of the pepper, removing the seeds and loosening the white core from inside.

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  • Cut it in half lengthwise.
  • Remove any extra seeds or core-bits.

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  • Slice the peppers length wise, then cut them again short-ways (into little squares).

Pulled_Pork_031

And for the zucchinis:

  • Chop off the top stem and the bottom of the zucchini
  • Cut in half length wise then in half again (kind of like you’re making thick zucchini fries).

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  • Then cut all the pieces short ways so you have small triangle-like shapes.

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If you need a reminder on how to dice an onion, check out the paleo shepherd’s pie recipe (scroll down a bit)!

Note* A little tip to help keep your kitchen clean is to clean as you go! Keep your cutting board from getting crowded by putting the extra bits you’re not going to use (like the bell pepper cores and seeds) in a bowl next to your cutting board. This makes it easier to dump in the trash (or compost) later.

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4. Add the peppers and onion to your heated oil in your pan. Mix them around so the veggies are coated with the oil. Add some salt and pepper. (Cook about 5 minutes.)

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5. Once the onions are somewhat translucent and the peppers have started to cook, add your zucchini and mix this in. Let it cook about 5 more minutes.

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6. Now add your spices and can of tomatoes and let this warm up (another 5 minutes).

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7. Add your pork to the mix. Stir it well and let it warm up. Cover your pot with a lid and let this mixture simmer on medium/low for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Now we can cook our sweet potato. I almost always do this in the microwave because it’s fast.

1. Poke a bunch of holes in your sweet potato with a steak knife or fork. Pay attention and be careful not to stab yourself. (I stab myself on accident doing this all the time. It’s not recommended.)

Pulled_Pork_045

2. Put your potato in the microwave. Mine has a potato button. Convenience! No potato button? Toss that sucker in the microwave for 4-8 minute (4 for smaller sweet potatoes, and 8 for larger). The potato should be soft and when done – a knife or fork should easily glide through. If you don’t like the microwave or you want to bake a bunch of sweet potatoes ahead of time, follow this recipe!

3. When the potato is done, leave it in the microwave for a few minutes. It’ll be super hot to the touch if you pull it out right away.

Put it all together!

1. Cut your cooked sweet potato almost all the way in half.

2. Spoon a good amount of chile into the potato.

3. Top with avocado and bacon as desired!

yee-haw!

JD Hancock

Now, this recipe makes a lot of food, so you might want to save some of it in containers in the freezer for emergency meals later on.

+10 EXP for meal prep!

If you want to change the recipe around, be my guest. Here are some other serving and recipe suggestions to mix it up:

  • Use a different meat. There’s no need to limit yourself to using pulled pork if you don’t have any or you don’t have a crock pot. You can use ground beef, buffalo, elk, turkey, etc. in this recipe.
  • If you don’t like some of the veggies included, eliminate them or use your own favorites.
  • You’ll notice I like to put things in sweet potatoes. I do this because it looks nice for pictures. Also, it’s fun and delicious. But remember, this is a serving suggestion. You can totally just put your chili in a bowl and enjoy it that way.

Do you have any other serving suggestions?

Is there a secret ingredient you use in your chili that I missed?

What are some of your favorite big-pot meals to prep?

Let us know in the comments!

-Noel

PS: We’ve been adding these recipes and a few dozen more to our Nerd Fitness Academy, which has recipes, meal plans, workout plans, and the ability to complete quests and missions and level up as you get healthier. Check it out!

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Photo: JD Hancock: Scouting Lines

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20 thoughts on “How to Make a Chili Stuffed Sweet Potato

  1. Some quemments:
    When microwaving sweet potatoes, I’ve seen the recommendation to wrap them in a damp paper towel. Is this beneficial and if so, why?
    I often use cans of whole peeled tomatoes instead of crushed. A quick zip in the blender provides a similar product that you have greater control over the consistency. Or, if you have a small immersion blender (stick blender / boat motor), you can do it directly in the can!
    Finally, do you have the optional Worcestershire sauce to add more umami to the dish? Does the pork not provide enough?

  2. Some quemments:
    When microwaving sweet potatoes, I’ve seen the recommendation to wrap them in a damp paper towel. Is this beneficial and if so, why?
    I often use cans of whole peeled tomatoes instead of crushed. A quick zip in the blender provides a similar product that you have greater control over the consistency. Or, if you have a small immersion blender (stick blender / boat motor), you can do it directly in the can!
    Finally, do you have the optional Worcestershire sauce to add more umami to the dish? Does the pork not provide enough?

  3. Justin,

    You don’t absolutely need to do this, but if you use a damp paper towel it helps steam cook the sweet potato.

    This is how I cook mine:

    1) Wash the potato with a fingernail brush. I eat the skins, so this gives me some peace of mind that I got all the grime out.
    2) Use a fork or knife to poke a ton of holes. Careful not to stab yourself, or lose the tip of your knife/fork in the potato.
    3) Dampen the potato and wrap it in a wet paper towel. Place it inside a paper bag, then put it in the microwave.
    4) Use the “potato” setting on the microwave. I estimate how many baking potatoes = my sweet potato, and set the microwave to that. This is usually 2-3 potatoes.
    5) When the microwave ends, I check the softness. If it’s soft, I take it out and let sit on a cuttingboard out of the microwave for a few minutes. If it’s still firm, I put it on for 1 more “potato” setting on the microwave.
    6) I cut it up into 0.5 cup portions, refrigerate what I’ll eat over the next few days. Freeze the rest.

    Hope that helps.

  4. Amazing recipe, this is one of my go to meals, never had it with pulled pork before though, always lean mince beef. Will definitely try it next time!

    Small correction though, it’s Worcestershire sauce, no H! As a resident of Worcester, England I see this typo a lot so you’re not alone!

  5. How about a variation – a chili stuffed pepper with sweet potatoes added to chili :- )
    Oh, and if you use a stick blender with a can – make sure you have a tight hold of the can LOL

  6. Question:

    I can’t eat bell peppers (& I’m iffy on the jalapeno – it’s a trial & error basis to see what makes me ill 🙁 ), but it seems like a biiiig part of this meal. Any recommendations on substitutions?

    Thanks!

  7. Quick question: do you need to make this using a crock pot, or would a regular pot would work too? Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Made this tonight for my family. It turned out really well. Even with a family of four – we had lots of left overs. I enjoyed making this because it made my family think I was an amazing chef?! -Heatwave

  9. Do you have trouble with every kind of pepper? Or spicy food in general? There are poblano peppers, habanero peppers, dried ancho chilis, etc. But if bell and jalapeno peppers make you sick then those probably might too.

    If spice isn’t an issue you could always use cayenne pepper powder or even sauces like Tabasco.

  10. I make a chilli without peppers, I use carrots, celery and zuccini as the base so its a little bit more like a Mexican flavoured bolognaise 🙂

  11. I really like to use raw shredded cabbage as a substitute rice for this sort of chilli cant wait to try it!

  12. Made this tonight. My husband and I loved it! The flavors are very well balanced and we can’t wait to eat it again.

  13. I’ve always wondered, if you cook a big batch on the weekend and want to eat it throughout the week – is it ok to freeze? I’m such a food-prep noob I don’t know the correct amount of time you can freeze these things for, refrigerate them for etc and if you do meal-preps, don’t you get sick of the meal after the second day??

  14. I cook and freeze meals regularly. I’ve found that meals involving noodles/pasta do not freeze well. I have a cookbook that says potatoes don’t freeze well, although I haven’t tried that yet. The author of that cookbook suggests leaving the potato out, freezing the rest, and just adding the potato in when you’re ready to eat it. I’m pretty sure most things can stay frozen for up to six months. I would definitely tire of eating the same meal every single day! I like having a store of a few different meals in my freezer for the variety. It’s amazing how good the food still tastes even after having been frozen for a while.

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