Sweet & Spicy Seasonal Chili

Queens FEASTS is Queens Public Library’s FREE training program to provide knowledge, tools, and resources to people who want to start and run their own food businesses in Queens.

Several talented students have graduated from Queens FEASTS, and we’re very pleased to share their holiday recipes with you!

PS: Until this year, Queens FEASTS was known as Jamaica FEASTS. We also have graduates' recipes from last year, and we hope you will enjoy those too!

Sweet & Spicy Seasonal Chili
from Samantha “Chef Little Bit” Davis, Taste Buds Matter

“When I cook for myself, or for my customers, I often realize that it’s never a vegetable that we don’t like, but the way it was prepared,” says Samantha Davis, a private chef and caterer who specializes in vegetarian, vegan, kosher, gluten-free, and Rastafarian diets, as well as the food needs of older adults and children.

“This recipe’s flavor profile combines elements from many cultures, and it should be agreeable to anyone’s taste. (The peak season for sweet potatoes is late October through December!) Chili can be one of the best wholesome healthy meals, affordable and shareable. It’s universal, one meal that anyone can call their own. Please enjoy this recipe, and don’t be afraid to recreate it to your taste. My motto is: A recipe has no soul; as a chef, I must bring the soul to the recipe.”

Ingredients (serves 12)

  • 1 sweet potato, diced into cubes
  • 1 can kidney beans (15-16 oz., drained)
  • 1 can chickpeas (optional; adds more fiber and protein)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz.)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 plum tomatoes, small diced
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • Spices (to taste, and depending on your dietary needs): garlic power, cumin, chili power, oregano, basil, brown sugar


  • In a medium saucepan, combine the oil, sweet potato, cilantro, and jalapeño. Cook on medium heat for 7 minutes.
  • Add spices, and then add onions. Stir together. Let simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add all beans. Stir together. Cook on medium heat for 7 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir together, and season to taste.
  • Add water, and let simmer on low heat for 20 minutes, or until it reaches your desired thickness.
  • Adjust seasoning to your liking and serve with rice, quinoa, potato buns, or crackers.

Please prepare all recipes at your own discretion; Queens Public Library is not responsible for accidents, allergic reactions, or illnesses that occur because of preparation.

Posts in This Series

  1. Holiday Recipes from Queens FEASTS: Vegan Red Velvet
  2. Holiday Recipes from Queens FEASTS: Gul Gula (Guyanese Fried Donuts)