Saturday, January 23, 2010

Basic Vegetarian Chili Recipe

I made Vegetarian Chili the other night that turned out great. I don't use a recipe, but I'm guessing some folks looking at this blog might not know how to make killer chili, so here. This is super basic, and can be souped up by adding other veggies (corn is good or hominy or whatever you like), or veggie crumbles. Meat version is pretty much the same, I guess, but you'd brown the meat at the beginning, while you're sauteing the onions.

The key to making good chili, or any food really, is to taste it as much as possible as you're going along. It's a great habit to get into. Learn to cook to your tastes. Also, keep in mind, this recipe is just intended as a frame-work. If you want a milder chili, change the peppers. If you hate kidney beans, try some other kind of bean. Try pouring it over rice, pasta, baked potatoes, french fries or some other starch. If you're feeling fancy, throw some raw onions, shredded cheese, cilantro, and/or sour cream on top.

Honestly, Chili is pretty hard to screw-up so give it a shot.

2 TB oil
2 small or 1 large onion.
4-6 (or more if you're hardcore) cloves of garlic
3 habenero peppers
3 serano or jalepeno or some other hot peppers
1 bell pepper
1 bottle/can of beer (could use water or veg stock)
1 6oz can of tomato paste
1 16oz can of diced tomatoes
1 28oz can of tomato puree
3 cans of beans, drained (i used black, red, and dark kidney)
A few TB of Chili powder to taste
1 tsp of cumin

The number of peppers can be increased or decreased to adjust the heat...this was pretty hot, but not brutal. You can also remove seeds (i did for the habenero but not the others) to reduce the heat a little.

Dice the onion, peppers, garlic.
Heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven.
Sautee the onions until they start to go translucent.
Throw in all the peppers and garlic and a little salt.
Once the veggies start to give off some liquid, throw in the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes.
Add the can of beer, diced tomatoes, and tomato puree
Dump in enough chili powder and cumin to make it brownish/red. Start tasting it here. Make sure it's starting to taste like chili. Be careful when adding salt, remembering that the salt taste with intensify as the chili simmers and flavors concentrate.
Dump in the beans and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer. Taste again.
Cover the pot partially, and simmer for as long as you can stand to wait.
Keep tasting and stirring occasionally.
If you think your chili is too thick, you can add some water and/or fully cover with the lid. If it is too thin, simmer with the lid off the pan.
Taste and adjust the spices before serving.


  1. I'm totally going to make this and I'm not even vegetarian...sounds awesome!

  2. Making it meaty wouldn't be too hard. Just get some ground or cubed meat and brown it up with the onions....but yeah, Vegetarian Chili works for most folks just fine.

  3. As promised I made this on Sunday for the Steelers game and everybody loved it! I doubled the recipe and used veggie crumbles and easily fed a hungry pack of 12 people with room for leftovers. Well done on this one!

  4. That's awesome! I actually made it Saturday...or at least some version of it, since I do my chili on the fly.