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Mar 16, 2013 01:11 AM

Best Vegetarian Chili Recipes?

I am seeking your best recipes for chili. I am not fond of the butternut squash or other sweet recipes. I will be trying out J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's The Best Vegetarian Bean Chili -

It's Spring Break and I am celebrating by getting my first ever root canal (the cost of which is more than an entire semester of community college, including books!). I scheduled it so I won't have to take any tests while I am not feeling my best.

Anyway... I'll be making a pot of beans tomorrow and thought I'd solicit for chili recipes.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Hi Mary, this is how I make vegan chili and I can't tell the difference of when I used to make it with meat (I have been a vegetarian/vegan for a couple of years now - before that ate very little meat, but I used to make chili with ground sirloin). I use all organic ingredients, also GMO free.

    1) Many cloves of garlic (I use a lot of garlic, usually at least 8-10 cloves)

    2) Large onion

    3) 8-12 ounces of fresh, organic mushrooms (I use white button type mushrooms - I use this as a meat substitute)

    4) 1-2 cups or so of olive oil (I never measure, it may be even more olive oil, I know this seems like a lot, but this is what I use)

    5) Seasoning salt. I use Morton Nature's Seasons Seasoning Blend. It is a blend of salt, pepper, sugar, spices, natural onion, natural garlic, parsley, celery seeds. It has a good flavor. It is the only non-GMO product I use.

    Heat the olive oil in a large pot (I use an 8 gallon pot). I process the garlic and onion in my food processor. I then process the mushrooms in my food processor. Add the garlic, onion and mushrooms to the hot oil and saute at medium to medium-high heat. Add a healthy dose of the Morton Seasoning Blend. I saute until well done as I find this enhances the flavor of the final product. I saute for at least 20 minutes.

    6) 3 large organic green peppers (or sometimes I use 2 green and 1 red sweet organic peppers)

    7) Lots of celery, I use at least 3 heads of organic celery hearts or regular (non-celery heart) organic celery. So it is about 20-25 pieces/stalks of celery altogether. It is a pain washing all pieces well, and this is my least favorite part. I find the more celery, the better.

    I process the green/red pepper and celery in my food processor, and then add to the onion/garlic/mushroom mixture and then saute all of this together for another 20 minutes or so, until a lot of the moisture is gone. I also add more Morton Seasoning Blend along the way during this step. I find sauteeing for a while during this step greatly enhances the flavor of the final product.

    8) 2.5 28 oz cans of organic whole peeled tomatoes.

    I process these in my food processor and add to the sauteed mixture - you are almost done.

    9) 2 cans of organic dark red kidney beans.

    Add the kidney beans to the mix.

    10) Chili powder. I usually add the whole bottle for a good flavor. I think most chili powder bottles are about 2.5 ounces. Chili powder is a good source of antioxidants. I'm sure you know that using a lot of herbs and spices in your cooking is very healthy, adds antioxidants and can have a lot of disease fighting properties. I find the more, the better.

    Simmer all of the above to taste, at least an hour. I usually simmer for a couple of hours and then chill it. I think that it has the best flavor that way. I then reheat a bowl at a time, rather than reheating the whole pot. Again I find keeping the main pot chilled and reheating a bowl or so at a time gives the best flavor.

    Also, sometimes I use a couple of jalapeno or other type of chili peppers, process these at the same time you do the other peppers (green/red).

    I don't like other vegetarian chili recipes that find it necessary to add corn or other non-traditional things in chili just because it is vegetarian chili. The kind I make looks and tastes exactly like traditional chili.


      This is my fav vegetarian chili. I've made it many times. I usually use less green peppers than the recipe calls for, maybe 1/2-3/4 cup.

      1. not an exact answer to your question, but:
        in general i find that the best recipes contain both pinto beans and black beans.

        1. Here is a thread on the Home Cooking board with some great suggestions:

          1. The best black bean chili. I use whatever dried chilies I have on hand and the Muir Glen fire roasted canned tomatoes. Using the pressure cooker, my black beans take about 15 minutes on low pressure. Also, it is worth cooking the onion/spice/tomato mix separately to get a more complex flavor.
            Also just tried the latest vegetarian chili from Cook's Illustrated. It is good, but needs a little something and I haven't figured out what, yet.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Jaimie

              I prefer black beans because of the size and texture. Or lentils.

              I watched a cooking show long ago (food network show where the hosts go to people's homes and learn to cook their specialty meal, rather liked it, cheery black female and white male with glasses were host) and the couples secret to their chili was chocolate.

              Granted, it was a meat chili. Anyway so I add some chocolate. I believe it's a bit of inspiration from mole.

              1. re: youareabunny

                Thanks for the suggestion. I'll give it a try.