- 1 Red Onion, chopped
- 1 Sweet Onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 ribs Celery, chopped
- 1 Green Pepper, chopped
- A medley of mixed mushrooms (Leave them whole or in big chunks.)
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 large can (28 oz) Diced Tomatoes
- 1 Can (15oz) Black Beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 Can (15oz) Red Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 Can (15 ounces) Pinto Beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups Vegetable Broth
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Ground Pepper
- 3 TBL Chili Powder
- 1 ½ tsp Spoked Paprika
- 2 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 TBL Cilantro, chopped
- 1 tsp Sherry Vinegar or Red Wine Vinegar
All veggies are options, but here are a few more suggestions…
- 2 Carrots, chopped
- 2 cups Butternut Squash, cubed (I add this to make it meaty and hearty.)
- Any winter squash will do. Kabocha, acorn, and buttercup squashes work well. They add a hint of sweetness and extra starch that thickens the base.
- Root vegetables are nice. Think parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, celeriac, and sweet potatoes. But, make sure to cut large size chunks so they don’t dissolve into mush.
- 1/2 cup Frozen Corn
- Fennel grows grow soft and tender adding a hint licorice.
- Another sweet element is pineapple. This is nice if you also amp up the spice level.
- Chocolate. Yep! A dash of unsweetened cocoa powder or a couple ounces of bittersweet chocolate adds a richness to your chili.
- A dark stout or red wine. The alcohol cooks off, creating a rich, deep flavor that works well with chili with lots of heat and smoke.
Chose your vessel. I use an instant pot. But a large dutch oven, slow cooker, or tall pot get you to the same point.
- Sauté onions, ½ of your mushrooms, and garlic until soft and golden brown. (Use a vegetable broth and a non-stick pan to eliminate the need for oil.) It’s not the end of the world to use a little oil. So go ahead if that’s what you prefer.
- Add cumin, smoked paprika, oregano and chili powder to pan. Toast for about a one minute. Stir constantly.
- Empty in the diced tomatoes and juices.
- Add the beans, vegetable broth, the rest of your mushrooms, and bay leaf. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
- Cook – Slow Cooker: Low for 2 hours; Instant Pot: Low Pressure for 15 minutes, Stove Top: simmer for 30 minutes.
- Place 2 cups of cooked chili in blender and blend until smooth. Then pour back in with chili. (This step thickens your chili and and enhances flavor.)
- Add chopped cilantro.
- Add vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Serve with garnishes of your choice.
Upping the Spice Level
If you like your chili with a kick consider adding a hint of these ingredients…
- cayenne pepper
- jalapeno peper
- chili flakes
- 1 poblano chili, minced
- add hot sauce to your individual serving
Chili Topping Options
Most of the time I top with a little Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce and a few free onions. But there are lots of other toppings to enhance your chili.
Each topping adds to the calorie density of your meal, so take that into account when divvying up your portions.
- Chopped Avocado
- Green Onion
- Greek Yogurt (low fat)
- Sour Cream (low fat)
- Hot Sauce
- Tortilla Chips
Easy Chili Meals
Your Vegetarian Chili keeps in the refrigerator for about 4 days.
However, I recommend making a double batch and freezing it. Have it one night then freeze the rest. Portion into meal sized portions for a quick and easy meal anytime.
If planning allows, defrost in the fridge overnight. If not, no problem. Just takes a little longer to heat up.
The instant pot makes cooking and reheating a snap. I leave in freezer bag. Drop it in the instant pot with a trivet and some water. In about 15 minutes I have ping hot chili.
A vacuum sealer keeps your frozen foods fresher and longer. A worthwhile investment.