Back home, making a pot of my vegetarian chili sounded good. Filled with colorful vegetables, aromatic garlic and onions, tender beans, herbs and smoked spices you won’t miss the meat. One of my clients requests this recipe practically every time I cook for them.
We just returned from a long weekend at the Sundance Film Festival in the snowy winter playground of Park City, Utah. Started as a mining town in the 1880’s, it’s become a world-class winter sports destination. The historic Main Street still exudes a charming, old western vibe.
Between tickets to one of the hot films, discovering a gem of an olive oil shop (Mountain Olive Oil), sparkling snow and invigorating mountain air we had a great weekend. I’ll leave out the part where I flipped my snowmobile and ended up on crutches. So much for my X Games aspirations!
This chili comes together quickly once the vegetables are prepped. Warm spices of cumin, coriander, ancho chili pepper, smoked paprika, smoked black pepper and ground chipotle add a rich Southwestern flavor. The vegetables and beans make it healthy. Simmer over low heat to blend the flavors for just 30 minutes and get ready for a great bowl of chili.
If you like smoky flavors, click here to order smoked paprika and pepper. If you don’t have smoked spices you can make the chili with regular paprika and pepper. Ground ancho chile is the foundation for the spice blend called chili powder. Its rich in flavor but packs no heat. If you like your chili hot, increase the chipotle but do so sparingly. Chipotle powder is made from ground, smoked jalapeno chilies so it packs quite a punch.
For garnish, top the chili with sliced green onions, low fat grated cheese (if you eat dairy), a drizzle of good olive oil, a dollop of low fat sour cream or slices of cool, ripe avocado. Cornbread or corn muffins are the perfect side dish. There links at the bottom for recipe ideas. Bob’s Red Mill also makes a good packaged cornbread mix which is available at many stores.
Vegetarian chili will keep for 4 days in the refrigerator, always ready for a warming lunch or dinner. It also works perfectly as a party dip with tortillas chips.
Vegetarian Chili with Smoked Spices & Park City, UT
This colorful and hearty chili is all vegetables with lots of flavor from warm and smoky spices. With it’s chunky texture you won’t miss the meat. Serve alone or with freshly baked cornbread or corn muffins. It can be made ahead and keeps 4 days in the refrigerator. This chile also works as a dip and will serve a crowd with bowls of baked or low fat tortilla chips. It also works for my vegan friends without the cheese garnish. Last note – choose as much organic as you can get for your ingredients.
Serves 6 as a main meal or a crowd as a dip
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped small
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons ground Ancho chili pepper
- 1 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2-3 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon smoked black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle powder
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian blend herbs (or use basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary mix)
- 1 pound carrots (454 grams), peeled and diced small
- 1 large or 2 small zucchini, about 8 ounces (227 grams), quartered, seedy center cut out, and diced small
- 1 medium yellow squash, quartered, seedy center cut out, and diced small (or use yellow zucchini)
- 3-14 ounce (3-397 gram) cans petite diced tomatoes, drained and juice reserved
- 1-15 ounce (425 gram) can organic kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1-15 ounce (425 gram) can organic Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Optional garnishes – sliced green onion, low fat grated cheese, low fat sour cream, diced avocado, chopped parsley, or a drizzle of good olive oil
- In a 5-6 quart (5-6 liter) heavy pot heat olive oil over medium heat; add onion and cook until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook another minute, stirring so garlic does not burn. Add all spices and herbs. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until the spices release their oils and fragrance, stirring occasionally.
- Add carrots and drained tomato juices and cook until carrots are softened when pierced with a knife tip. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, drained tomatoes and beans. Add 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Cover the pot, turn the heat to low and simmer until all vegetables are soft and flavors have blended, about 30 minutes. Remove the lid and check the chili. If you want it thicker simmer for a few more minutes with the lid off. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper to your taste. Garnish as desired and serve hot.
Note – This chile will keep in the refrigerator for 4 days. Cool completely before refrigerating. To facilitate cooling, pour into a large, wide stainless steel bowl or large flat casserole dish and stir to help release the heat. You can also place a bowl in an ice bath. The more surface area, the faster (and safer) it will cool.
Cornbread recipe by King Arthur Flour
Corniest Corn Muffins by Dorie Greenspan
Corn Bread Recipe by Kitchen Conundrum
Honey Sweet Corn Bread by Mommie Cooks
Green Chile or Southern Cornbread by Simply Recipes
Gluten-free Cornbread Muffins by Bob’s Red Mill
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