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Vegetarian Chili

Last updated on October 13, 2014

So the office is having a chili cook-off. When I started looking around for recipes I had no idea that it had originated in Texas, according to the authors of the New Basics Cookbook. Of course, I suspect this may have more of a regional story to it like Wor Su Gai and Chicken & Waffles. And of course there’s always Cincinnati chili.

With a desire to make some small lifestyle changes, and a little inspiration from a vegan coworker, I decided to make a vegetarian chili with a Texas twist… lots of chili peppers. I wanted Hatch from Central Market on Lovers Lane but, alas, procrastination and a demanding week derailed those plans.

I doubt it will take a prize but it was a fun and healthy project for Sunday.


Following is an adapted version of The New Basics Cookbook “Vegetable Chili.”


  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 zucchini, cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 2 onions, cut into 1/2″ dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 red bell peppers, cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 1 lbs. Mixed peppers (poblano, anaheim and jalapeño)
  • 1 can (35 oz) Itl. plum tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 1.5 lb. Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tbl. chili powder
  • 1 tbl. ground cumin
  • 1 tbl. dried basil
  • 1 tbl. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 cup canned dark red kidney beans
  • 1 cup canned chick peas
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • For the non-vegans:
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack
  • 4 scallions


  1. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini and sauté until just tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the zucchini using slotted spoon to a large flameproof casserole or Dutch oven.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, and bell peppers into the pan with the remaining zucchini oil. Sauté until just wilted, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the casserole, along with the oil remaining in the skillet.
  3. Using 1/3 of the Roma tomatoes and a few peppers, puree then pour into the Dutch oven mix. Gives it a nice textural boost and pop of flavor.
  4. Place the casserole over low heat. Add the canned tomatoes and their juice, the fresh tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, basil, oregano, pepper, salt, fennel seeds, and parsley. Cook, uncovered, stirring often, for 30 minutes.
  5. Sautee the mixed peppers in the remaining 1/4 cup oil for 5 minutes until just al dente then pour the pan contents into the Dutch oven mix.
  6. Stir in the kidney beans, chick peas, dill and lemon juice; cook for another 15 minutes. Stir well, and adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve with bowls of sour cream, grated cheese and sliced scallions alongside.
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