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My Family's Vegetarian Chili

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) or 2 small cans (15 ounces each) diced tomatoes with their juices or peeled whole tomatoes
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) kidney or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, to taste
  • Favorite garnishes: grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese, chopped white onions, sour cream or crème fraiche, chopped cilantro, sliced avocado


  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir to combine and then cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, chili powder, smoked paprika, cinnamon, allspice, and oregano. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the drained black beans and kidney beans, vegetable broth and bay leaf. Stir to combine and let the mixture come to a simmer. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, for about 45 minutes. Remove the chili from heat.

  4. My favorite tip is to transfer about 2 cups of the chili to a blender, securely fasten the lid and blend until smooth (watch out for hot steam), and then pour the blended mixture back into the pot. Or, if you have an immersion blender, you can blend the chili briefly right in the pot. This helps give the dish more of a chili consistency.
  5. Mix in the vinegar, to taste. Add salt to taste, too, if you like. I sometimes will add about ¼ teaspoon more. Divide the mixture into individual bowls and serve with garnishes of your choice. We’ve always served our chili with spaghetti noodles but that’s up to you!

Recipe Notes

This chili will keep well in the refrigerator for about a week.