Vegetarian Chili: A Bowl of Comfort

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Nowadays weather become very unpredictable, one day I switch on the a/c as it is getting hot in the night and next two days switch on the heater as it become chillier. My backyard plants and trees also got fooled by this weather, my curry leaves plant started to grow new leaves and all of sudden this cold drench made it wilt again. Hope it will come back once the temperature warms up. But last evening with the cold weather, I made this vegetarian chili. It is really a bowl of comfort and turned out be delicious.

I have seen lot of chili recipes with canned beans, but I want to start everything from scratch. Including soaking the beans overnight and next morning to pressure cook them. For this recipe I used, black beans (which is grown in my backyard), chickpeas, and kidney beans.  Because of Indian roots, cooking beans is not new to me. I was a strict vegetarian while growing up but now I eat sea food and egg as a habit I developed due to my stay in Japan. During my childhood days, protein in our diet was mainly beans, milk, yogurt etc. On a daily basis our meals always have some carbohydrate and protein mix like rice and lentils/beans.  I used Emeril’s recipe  as a guideline to make this vegetarian chili.

I made few changes to the original recipe, we love corn, but don’t like to eat it in our rice or curry so skipped that. Used fresh garlic instead of garlic powder and added fresh ginger to get a zing and also used chili powder instead of paparika , used Thai green chili instead of Serrano pepper as that was the one in my hand. Also added a secret ingredient, “garam masala’’ now it is not a secret any more. This unique spice blend increase the flavor your dishes very well.

First pre cook beans, then make base with onion, bell pepper, celery, tomato and spices, then add the cooked beans and Zucchini let them cook once again in slow flame for 20-30 minutes to get everything infused well. This stage you can use slow cooker if you have it in hand. Give it try.

Enjoy this delicious chili with bread of your choice I made some chapatti/Indian flat bread to go with it. Indian friends, this is not rajama masala, even though it looks like it tastes slightly different as it has veggies and some extra spice blend added to it.

Here comes the recipe.

Vegetarian Chili: A Bowl of Comfort

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 6 Serving

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ cups chopped red onions
  • 1 cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 thai green chili and minced, depending upon taste
  • ½ medium zucchini, stem ends trimmed and cut into small dice
  • 1 cup chopped celery( about 3 sticks)
  • ½ tablespoons chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon of cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 inch fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • ⅓ cup of cooked black beans or canned beans rinsed and drained
  • ⅓ cup of cooked chickpea sor canned beans, rinsed and drained
  • ⅓ cup of cooked Kidney beans or canned beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1½ cup vegetable stock, or water
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Sour cream or strained plain yogurt, garnish
  • Diced avocado, garnish
  1. Soak beans over night in 2 cup of water and next morning pressure cook them until 4 whistle and set aside.
  2. In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, fry for 3 minutes then add green chili peppers, bell peppers and celery and fry for another 3 minutes. Then add ginger-garlic paste stir for about 2 minutes.
  3. Then add salt, spices and tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are soft. Add the zucchini, cooked beans, and vegetable stock, stir well, and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.
  6. To serve, place ¼ cup of brown rice in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle the chili into the bowls over the rice. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and spoonful of avocado and green onions and serve.
  7. I served them with Indian flat bread / Chapathi
This recipe is adapted from here

Copyright ©2014 Zesty South Indian Kitchen by Swathi( Ambujom Saraswathy) All Rights Reserved

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  1. says

    I know…the weather is so unpredictable … I too have been switching between a/c and heater every now and then…

    I am a big fan of chilli but never tried my hands on it till now… that bowl of chilli looks awesome… so comforting

  2. says

    I like your bowls Swati! :) I have been wanting to try vegetarian chili for a while..shall try your recipe! But celery is a BIG no-no to me! 😉 Gotta skip it and make the chilly.
    MahiArun recently posted…Vegetable OmeletMy Profile

  3. Nithu says

    Wonderful ! I was in search of veg/chicken version of chilli. This looks awesome will try soon and let u know. Thanks for sharing Swati

    • Swathi says

      Glad Nithu, I can help you . Yes this one is delicious. you can add some chicken pieces also.

    • Swathi says

      It is easy I have seeds of black beans, you can just dig some black beans into the soil and when it grow give support.