My go-to healthy and easy vegetarian chili recipe. It’s so easy to make and has a rich, robust flavor thanks to a couple secret ingredients, peanut butter and cocoa powder. Vegan + gluten-free.
This weekend we had a couple of friends coming over to watch football so I made a big pot of vegetarian chili and some of my pumpkin cornbread muffins for the group to enjoy. This recipe has a base of onion and garlic, three different beans, corn, seasonings and two secret (but not so secret now) ingredients.
Chili recipes are known for having secret ingredients! Many folks swear by adding beer, honey, brown sugar, chocolate (I’m a big fan of this one), masa flour, cinnamon or lime juice (another one I’m a fan of). I recently read somewhere that peanut butter can also be a great addition to chili. As a peanut butter lover this was pure music to my ears. Obviously, I had to try it. I mean, peanut butter makes everything taste better, right?
I’m so glad I tried adding peanut butter to my vegetarian chili because as it turns out the peanut butter didn’t add a strong peanut flavor, but instead rich and robust flavor (that is often times lacking in vegetarian chili). It also added a bit of fat and helped to thicken the sauce a bit. Of course, I still added my normal secret ingredients, cocoa powder and lime. Cocoa powder enhances the flavor of chili, adds a deep tone and a bit of richness. And adding a splash of lime juice after cooking adds a hint of tang and makes the spices pop.
This chili is probably the best chili I’ve ever made so I’m pretty sure I’ll be adding peanut butter to all my chili recipes from now on. I can’t wait for you to try this little vegetarian chili trick as well. If you do try this chili, be sure to make a batch of my pumpkin cornbread muffins to go along with the chili. They’re delicious on their own with a spread of butter, but I love crumbling them into my bowl of chili.
If you try this easy vegetarian chili, be sure to leave a comment and star rating letting me know how it turns out. Your feedback is super helpful for me and other EBF readers who are planning to try the recipe.
In a Dutch oven or large pot, warm oil over medium heat. Add onion, pepper, garlic and grated carrot and sauté until onion becomes soft and translucent. Stir in chili powder, red pepper flakes, sea salt and black pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add all remaining ingredients except lime juice. Blend well. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, squeeze lime juice into the pot and stir. Serve immediately.
The chili can be served over brown rice or quinoa and topped with cheese or greek yogurt for a hearty variation.
PS: Even though I call this a vegetarian chili, it’s actually vegan. Don’t let the “meatless” qualities turn you away, even who aren’t vegetarian will love this chili — it’s got a great texture to it and it’s packed with flavor. Just don’t forget the secret ingredients!