Vegetarian Chipotle Chili

by Lu
Vegetarian Chipotle Chili

Super Nummy is back! After some technical snafoos last week, here we are again with a smoky chipotle chili full of fresh veggies. No cans, all fresh, and just in time for the apocalyptic awesome blizzard tonight.

Sweet and spicy butternut squash melding together with creamy slow-cooked beans into a rich and super healthy wintertime chili…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, and all that.

Vegetarian Chipotle Chili
Last week was the 1 year anniversary of this little space, and while every other blogger does a really impressive “happy birthday blog!” post on such an occasion, I lost mine.

This is what happened: despite being a tech-tarded, procrastinating noob, I tried to migrate this site on my own. The result: my blog reverted to the “Hello World” under-construction page, and my WordPress panel went BLANK. I nearly cried.

In that panicky dark space, I remembered 2 things Chompy used to tell me: 1) You are a bulldog and 2) One way to learn is by breaking things.

So I buckled down, and around 2am on a work night, I got my bloggins back 😀


Vegetarian Chipotle Chili
Now on to the chili – a few tips on amping up the flavor in a vegetarian version:

Did you know that fried garlic mimics the flavor of meat? Yep! That’s veggie secret #1.

Using any kind of smoked spice, be it chipotle, paprika, or even salt, also mimics that grilled meaty flavor.

Third, use dried, unsoaked beans for best flavor and texture.

Finally, give it a good dose of sweet sweet heat. No offense, but if you don’t like spicy, you should probably just make soup.

Vegetarian Chipotle Chili
Last night my bestie Adam told me his mom mentioned I haven’t blogged recently, and that she seemed disappointed, as though she’d been checking it every day maybe. I’m sure that’s an exaggeration, but it still warms my heart 😀 Thanks Amy!

Vegetarian Chipotle Chili

Vegetarian Chipotle Chili

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Vegetarian Chipotle Chili


5 cups water
1 and 3/4 cups dry red kidney beans
3 tablespoons cooking oil
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 cup diced sweet onions (roughly 1/2 a large onion)
1 and 1/2 cups peeled and diced carrots (roughly 5)
2 and 1/2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
1 cup diced celery (3 stalks)
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1 cup diced green bell peppers
1 cup diced red bell peppers
4 vine-ripe tomatoes
5 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
4 teaspoons ancho chili powder (or regular chili powder for more heat)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cacao powder
2 teaspoons smoked salt (or regular salt)


  1. Boil water in a dutch oven (4-quart and up) and add the kidney beans. Continue boiling for 10 more minutes, then reduce the heat and continue to simmer until the beans are very tender and even falling apart, stirring occasionally, about 1.5 to 2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the minced garlic. Fry until golden brown, then add the onions, carrots, butternut squash, celery, and corn. Sauté for 10 minutes, then add the green and red bell peppers and sauté for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Place tomatoes in a medium bowl and pour boiling water over them until they are submerged. Let sit for a minute or two until the skins crack. Drain, rinse with cold water, and peel the tomatoes. Dice the tomatoes and add to the cooked beans with all the spices, salt, and the sautéed veggies.
  4. Stir and continue to simmer until the tomatoes completely melt and the chili thickens, at least 30 more minutes. The longer you simmer the chili, the thicker and creamier it will be.
  5. Serve with chilled whole milk Greek yogurt.


When adding the chili powders, taste as you go, adding 1 teaspoon at a time until you reach your desired heat level. This recipe gives you a mild chili as a starting point. Feel free to add a lot more chili powder or use a more potent chili powder to increase the heat.

The longer you slow cook this chili, the more the beans break down into a thick saucy stew and the vegetables and spices meld together, developing better flavors. I like to cook my chili for 4 hours when I have a lazy morning or afternoon.

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Sofia // From the Land we Live on January 29, 2015 - 9:56 am

Glad you got your blog back! Reminds us of the importance of backups 🙂 Loving all of those chilli flavours! I didn’t know unsoaked beans were better…will have to do a little taste test.

Lu January 29, 2015 - 1:30 pm

Thanks Sofia! I can see your comment now 🙂 For everyone who is interested in cooking unsoaked beans – two great reads on the myth of soaking your beans!


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