• The Best Vegetarian Chili - Thick and Hearty and Healthy!

    1 vote
    The Best Vegetarian Chili - Thick and Hearty and Healthy!
    Prep: 45 min Cook: 3 hours Servings: 8
    by Foodiewife
    397 recipes
    I absolutely adore Chili con Carne, and I make a great batch of it-- if I do say so, myself. So, I was a bit skeptical when I saw an episode of America's Test Kitchen proclaiming that this is "The Best" Vegetarian Chili. As I began to read the ingredients, I started to open up my mind that this quite possibly could be. So, is it? I'd say that this recipe turned out to be even better than I thought. There are some surprise ingredients that give a "meatier" flavor to this vegetarian chili. It was fun making my own chili powder, and really not that difficult. I particularly liked the bulgur that is added at the end. It gives the chili a terrific texture. My son never caught on to the fact that this was a meatless chili. I think it's worthy for Super Bowl-- especially for those who are vegetarian.


    • Salt
    • 1 pound (2 1/2 cups) dried beans, picked over and rinsed (I used pinto beans)
    • 2 dried ancho chiles
    • 2 dried New Mexican chiles
    • 1/2 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms, chopped coarse
    • 4 teaspoons dried oregano
    • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
    • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained with juice reserved
    • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 1 - 2 jalapeño chiles, stemmed and coarsely chopped (I used 1)
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced
    • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 pounds onions, chopped fine
    • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
    • 7 cups water
    • 2/3 cup medium-grind bulgur
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


    1. Bring 4 quarts water, 3 tablespoons salt, and beans to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Remove pot from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain beans and rinse well. Wipe out pot.
    2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.
    3. Arrange anchos and New Mexican chiles on rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant and puffed, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate and let cool, about 5 minutes.
    4. Stem and seed anchos and New Mexican chiles. Working in batches, grind toasted chiles, mushrooms, and oregano in spice grinder or with mortar and pestle until finely ground. NOTE: I used my Vitamix blender and got great results!
    5. Process walnuts in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Transfer to bowl.
    6. Process drained tomatoes, tomato paste, jalapeño(s)*, garlic, and soy sauce in food processor until tomatoes are finely chopped, about 45 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.
    7. NOTE: *I used one whole jalapeno and the chili was borderline super spicy. If you prefer a milder chili (as I do), I recommend using only 1/2 a jalapeno.
    8. Heat oil in now-empty Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering.
    9. Add onions and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
    10. Lower heat to medium and add ground chile mixture and cumin; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
    11. Add rinsed beans and water and bring to boil. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook for 45 minutes.
    12. Remove pot from oven. Stir in bulgur, ground walnuts, tomato mixture, and reserved tomato juice. Cover pot and return to oven. Cook until beans are fully tender, about 2 hours.
    13. Remove pot from oven, stir chili well, and let stand, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Stir in cilantro and serve. (Chili can be made up to 3 days in advance.)

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