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Vegetarian Chili

by Emma on September 19, 2011

in Dinner,Vegan

Confession: I used to hate chili. I really can’t say why, probably it had something to do with the tomatoes. I used to be an avid tomato-hater. Except ketchup and pizza sauce. So I guess you could more accurately say that I used to be a tomato-hater and a hypocrite.

And even though I haven’t been a chili-hater for a few years now, I was still a litter nervous when I made this dish and served it to my family. I think chili, although a fairly simple dish, is still really hit or miss. A number of things can go wrong. For example: it can be too spicy, not spicy enough, too many big chunks of onion or other vegetable, too pureed so it’s too soupy, the beans can be cold while the other veggies are bordering on over-cooked…

… or it can just plain suck.

I was determined to make chili that at the very least, didn’t suck. And I am happy to say that not only did I succeed, I managed (miraculously, really) to make the best vegetarian chili I have ever had.

The secret is curry. Just a tiny bit of curry adds a whole different layer of sweet and spicy flavor. Trust me.

Vegetarian Chili, makes 5-6 generous servings.

Needed: 3-4 tablespoon olive oil, 1 yellow onion, 2 jalapeno peppers, 1 red bell pepper, 1 small yellow squash, 2 cans of black beans, 1 can of pinto beans, 1 can of kidney beans, 1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon curry powder, salt and pepper to taste.

I suggest chopping all vegetables first. So go ahead and chop up those peppers, squash and onion. Don’t forget to remove the seeds and inner veins from the jalapeno peppers.

Now in a deep pot or dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium/high heat. Saute the onion, peppers and squash until onions are nearly translucent (6-8 minutes). Dump in the crushed tomatoes (with their juices). Add the spices and white wine vinegar. Drain all the beans of the liquid they are canned in and then toss them in too. Turn the heat down to medium/low and cook for 12-15 minutes until everything is bubbly and hot, add salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with shredded cheese (I had pepper jack) or sour cream. And be sure to serve with bread or (if you’re a true foodie) fritos.

xo. Emma


Rae Veda September 19, 2011 at 1:24 am

Yum! That looks so good. I add curry to almost everything but have never thought of adding it to chili. Great idea! xo, raeveda

Meanz September 19, 2011 at 2:07 am

I have never tried adding curry! Sounds amazing, I will totally do that next time I make chili

dena miller September 19, 2011 at 2:36 am

Looks and sounds yummy Ema!

dena miller September 19, 2011 at 2:37 am

oops…sorry for the typo on your name,,,meant Emma♥

Mandy @ Miss Indie September 19, 2011 at 3:45 am

Mmmm this looks good! I think the curry is so interesting, I’ll have to try that next time I make chili. So glad it’s getting into chili weather!! :]

grace September 19, 2011 at 4:46 am

i love veggie chili – and i eat it year round so no discrimination from me! haha love it looks great!


irene wibowo September 19, 2011 at 6:03 am

it’s spicy? looks yummy! :)

Funtime Frocks Etc September 19, 2011 at 8:21 am

“…a tomato-hater and a hypocrite”

Your writing cracks me up every time – brilliant. So glad I found your blog for the recipes and giggles!

Funtime x

Lovely London vintage, lovely cheap prices!

Angie Bailey September 19, 2011 at 9:37 am

I am such a huge fan of chili, especially “real” chili, like this! I say real because what’s in the can doesn’t hold a flame to home-made chili! Mmmm!

I must try this!

Kathleen September 19, 2011 at 12:20 pm

“I used to be an avid tomato-hater. Except ketchup and pizza sauce. So I guess you could more accurately say that I used to be a tomato-hater and a hypocrite.”

Emma, you are hilarious and make me laugh out loud. I love reading your blog, not only for the delicious recipes but for your candor and honesty and totally charming demeanor. Have a great day!

Marie-Claire September 19, 2011 at 1:36 pm

oh wow can’t believe you didn’t like chilli/tomato! love love love homemade chilli its amazing! definitely going to try this recipe because it looks so good :D thanks for sharing! xo

Annie September 19, 2011 at 1:54 pm

sounds DE-lish! will definitely be trying :-)

rae September 19, 2011 at 3:36 pm

mmmm that looks so good! definately going to try it soon.

Naomi September 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Yumm, passing this on to some of my vegetarian friends!

Gaby September 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm

i used to be a chili hater. it had everything to do with beans. i hated beans (except for jelly beans). since becoming a vegetarian i have learned to love beans and making chili. my secret ingredient is cocoa powder- i prefer a sweet and hot chili.

Ana September 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I had been looking for a new chili recipe! Thanks for sharing this :)

Meredith September 19, 2011 at 6:32 pm

I have been looking for some new recipes and this is just perfect–looks like it would hit the spot w/ this new Fall weather!

I love your blog and will be following for sure. Have a wonderful day!

Kacie @ A Collection of Passions September 19, 2011 at 6:53 pm

I love chilli but I’ve never thought to add curry! I usually make Whole Foods recipe spicy chilli but I’m going to try this!


steffy September 19, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Every year my work has a chili cookoff. Unfortunately for the vegetarians and those who follow kosher, no one EVER thinks to make a veggie chili for them to enjoy. I think I’ll save this to make this year! Thanks!

Hollie H September 20, 2011 at 12:19 am

Your post made me laugh out loud :) I felt the same way about tomatoes….and still do! Will eat ketchup and sauce all day long but not a raw tomato! :) I am also still on the fence about chili…but I am trying to broaden my cooking horizons and may have to try this :)
Thanks for another good recipe!

tiramissimo September 20, 2011 at 1:25 am

this looks delicious!

Jaclyn T September 20, 2011 at 3:39 am

Must. Add. Curry. To. Chili.

–Jaclyn T

Silver Twig Necklace GIVEAWAY on my blog @:

Chelseabird September 20, 2011 at 5:22 am

This looks and sounds delicious! I LOVE veggie chili!

Emily Langston September 20, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I used to hate chili too… it was because the chili that was served to me looked like slop. Like wet dog food slop…. but now, after a little tinkering and trying of my brother in law’s chili I love it. I do like mine a little more soupish than others, but my bil makes it with beer and it is awesome!!!! Gives it the right amount of tang!

traci September 20, 2011 at 10:37 pm

just made vegetarian chili sunday (& ate the leftovers last night) and I did almost exactly the same thong with a few alterations. First, I think my hatred of tomatoes from a young age was caused by the giant slimy chunks of tomatoes the church ladies added to their potluck chili, but now that I’ve learned to cope (kinda) with tomatoes, I go ahead & blend a can of toms before I add them to the chili. Also I add some v-8 to impart the flavor without those nightmarish slime chunks. And, garlic…like 4 cloves. Of course.
Lastly, a fellow chili lover shared how he shimmered his chili for a while then sauteed peppers & onions, which he added just before serving. Used that tip last time & it imparted a lot of flavor but kept.the veg a little crisper…again avoiding sliminess.

traci September 20, 2011 at 10:38 pm

Ummm and of course I meant thing instead of thong. Thanks auto correct.

Tra Wright Knox September 23, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Oh! I am going to make this! I made the Apple Cobbler recipe that you had the other week and they were amazing!!

Thanks Emma! :)

Alysse September 26, 2011 at 2:18 am

My mom’s leaving in a couple days for a 6 week trip to New Zealand, so tonight we had a bon voyage dinner with this chili as the main course! We skipped the jalapenos, added a sweet potato (microwaved first to soften it up before adding it to the mix) and used a zucchini instead of a yellow squash. We also added an extra can of crushed tomatoes because we like our chili more gooey! This was delicious! My mom loved it.the cinnamon and curry blended into a savory sweet flavor that toyed with our tastebuds. I found it a tad spicy even without the jalapenos and only a teaspoon of chili powder, but it definitely warmed us up on a cool autumn night in Toronto :)

I’m looking forward to making your pumpkin pie poptarts for brunch with my boyfriend next Sunday. Keep this great and creative recipes coming please!

Cait September 26, 2011 at 9:57 am

Yum! I’m glad you like tomato foods now, but one of my many go-to food blogs ( has a recipe for ‘Creamy White Chili’ that I think you’d love! It has no tomato and is a really unique twist on the kind of Tex-Mex flavors. I usually leave out the jalapenos cause I’m a wimp, but I always double the cumin!

nichole (eat & be pretty) October 16, 2011 at 11:04 am

mm i LOVE chili and i LOVE curry. never thought to combine them. definitely gonna have to give this a try :)