Hearty Winter Chili

winter vegetable chili

I’ve been meaning to try this chili recipe since a friend of mine made it for a dinner early last year. He read about it in his Esquire Magazine and was so excited for us to try it having spent the whole day in the kitchen preparing. It was phenomenal and it was vegetarian which I really enjoyed. Now don’t get me wrong, I still like the option of eating meat but the older I get, the less I seem to do it. Often times I’m cooking for myself and don’t want to waste a lot of money/time/effort on big pieces of meat that will just go to waste. Between that and the variety of vegetarian-friendly restaurants and options in the city,  it’s really easy to find great tasting meatless meals. Plus, my body just seems to like me better when I eat clean foods.

Regardless of whether you are carnivorous or not, the ingredients in this chili give it enough heartiness that you don’t even notice there isn’t any meat in it. In fact, it’s more filling than any traditional chili I’ve ever had. But, for those of you who are vegetarian, I adjusted my version slightly so you can appease all eaters.

  • 1-2 TBL Olive oil (I just used enough to glaze my pan and keep the onions from sticking)
  • 1 large onion-chopped
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic-chopped
  • My Spice mix: 2 TBL Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming, 2 TBL chili powder, 1 TBL Ground Red Pepper, 3 TBL Oregano, 1 TBL dried thyme
  • Esquire Spice Mix: 1 tbsp chipotle powder, ⅓ cup chili powder (mild, like New Mexican), 3 tbsp ground cumin, 3 tbsp Mexican oregano, 1 tbsp granulated garlic (not garlic salt or powder), 1 tbsp dried thyme.

*NOTE: you can saute onion/spice mixture ahead of time and freeze it. Or if you’re like me, you read this option and giggle because in no way do you prepare enough in advance for steps like this. It’s a miracle you even have the ingredients laying around to make this chili…but I digress.

  • 1 35 oz can whole Italian tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth or stock
  • 1 TBL kosher salt
  • 2 large bell peppers-chopped (I used one red and one green)
  • 3/4 C Bulgur wheat
  • 1 C Fresh Orange Juice (soak Bulgur in juice for 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed)
  • 1 can Garbanzo Beans (rinsed)
  • 1 can Black Beans (you could also use Kidney)
  • 2 C fresh green beans-chopped
  • 1 can unsalted corn (rinsed)
  • goat cheese and avocado for garnish


Heat dutch oven over medium heat. Drizzle olive oil into pan and cook onions until translucent (10 minutes). Add chopped garlic and spices (5 minutes).


In a separate bowl, add 1 cup orange juice to bulgur until liquid is absorbed.


Add tomatoes, vegetable broth and salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.


Add peppers and simmer for another 20 minutes. Add bulgur and cook until chili thickens. Add beans and corn and simmer until vegetables are warmed.


Top with chopped avocado and goat cheese. Enjoy!


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