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The Most Versatile Vegan Chili

This chili is a recipe that I originally found on thekitchn.com and have, over the years, tweaked it and made it my own. What I love most is that you can use almost any vegetable you have in the refrigerator or you can stick with the recipe as it is. Keep in mind that this makes a lot and freezes very well. If you are having a party or going to a pot lock, this dish will be the star of the buffet table and will likely disappear. If, however, you happen to have leftovers, know it will be even better the next day. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword chili, hearty, vegetarian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Servings 8
Author The Cowgirl Gourmet in Santa Fe


  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 2-3 lb. butternut squash, peeled and diced in 1" cubes
  • 2 organic red and yellow bell peppers seeded and chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno diced
  • 3 organic carrots peeled and chopped
  • 3 organic celery stalks chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 6-8 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste from a tube
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-4 cups vegetable broth homemade, if possible
  • 1 can 28 oz organic diced tomatoes
  • 3 cans 15-16 oz organic beans of choice, low sodium or no salt added (I used black pinto and kidney beans), drained
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal optional
  • For garnish: chopped green onions, avocado, raw diced white or red onions, chopped cilantro (if you have some carnivores to please, add shredded cheese and sour cream to the garnishes)


  1. In a 6-quart or larger Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When it is hot, stir in the squash, bell peppers, poblano pepper, jalapeno pepper, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the broth, diced tomatoes and their juices and the drained beans. Stir in the chili powder and cumin and bring back to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer for at least 1 hour, or until the vegetables are tender. If using, sprinkle the cornmeal over the top, stir well to combine and cook another 20 minutes. If time allows, please let this chili cook for several hours as it gets even better when simmered longer and the flavors really have time to meld. As it cooks, it may be necessary to add a cup of water to the chili, if it gets thick.

  3. Before serving, taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Serve hot with green onions, raw white or red onions and cilantro. For the non-vegans, consider adding shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream to the buffet of garnishes.
  4. To make this delicious meal even more memorable, be sure and pick up a bag of Siete grain-free tortilla chips. These paleo tortilla chips are made with cassava and coconut flour add a welcome crunch to this spectacularly flavorful chili.