Niamh Doherty

Spicy Vegetarian Chili

In Comfort Food, Supper on May 22, 2012 at 21:29

I’m of the firm belief that everyone needs a good chili recipe up their sleeve. Cheap, quick, easy – and with a healthy dose of spice – what could be better? The fact that this chili is loaded with vegetables and beans means that it is very nutritious indeed; the culinary version of a 5k run, allowing you to feel smugly virtuous about doing something that’s good for yourself as you spoon a second helping into your bowl. I’ll gloss over the fact that I tend to top mine with dollops of deliciously fatty sour cream, sharp cheddar cheese and crushed-up salty tortilla chips…a girl’s gotta have something, right?

I spied this particular recipe on Joy the Baker’s site, and quickly bookmarked it. Its first outing a couple of weeks later was when I made it for a vegetarian friend, in a fit of  carniverous, what-am-I-supposed-to-feed-you-people desperation. Halfway through making it I realised that perhaps serving an allegedly spicy chili that I hadn’t even road-tested to a new friend whose Dad was Mexican and therefore – in my mind at least – had been chowing  down on jalapeno peppers since infancy probably wasn’t such a good idea. In any event, she declared it to be delicious as she blithely spooned away, my brothers fanning their mouths in unison. If that’s not a gold star for this recipe, I don’t know what is.

As usual, because I can’t leave well enough alone, I’ve meddled with this recipe. I don’t add stock, or frozen corn (I like corn on the cob, but not frozen/canned corn as a vegetable. Hey, I’m complex), and sub cannellini beans for the chickpeas. I also use hot chili powder, and if I can’t find steak seasoning I just add rock salt, freshly ground black pepper and dried chili flakes. The original recipe is here if you want to give it a go – if not, my altered version is set out below. I like it quite spicy, but feel free to use milder chili powder/barbecue sauce if you’re a bit of a spice wimp, as I once was.

The original version claims to feed eight people, but three friends and I scarfed the whole pot down on Friday night, so I would say it feeds four to six, depending on who you’re feeding and their levels of greed. Like all spicy, stew-y dishes, this only gets better the longer it sits, and is glorious reheated the next day (and the next, and the next…), smeared onto a tortilla wrap with guacamole, sour cream and cheddar cheese, or plonked on top of a baked potato. If you’ve got a large enough pot you can also make double the recipe and freeze it for a later date. Just make it, I beg you – you won’t regret it.

Spicy Vegetarian Chili – serves 4 to 6


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 green/yellow pepper, diced

1 courgette, diced

3 small cloves of garlic, diced

1 cup beer (or vegetable stock if you like)

3 heaping tablespoons steak seasoning (or a mix of rock salt, black pepper and chili flakes if you’re stuck)

1 tablespoon of hot chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/3 cup barbecue sauce (I use the Reggae Reggae jerk/barbecue sauce)

1 x can black beans, rinsed

1 x  can kidney beans, rinsed

1 x can cannellini beans, rinsed

2 x can chopped tomatoes


1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil.  Add the onions and saute until translucent and slightly browned.  Add the peppers and courgette and cook for four or five minutes, until they begin to soften.

2. Add garlic and all of the spices to the vegetables.  Cook for two minutes.

3. Deglaze the pan by adding a cup of beer or stock to the pot. Stir and scrape the bits off the bottom of the pot.  Once the beer has stopped sizzling, add the barbecue sauce, beans and diced tomatoes.  Bring to a low boil and cook for about 15 minutes.

4. Serve in a bowl, topped with sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and salted tortilla chips. Keeps for about 6 days, if you can resist its siren call for that long.

(The image below is care of Penzeys Spices – my phone wasn’t playing ball and refused to upload the picture I wanted. Curse you, technology…)

  1. Mmmmm….this looks so delicious, Niamh. And although it’s been a lovely warm day all day today, it’s quite chilly now, so this’d be quite warming and super comforting. I love chilli, and this variation on the theme = I especially am digging your using the Reggae Raggae sauce. Love that stuff! Thanks for sharing, and again – welcome back! You were missed!

  2. Nothing beats a good chili. This recipe reads really well.
    Good one,

  3. Im a firm believer in all things Chilli. This is exactly what we like to eat in the Beach House. Thanks for the great recipe. Happy days, lee

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