Rich Vegetarian/Vegan Chili

This is a recipe that I got from my mother, who was not a vegan or vegetarian, but liked this chili!  I’ve adapted it over the years to suit my more veggie tastes. It’s very popular in my house and some version is made at least every couple of weeks. We have it the first day as chili and then at least once after on corn chips with all the goodies as nachos.  And no, I did not take a picture again, but this time it’s because chili isn’t very photogenic. ; )
(I haven’t made this so far this week, but post the recipe by special request of Esther.)


pinto beans

Image by JPWBee


Image by Florian


Image by Island Vittles

2 lbs pinto, kidney, black beans or a mix (use canned if you prefer)
2 medium onions diced
4 stalks celery sliced thin
2 cups carrots shredded or chopped
2 large cans crushed tomato (or 1 crushed and 1 diced)
1 large bunch cilantro minced
1-2 jalapenos diced
3 T olive oil
4 T cumin
3 T cocoa powder
3 T smooth peanut butter
sea salt


Soak beans overnight in large pot of water (after sorting and rinsing).  The next afternoon, replace water with fresh to about 1 inch above beans and place on high heat until boiling.  Reduce heat slightly and cook until beans have softened almost fully.  If you are using mixed beans, be sure the largest or toughest beans are done enough.  You get to skip this whole step if using canned beans.  In that case, just rinse the beans and place them in the pot with water to just over the level of the beans.

In a frying pan, place 2-3 T of olive oil, diced onions, diced jalapeno, and celery.  Heat to medium high while stirring frequently until vegetables have softened and the onions become translucent.

In your large pot (now with cooked beans), add the sauteed vegetables, the carrots, the cumin, cilantro, and tomato.  Stir and simmer until carrots are cooked sufficiently.  After that, additional cooking time is really up to you.  More cooking will break down the texture of the beans and thicken the soup into a more creamy consistency – which some people like.  Less cooking will result in a chunkier chili.  When you are close to finished (within 30 minutes of completion), add the peanut butter and chocolate and stir in.

Each time you make this, it can come out differently based on how much of each thing you add, but it accommodates a lot of variation.  Increase the PB & C for a richer taste.  Add more diced tomato for a chunkier chili.  Put in extra veggies (bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant are excellent, and squash adds a different flavor) for a little vitamin boost.  Remove the cilantro if that doesn’t please you.  If you don’t have any fresh jalapenos in the house, this can be done with jarred peppers or chili powder.  You can even add browned beef, chicken, or pork (blarf) or tofu (yay) if you want even more protein than the beans provide.

Serve with sour cream and grated cheese (vegan or non) and crackers.  This and a side salad makes a full and delicious high fiber meal!

Baked Kale Chips

Wondering what to do with all of that end-of-season kale?  Well, here is an easy fun recipe that even my picky 12 year old likes.


  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional – if you have a seasoned baking stone, you don’t need it)
  • sea salt
  • pepper


  1. Preheat an oven to 250 degrees F.  If you are not using a seasoned baking stone, you might want to use some parchment paper on your pan.
  2. Wash and dry kale and cut into potato chip sized pieces.
  3. Toss with olive oil if needed.
  4. Place on the baking pan in a single layer, adding ground sea salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Bake until they dry out and become chip-like.

Low cal, salty, and tastes like eating something naughty!

Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto

This is rather labor intensive for such a mellow dish, but it’s fabulous fall comfort food!  I adapted the recipe from a variety found online after being inspired by a twitter post (must remember whose) to try it again.

Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto

~1 butternut squash
~2 T olive oil
~ sea salt (1/4t for squash and 1/2t for risotto)
~ fresh ground pepper
~ 1 onion, diced
~ 4 cloves garlic, minced
~ 16 oz Arborio rice
~ 8 cups vegetable stock (I made with veg. bullion)
~ 1 T lemon juice
~ 1/4 cup white wine

Heat oven to 400*F. Cut squash in half (lengthwise).  Place inside down on baking sheet.  Bake until fork tender, probably around 40 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Turn over and scoop out seeds and then scoop squash into a bowl.  Add 1 cup vegetable broth and mash (leave it somewhat chunky).

Bring vegetable stock back to simmer. Heat large frying pan and add 2 T  olive oil, onions, and garlic.  Stir until garlic and onions are soft and translucent.  Add rice and stir to coat with oil.  Add 2 ladles of broth (enough to cover rice) and stir continually while cooking until the pan looks almost dry.  Repeat several times until rice is cooked (it should take most of the stock and around 30 minutes).  Add wine and stir to absorb.

Combine risotto, squash puree, lemon juice, pepper and salt and stir to mix evenly.