Homemade Vegetarian Chili

While the ingredients in this chili recipe are super basic, the flavor is anything but. Simple ingredients can taste exceptional when they start off with aromatics like onion, carrot, celery and garlic. I added traditional chili spices and some smoked paprika for an extra-savory, smoky note.

Blending a small portion of the chili makes it look and taste like a chili that has been cooking all morning long, but it only needs about 30 minutes of simmering.



Homemade Vegetarian Chili
Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 40 mins Total Time: 1 hour Yield: 4 to 6 servings Category: Chili Cuisine: American

The smoky, complex flavor of this simple vegetarian chili comes from basic pantry ingredients, vegetables and spices! It makes great leftovers, too. This chili recipe is gluten free as written (just be sure your garnishes are also gluten free), and vegan (unless you top it with dairy products like sour cream or cheese). Recipe yields 4 large or 6 moderate servings of chili.

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
½ teaspoon salt, divided
4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 tablespoons chili powder*
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika*
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 large can (28 ounces) or 2 small cans (15 ounces each) diced tomatoes**, with their juices
2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnishing
1 to 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar  or lime juice, to taste
Garnishes: chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, tortilla chips, sour cream or crème fraîche, grated cheddar cheese, etc.

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir to combine and then cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and oregano. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 1 minute.

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