This hearty vegetarian chili is packed full of bold Southwestern flavors. Poblano peppers and plantains give the chili a unique flare, and I guarantee you won’t miss the meat! This is some seriously flavorful soup, and may just be my new go-to chili recipe. We have been trying to eat less meat around our house, and have had this vegetarian chili twice in the last two weeks.
Tastes Just Like A Camping Trip
Chili has been a staple for us over the years on some of our best overnight camping trips. We have filled our thermoses with the hearty soup on several backpacking trips, and even carted the whole Dutch oven with us on our car camping trips. Chili really is a perfect food for camping. A little goes a long way for satisfying hunger, it is easy to reheat over the fire, and it will warm you right up on a cooler evening. One bite of chili transports me straight to a brisk, dark night under the stars. It brings memories of nervous, headlamp lit walks to ice cold creeks for bowl cleaning after dinner. I always feel such an interesting blend of fear and peace alone at a creek in the backwoods. I turn off my headlamp for a few minutes and fight the urge to run back toward the campfire. It is hard to describe, but being in that space makes me feel so alive and fulfilled. Some alone time in the woods is long overdue.
Back to This Chili…
Why Add Masa Harina (corn flour)?
The corn flour helps to create a nice thick consistency throughout. It isn’t absolutely necessary, but it really amps up the heartiness of this vegetarian chili. Yellow corn meal is a great substitute. You just want to make sure it is finely ground.
It’s All About the Toppings…
This is a delicious bowl of chili on it’s own no question, but can we all agree when it comes to chili, it is all about the toppings! Please, please don’t forget to pile your bowl high with all your favorite add-ons. I think the number one MOST IMPORTANT addition has to be sour cream. The richness mellows out the acidity from the tomatoes and creates a perfectly balanced bite. Load up with a mountain of shredded Monterey jack cheese, big chunks of fresh avocado, cilantro, tortilla strips, fresh jalapeño (if you’re feeling really wild). Just go crazy. The more the better. Always. With chili toppings.
A Little Something on the Side…
I don’t know about you, but I love to crumble up some fresh cornbread in my chili or eat it on the side. Check out my Southern Honey Cornbread recipe to serve alongside this chili.
Other Great Soups To Warm Up With This Winter:Print
This hearty vegetarian chili is packed full of bold Southwestern flavors! Poblano peppers and plantain give the chili extra flare, and I promise you will NOT miss the meat! Such a healthy, easy meal for any occasion, and tastes amazing!
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (any cooking oil you have on hand is fine)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, small diced
- 4 large poblano peppers, medium diced
- 1 bell pepper, medium diced (whatever color you prefer)
- 1 ripe plantain, cut into small cubes (optional, ripe plantains can be hard to find)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1– 15.5 ounce can yellow corn, drained
- 1– 4 ounce can mild diced green chiles
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1– 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (pureed tomatoes will also work)
- 1– 12 ounce beer (preferably a pale ale or lager style)
- 1 tablespoon masa harina (corn flour) or fine corn meal
- 1 bay leaf
- 1– 15.5 ounce cans pinto beans, drained
- 1– 15.5 ounce can chili beans, drained
- 1–2 teaspoons sugar (to taste)
- sour cream
- shredded Monterey jack cheese
- ripe avocado, cubed
- tortilla strips
- fresh jalapeños, cut into rounds (optional for extra heat!, caution this chili is already moderately spicy)
- Heat grapeseed oil and butter over medium heat in large heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven.
- Add diced onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add poblano peppers, bell pepper, plantain, and kosher salt and cook until vegetables are softened, an additional 7 to 10 minutes.
- Add the corn, green chiles, and garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and coriander and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, stirring continuously to prevent burning.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, beer, corn flour, bay leaf, and bring chili to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for at least 20 minutes but up to 30 minutes if you have the time.
- Stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar to taste, the pinto and chili beans, and cook for 5 minutes more.
- Remove bay leaf, transfer chili to bowls and garnish with your favorite chili toppings!
- This chili is moderately spicy. You can substitute one or more bell peppers for the poblanos to tone things down.
- Feel free to substitute vegetable stock if you prefer not to use beer!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 to 45 minutes
- Category: Soups
- Method: Simmered
- Cuisine: Southwestern
Keywords: vegetarian, chili, poblano peppers