Vegetarian Chili

A spicy, vegetarian dish using fresh ingredients

Chili is often thought of as a good meal for a cold fall or winter evening. It’s warm and spicy and feels like good comfort food. I’ve served traditional chili for get togethers around a fire pit on a chilly (ha!) fall evening. But chili doesn’t have to be reserved for sweater weather and snow days. 

This vegetarian chili uses a lot of summer garden vegetables. The absence of meat makes it light enough for a warm-weather entrée.

I haven’t had a vegetable garden in many years, so I buy organic produce from the grocery store. I do use canned tomatoes, but you can easily substitute fresh, chopped tomatoes, especially if you have an abundance of them in your garden! 

Bowl of chili on table

Garden Fresh Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian chili that is perfect for a summer gathering on the patio or a fall evening around the fire pit. Use fresh ingredients from your garden or buy organic and canned from the grocery store. This dish is spicy, but the heat is tempered with the sweet onion and the addition of brown sugar.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 6


  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 2 T oregano
  • 1 T salt
  • 3 stalks celery chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/8 cup chili powder
  • 1/8 cup hot Mexican chili powder
  • 2 4 ounce cans chopped green chile peppers
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes or 5 to 6 fresh peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • 1 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar


  • Heat the olive oil in a 4.5-quart dutch oven or a large pot over medium heat.
  • Stir in the onion, and season with cumin, oregano, and salt.
  • Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell pepper, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and green chile peppers.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes.
  • Season with chili powder and add brown sugar.
  • Stir in the kidney beans, garbanzo beans and black beans.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
  • Simmer for 1 hour.


If using fresh tomatoes, peel them by scoring and blanching them in boiling water for 20 seconds.

Hi! I’m Erin. As life evolves, so does a home. Join me as I share DIY projects to update, renovate, decorate and improve my home to complement my empty-nest lifestyle.

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