Vegetarian Chili

Me: Would you like some homemade chili? Sheldon Cooper: Are there beans in it? Me: Yes. Sheldon Cooper: Then it’s not chili. Real chili has no beans in it, but you’re from a foreign land, so your ignorance is forgiven. Me: I’m from Vermont! Sheldon Cooper: [trying a taste of chili] Mmmm, this is good…whatever it is.*

Hmm, good thing I didn’t tell him it has tofu in it!

*Love me some Big Bang Theory! 🙂

Chili, cornbread and a glass of milk—Yum-tastic!

The hearty meal recipes are coming out of storage! I love chili—warm, rich, spicy—the perfect way to ward off the chill that autumn brings. This is another one of those recipes that can be tailored to your tastes: don’t like chickpeas, take ’em out; big fan of squash, add some in!

Gather zee ingredients together.

Vegetable Chili

(Slightly adapted from Daphne Oz‘s recipe)

Serves 8-10


2 tablespoons canola oil

15-19oz. package of tofu, pressed and crumbled

4 smashed cloves of garlic (I minced mine)

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 bag corn (I omitted this)

2 medium zucchinis, diced

1 16 oz can of roasted chopped tomatoes and juice from can (I somehow missed this on my shopping list, so used a 28-ounce can of plain diced tomatoes I had on hand)

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed

1 bottle of beer (I didn’t get this either, so I used 1 1/4 cups chicken broth and 3/4 cups water)

1 cup vegetable broth (I was using chicken broth for another recipe, so I used the leftover here)

1/4 cup chili powder

2-3 tablespoons cumin

2-3 bay leaves

2 tablespoons oregano

1/2-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped (depending on your level of preferred spiciness—WARNING: the flavor intensifies during cooking, so start on the low end and add more after simmering)

2 tablespoons tomato paste


Shredded cheddar cheese

Chopped avocado

Fresh lime juice

Sour Cream


1. Press tofu. I let mine sit overnight. If you don’t have a tofu press (I love mine, if you use tofu often, I highly recommending getting one), place several layers of paper towel on a dinner plate. Place drained tofu on top and cover with several more layers of paper towel. Place another dinner plate on top and put a couple cans of beans or tomatoes on top. Press for at least 30 minutes, or overnight (if longer than 30 minutes, place in fridge).

2. In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add crumbled tofu and cook until brown.

3. Add onions and garlic and saute until translucent.

4. Add zucchini and corn (if using) and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Add tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and tomato juice, herbs and spices, salt and pepper to taste and stir well (while the zucchini is cooking, I measured out all my spices and put them in the can of tomatoes. When it came time to add them, I just poured the can in—easy-peasy!

6. Add chopped chipotle peppers and beans. Stir well.

7. Add beer and vegetable stock until liquid covers all ingredients in the pot.

8. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for a half-hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and adjust seasonings to taste.

9. Serve with shredded cheddar, chopped avocado and fresh lime juice or sour cream (all are your choice).


This recipes would certainly lend itself to a variety of proteins: beef, turkey, chicken, even pork. The nice thing about the tofu is that it makes this dish super low-fat, protein-packed and healthful!


A good pairing for this is Krusteaz brand Honey Cornbread. I tried this for the first time and will never go back—best cornbread I’ve ever had! I just bought a mini muffin pan, so used that to make my cornbread. They were so cute!



I should have mentioned this before, but forgot. A good way to make use of your leftover chipotle peppers is to put them in a freezer bag (keeping each pepper separate) and placing in the freezer. That way when a recipe calls for one or two peppers you can just pull out what you need!


6 thoughts on “Vegetarian Chili

  1. I agree with you , I think its the other way around, it isn’t chili without the beans. Thats what makes it hardy. Great recipe, very tasty. I plan to try one of your alternate ingredient recipes this weekend. Thank you. Sorting through lot’s of recipes is too much these days, I like that you have done some of the tasting and testing.

    • Glad you liked it! And thanks for reading! I don’t think I’ve ever had chili without beans (guess I’ve never been to Texas). I like that the beans add protein and texture. Otherwise it’s just a meat stew, IMO. I’ve also had comments from several meat eaters that they had no idea this recipe had tofu in it, they thought it was ground chicken or turkey. A great way to satisfy both the meat and non-meat eaters in the house! And this recipe freezes really well! I’ve got a batch in the freezer that will be coming out next week for dinner!

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