Smoky Chipotle Vegetarian Chili

To turn this chili into a full buffet party, follow a few easy steps. Bake a pan or two of cornbread. Set up bowls of garnishes (avocado, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, and lime wedges) on a countertop, preferably near the stove. Place bowls, spoons, and napkins next to the pot of chili. Have people load up.–Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine

LC You Complete Me Note

Nothing complements and completes a bowl of chili like, well, the aforementioned garnishes and side of cornbread, for starters. But let’s not overlook a few other sides, or actually bottoms, given that our tendency is to bury them beneath a ladleful of chili goodness. Tortilla chips. Steaming hot baked potatoes. Rice. Polenta. Fresh tortillas. To say nothing of a cold beer on the side. Are we missing anything?

Smoky Chipotle Vegetarian Chili Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • Serves 10


  • For the chili
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large sweet onions, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper (if unavailable, double on red), chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 yellow squash, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Stems from 1 bunch of cilantro (leaves reserved for garnish)
  • One 7-ounce can mild green chiles
  • 2 or 3 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • Three 15-ounce cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • Two 15-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • One 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 bottle dark Mexican beer (Negra Modelo if you can find it)
  • For the Garnishes
  • Leaves from 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 limes, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 avocados, seeded, peeled, diced, and tossed with lime juice


  • Make the chili
  • 1. To make the Smoky Chipotle Vegetarian Chili in your slow cooker, see the Slow Cooker Variation below.

    To make the Smoky Chipotle Vegetarian Chilis on the stovetop, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers and sauté until they’re beginning to caramelize, about 8 minutes.
  • 2. Add the zucchini and yellow squash and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • 3. In the meantime, combine the garlic cloves, cilantro stems, green chiles, and chipotle chiles in a small food processor and process until minced. Add 1⁄2 cup of the stock and pulse to combine or stir together in a bowl.
  • 4. Add the chile mixture and the tomatoes to the pot and bring to a simmer. Add the beans, salt, chili powder, cumin, oregano, beer, and the remaining 11⁄2 cups stock. Simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until the chili thickens and the vegetables soften, about 30 minutes.
  • Serve the chili
  • 5. Remove the pot of chili from the heat and plonk it on another burner, the countertop, or the table. Place each garnish in a bowl and call your guests. (The chili is best if made the night before and rewarmed gently over low heat. It can keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.)

Slow Cooker Variation

  • Yup. Believe it. Follow step 1. as directed, then transfer it to the slow cooker. Repeat with the zucchini and summer squash. Then add the chile mixture, tomatoes, beer, and stock to the pot, using only half the amount of beer and stock called for in the original recipe. Continue as directed.

    [Editor’s Note: Bear in mind, no two slow-cookers are exactly alike, just as no two cooks are exactly alike. This slow-cooker approach worked really, really well for us, although if you have a different slow-cooker cooking technique you want to try by all means, do so. And, natch, we’d love if you’d share it with us in a comment below.]
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