Vegetarian Chili

  • Serves

    serves 6-8


Author Suketu Mehta gave us the recipe for this chili. We recommend making a lengthwise slit down the side of each of the fresh chiles to release some of their intense floral heat (see Taming the Heat in Chiles for more about this technique).


  • 12 oz. dried dark kidney beans, soaked overnight
  • 12 oz. dried pinto beans, soaked overnight
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 14 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 dried chipotle chiles
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 large white onions, chopped
  • 1 dried ancho chile
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, quartered
  • 6 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 12 cups canned hominy, drained
  • 12 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 3-6 naga jolokia or habanero chiles, 
slit lengthwise down one side
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Sour cream, to garnish
  • Minced cilantro, to garnish
  • Minced red onion, to garnish


Step 1

Put kidney beans and pinto beans into a large pot and cover with 3" water; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, about 1 hour. Season with salt; set pot aside.

Step 2

Heat oil in a 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, chipotle chiles, bay leaves, onions, and ancho chile and cook, stirring often, until onions are golden, 12-15 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they release their juices, about 5 minutes. Stir in reserved beans and their cooking liquid, along with hominy, tomato paste, vinegar, thyme, oregano, cumin, sun-dried tomatoes, and habaneros and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chili thickens and flavors meld, about 1 hour. Serve chili topped with sour cream, cilantro, and red onions.

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