Our Best Chili

Our Best Chili
Our Best Chili
This image courtesy of Jim Scherer

Editor's Note: Who said vegetarian chili recipes would be bland and tasteless? This recipe for Our Best Chili comes from the renowned Moosewood Restaurant and doesn't hold back when it comes to flavor. Each serving is loaded with an assortment of beans, vegetables, garlic, herbs, and heat — and we're not just talking about the temperature, either! This recipe is easy to make and is perfect for those cold winter nights. Consider topping each bowl of chili with your favorite salsa, plain yogurt, and tortilla chips.

February is frigid in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. To counter the cold weather blues and blahs, Ithaca holds a Chili Fest. Local restaurants, caterers, and carry-outs showcase their favorite chilis, and happy consumers taste their way through the numerous chili stalls, imbibe local microbrews, and try to stay astride the mechanical bull. Sated, the people then vote for the “best” chili in a set of categories. We don’t mind mentioning that Moosewood has won first place three times in the vegetarian category.

Yields8 cups

Cooking MethodSauteeing



Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionBuffet, Buffet Meal, Family Get Together, Game Day, Tailgate Party

Recipe CourseMain Course

Dietary ConsiderationVegetarian

MealDinner, Lunch

Taste and TextureGarlicky, Herby, Savory, Spiced


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 2 cups seeded and chopped red bell peppers
  • 1 fresh hot pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • One 15-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained


  1. Warm the oil in a covered soup pot on low heat. Add the onions, garlic, and salt, and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots and bell peppers, increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. 

  2. Stir in the hot peppers, cumin, coriander, and oregano and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally so the spices won’t stick.

  3. Add the corn, tomatoes, kidney beans, and black beans. Bring the chili to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring often, for at least 30 minutes.


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