A Taste of Fall

chiliIt's time.

This spring, I mentioned to Connie that I could write up my vegetarian chili recipe as a piece for One Thing New. But it seemed more like a fall recipe than a spring one.

Since then, two things have changed. The first, of course, is the weather. Here on the East Coast, it's definitely autumn. We have the first glimpse of fall color, and the chances of getting a surprise beach day are steadily dropping.

Second, Connie was at my house, and she ate the chili. Since then, she's been much more enthusiastic about publishing the recipe. I just needed to get out actual measuring cups (something I never do), pay a bit more attention, and cook up a batch.

Done, and done.

Those of you who are food bloggers or recipe writers will no doubt notice that this recipe has not been tested in multiple kitchens by multiple cooks. To which I say: It's chili. It's not rocket science. It comes out slightly different every time, and it's always good.

Two notes: First, this is a very mild chili, which helps ensure that my whole family eats it. If you have more adventurous eaters in your house, throw in more chiles or more red pepper flakes.

Second: My husband always asks me to add meat to this. You certainly can – just brown a pound of ground beef before you start, and add it back to the mixture when you incorporate the tomatoes and beans. But if you 'forget' the meat, no one will notice. Trust me.

Vegetarian Chili


2 medium or one large onion, diced (about 2 cups)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons chopped garlic, or about five cloves

1 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

2 14-ounce cans black beans, rinsed

1 14-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed

one medium sweet potato, diced

½ cup water

1 chile in adobo, seeds removed, diced (leave the seeds in for spicier chili)

1 cup frozen corn

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons molasses

For serving: grated cheddar, sour cream, avocado, or whatever you like on your chili


1. Over low heat, saute the onion in the olive oil with the salt for about eight minutes, or until the onion just starts to brown.

2. Add the garlic, stir, and cook for another minute.

3. Add the cumin, chili powder, and red pepper flakes, stir, and cook for a minute.

4. Add the tomatoes, beans, sweet potato, chili in adobo, and water. I know it seems silly to add the water, since most of it boils off. But if you don't, there won't be enough moisture to cook the sweet potato, and this will take all day.

5. Bring the mixture to a boil, turn the heat down to low, and cover the pot. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20-25 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are cooked and it looks like chili.

6. Add the frozen corn. Stir.

7. Add the red wine vinegar and the molasses. What are they doing in chili? Well, I used to use a can of barbecued beans instead, but then my supermarket stopped carrying the brand I liked. Adding the molasses and the vinegar gives the chili a little "barbecue" flavor without a ton of corn syrup. (Molasses has iron in it. I therefore consider it healthy.)

8. Simmer about five more minutes until the flavors are blended. Serve, garnish, and eat!

I love to have this with corn bread, and yes, I use the Jiffy mix and prepare it exactly the way the box says. Yum! -- KW

If you liked this story, you might also like:

Soup's On

Apples and Domestic Happiness

Breakfast, Solved


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Image courtesy of flickr user flyzipper



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