My philosophy on veggie chili is go big or go home, both in flavor and in size. I’ve been making this recipe for years, and am always thankful for the extra leftovers when they are in the freezer. This hearty vegetarian version of classic chili packs in the flavor and veggies without guilt or grease.

Vegetarian chili for 20

This recipe is forgiving and malleable to your tastes. You could easily also make half the batch, but while you’re at it, make the full batch and throw it in the freezer for a supply of easy weeknight dinners. Freezer bags can help to optimize space if you are short on containers. I use organic ingredients for everything I can find.


  • 4 onions, minced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 3 cups prepared organic salsa (I buy mine at Costco)
  • 6 bell peppers of any color or combination, diced
  • 4 jalepenos, seeded for milder chili and diced. For a hotter chili, leave seeds in from 1 or 2
  • Optional: 1-2 zucchinis, diced
  • 6 cans of black beans (or combo of kidney and black)
  • 6 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 beer of any variety
  • 1 bag of frozen corn, approximately 2-3 cups
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro, avocado, sliced scallions to garnish



  1. Wash and prep all the veggies.
  2. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft.
  3. Add the cumin and coriander and saute, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the salsa, bell peppers, jalepenos, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the beans, tomatoes and beer and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add the corn and cook for 20 minutes, or as long as you’d like.
  7. Salt to taste before serving.
  8. Garnish as desired.

I adapted and expanded this recipe from the festive black bean chili recipe in Moosewood Low-fat favorites cookbook. One of the time-saving strategies is using a jarred salsa to create a more complex flavor without extra kitchen time.

We love to eat this chili along side fresh from the oven corn bread or muffins and with a hearty kale salad. For leftovers, one of our favorite preparations is to serve over roasted sweet potatoes. Like all chili, in the freezer it does seem to get better with age as the flavors mix, mingle and become more saturated and complex.

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