You can make this light and easy vegetarian chili in just thirty minutes with the help from Thai red curry paste and common pantry ingredients.
I’ll go ahead and apologize for posting what you may think is a seasonally inappropriate recipe: “Chili? In spring? What?” But I’m over here thinking “Can’t I just enjoy chili every season?” Those robust flavors, the perfect balance of beans and veggies, and just a bit of spice – why not enjoy something so good in every season?
In all reality, it’s still pretty chilly (chili?) in Portland. It’s still raining. It’s still less than 50 most days. And my house still has insufficient heating.
Vegetarian chili has always been in my top 10 foods. It’s something I make when I don’t know what to make. It’s what I make when I’m cold, or homesick, or just need a healthy, comforting meal. And why not?
Vegetarian chili is the perfect raid-the-pantry easy dinner.
Which is probably why I have a few chili horror stories (like that one time I accidentally used half baked kidney beans in a chili and gave my roommate food poisoning) but for the sake of preserving my image, I’ll skip those. I’ve put beer in my chili (always a good idea), cocoa powder (sometimes a good idea), coke, coffee… the list goes on. But when it all comes down to it, my favorite ~secret ingredient~ flew in from left field.
How do you make vegetarian chili flavorful?
My secret is Thai red curry paste. Talk about an easy way to have a flavor explosion! Seriously, you can’t go wrong with this ingredient. I learned this secret from the one and only Isa Chandra and her recipe for Red Lentil Thai Chili. I’m seriously done with adding all of these random ingredients to my chili: Thai red curry paste is the answer to a flavorful, warming chili.
The best part about chili? It’s as easy as
- Saute your veggies
- Throw in the spices
- Add beans, tomatoes, and broth
- Simmer away to your heart’s content
I enjoy my veggie chili loaded with corn chips, a little bit of cheddar cheese, avocado slices, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Added bonus: use this vegetarian chili for chili veggie dogs. You won’t be disappointed!
Light and Easy Veggie Chili
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 10 ounces fresh cherry tomatoes
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cans (15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (15 ounces) red beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes, with juice
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat. Saute bell peppers, onions, and cherry tomatoes for 5-7 minutes, until softened. Using a wooden spoon, press down on the cherry tomatoes to pop and flatten. Add jalapenos and garlic and saute one minute more.
- Add curry paste, chili powder, cumin, salt, and saute for about thirty seconds, stirring to prevent spices from burning. Add beans, canned tomatoes, and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil for 30 seconds. Bring down to a simmer, and simmer for at least 10 minutes before serving. Simmer for longer for stronger flavors.
- Taste for salt and seasonings. Top with your favorite chili toppings (cheese, cilantro, more jalapenos, etc.) and enjoy!