Vegetarian Chili

I originally made this chili for Christmas Eve dinner, wanting something deliciously warming for a cold winter night that I could assemble and let cook while enjoying the festivities of the day. The addition of bulgur wheat provides great hearty texture--surprisingly similar to that of ground beef. Served with steamed veggies or a salad, black olives, slices of avocado, along with plenty of warm focaccia and you're in for a real treat.

Serves 4–6

Warm a soup pot over medium flame and add the oil. Saute the onion and green pepper for about 5 minutes until onion is translucent. (Alternatively, if you decide to skip the oil, heat the pot over high heat and add the onion and green pepper, stirring constantly for a couple minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients.) Add the grated carrot, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, seasonings, bulgur wheat and cooking liquid or water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook for 45 minutes, checking periodically to stir the mixture to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pot. Add cooked kidney beans and cook an additional 45 minutes, adding more water during cooking if the chili seems to thick. Season with 1/2 teaspoon finishing salt, or to taste, and serve.

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