Saturday, September 14, 2013

Vegetarian Chili with sweet potato and pumpkin

I could say that fall is the time of year for chili, but I think anytime is chili season! This chili has lots of good fall flavor in it, and I have already made a couple pots this year even it is not officially autumn.  Chili is so wonderful to warm you up after a crisp fall day of hiking, various sport events or even raking leaves so have the ingredients ready because here come the cooler days of autumn!

Some wonderful friends and I got together to cook dinner that was vegetarian, gluten and dairy free (minus toppings). We had lots of fun and made this chili as well as a quinoa pilaf and gluten free corn muffins.

Here is the chili recipe. Like so many of my recipes, this one can be adapted and changed to fit your preferences! You could throw in some ground beef or chicken if you wanting meat, but this chili is so hearty and thick you will not miss the meat!

Denise’s Favorite Vegetarian chili

3 sweet potatoes, diced
1-1 ½ onion, chopped
3-4 Poblano peppers or Anaheim peppers (may substitute canned chilies in a pinch) roasted, peeled, diced

1 ½ -2 tsp. ancho chili pepper (or if you don’t have dried ancho, use an extra tsp. chili powder)
1 ½ -2 tsp. Chili powder
1-1 ½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. or so sea salt
½ to 1 tsp. each- onion powder, garlic powder may use a clove of fresh garlic instead)
1-2TBSP brown sugar
1-2 tsp. adobe seasoning, optional (salt, garlic, onion, cumin, black pepper, chipotle, lemon peel blend) You could just use more of all the spices if you don’t have adobe seasoning
For extra spice you may add --1-2 tsp. canned chipotle chili in adobe sauce, chopped (wear gloves! ) if you like it hot OR 1 tsp. chipotle pepper spice Or for flavor without added heat- 1 tsp. smoked paprika

1 bell pepper red or green, diced
3 small zucchinis or yellow squash, any summer squash
Other optional veggies—1 – 1/12 cups roasted corn, sliced carrot, green beans, cauliflower, chopped tomatillos, diced red potatoes,  diced butternut squash (add potatoes or squash with sweet potatoes) or whatever you would like to try!

2-4   cups vegetable broth (start with 2 and add more broth as needed)  
1 can diced tomato, 15 oz or so, fire roasted, organic preferred  
1 can crushed tomatoes,15 oz or so, fire roasted, organic preferred
1-1 ½ cups pumpkin puree, about 1/2- 2/3 of a 15 oz. can pumpkin (Or may substitute 1 small can tomato paste OR use both pumpkin and tomato paste)
½ to 1 cup water, as needed to thin

1 to 2 cans beans, prefer 1 can of kidney beans and one of black beans but any beans are fine
1-2 TBSP cocoa powder
1 TBSP unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate, optional
Salt and pepper to taste, more ancho or chili powder if needed

Toppings—cheese, sour cream, green onions, cilantro, tortilla chips, corn bread

In a wide deep pan, add oil and heat to medium-high and add evenly diced sweet potatoes in a single layer. If they cannot all fit, do this in two batches. Sauté over medium heat stirring often. After about 5 minutes, lower heat to medium-low and add diced onions. Cook on low for about 20 minutes until a bit caramelized and brown and sweet potatoes are starting to soften.  Note: Add any hard vegetables like butternuts squash, potatoes or carrots at this time or cook ahead of time.

Roast peppers --Turn oven on broil and place washed, slightly wet peppers onto foil lined pan under broiler. Broil until skin is charred and blackened on one side and then turn until all is charred.  Once skin is charred throughout, remove from oven and fold foil over the peppers and seal up foil to let peppers steam. Let it cool about 10 minutes, then open foil and use gloves or carefully remove stem, seeds and membrane and skin. Using running water helps. Wash hands carefully or discard gloves. Chop roasted pepper and add to onion, sweet potato mixture.

To the pot, Add spices, sugar and salt and continue to cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Remember you can always add more spice later so go easy! I would skip the canned chipotle and some of the dried chili pepper if there are sensitive palates eating this. You could allow people to add hot sauce to spice it up at the end. It will taste a little spicier the next day.

Turn pot to low heat and stir in summer squash, bell peppers, roasted corn and any softer vegetables you are using and sauté for another minute or two.

Add tomatoes, broth, pumpkin puree, beans, cocoa, and optional chocolate and gently stir well. Simmer on low for about 25-35 minutes and gently stirring until everything is nicely cooked through and thick. Taste and add more salt or spice. If it is too spicy, add a little more broth and pumpkin and perhaps a tiny bit more brown sugar.

This chili is wonderful topped with a bit of sour cream, cheese, green onions and cilantro, Serve with corn bread. If you have leftovers you could serve it over cooked pasta such as macaroni or spaghetti noodles.




  1. Looks like a wonderful night together cooking and eating. Love the chili. :)

  2. Oh... Yum! This is a beautiful, hearty chili!