Chunky Vegetarian Chili

The ancho chili is the dried version of the Poblano pepper. Ancho chiles have a deep red color and a wrinkled skin. Anchos are sweet and smoky with a flavor slightly reminiscent of raisins. Their heat is mild to medium-hot.

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2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (30 ml)
1 medium red onion, diced
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
4 teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 tablespoons chili powder*
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 small cans diced tomatoes (15 ounces or 400 grams)
1 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (15 ounces or 400 grams)
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained (15 ounces or 400 grams)
2 cups water or veggie stock
1 tablespoon liquid smoke (optional)
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped + more for garnishing
1 to 2 teaspoons lime juice or apple cider vinegar, to taste

*To make chili powder: grind a dried chile pepper in a coffee or spice grinder till a fine powder.

Optional Garnishes:
more cilantro
sour cream
tortilla chips


In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and salt. Stir to combine and then cook until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep the veggies from burning to the bottom of the pot.

Add the crushed garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano and smoked paprika. Cook for another minute stirring constantly to combine.
Add the diced tomatoes and their juices, the drained beans, vegetable broth (or water), liquid smoke (if you are using it) and one bay leaf. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue cooking, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, for at least 30 minutes. Remove the chili from heat.

Next you’re going to mash or blend the chili to get the best texture. You can do this a few different ways: You can use an immersion blender to briefly blend the chili right in the pot or you can transfer 1-2 cups of the chili to a blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively you can also use a potato masher to break up some of the larger chunks.

Add the chopped cilantro and lime juice to taste. Season with additional salt and serve.