Veggie chili

A straight-up great chili, chunky and flavorful. You won’t miss the meat, and your kids won’t notice the eggplant. Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Russo and Sheila Lukins.


  • 4-6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, 1/4″ dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1/2″ dice
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, 1/2″ dice
  • 2-3 zucchini, 1/2″ dice
  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (or 2 teaspoons table salt)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons good quality chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chiles
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice or balsamic vinegar

Herbs (any, all or none)

  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill

Toppings (any or all)

  • Sour cream or greek yogurt
  • Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, grated
  • Avocado, cubed or sliced
  • Scallions, sliced thin


  1. Heat 4 tablespoons (1/4 c) olive oil in large Dutch oven or soup pot. Add onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Saute for a few minutes to soften.
  2. Add diced zucchini to pot. Saute for a few minutes to soften.
  3. Add cubed eggplant and stir. If eggplant sticks to pan, add an additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil to pan. Saute a few minutes until eggplant is soft (it will cook down quite a bit).
  4. Add salt, pepper and spices. Stir.
  5. Add diced green chiles, beans, canned tomatoes and 1 cup water. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add more water to loosen chili consistency to taste (1/2 cup to 1 cup).
  7. Add corn and herbs (if using). Cook for another few minutes to heat corn.
  8. Add lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  9. Serve hot garnished with cheese, sour cream, avocado and/or scallions. Serves 8.


  • This is a great dish to make ahead, as it tastes just as good or better the next day.
  • Substitute 3 cups cooked beans for canned. Or try any combination of beans (black, kidney, cannellini, garbanzo).
  • The amount of heat will depend on your chili powder. Add additional crushed red pepper or a dash of cayenne if you like it spicier.
  • Tortilla chips or cornbread make classic accompaniments.

Here’s a link back to the post and pictures: Veggie chili.

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