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Smoky Vegetarian Chili

  • Prep Time:
  • 30 mins
  • Cook Time:
  • 50 mins
  • Total Time:
  • 1 hour(s)
  • 20 mins

Surprisingly substantial for a meatless chili, this recipe comes together quickly but tastes like it’s been simmering for hours thanks to a combination of a few heavy-hitting ingredients. Chili powder (we used Rancho Gordo New Mexican Red Chile Powder) and Las Hermanas Pimentón de la Vera add smoky chile depth, Oliveri Porcini Mushroom Powder and caramelized tomato paste amp up the umami and a touch of Volpaia Red Wine Vinegar adds just the right amount of brightness to balance it all out. We cooked up a batch of Rancho Gordo Pinto Beans to make this chili (a 1 lb bag makes 6 cups of beans), but if you’re short on time, canned beans work well too. If using canned beans, substitute bean broth with vegetarian broth.    

Please note: The total cooking time does not include soaking and cooking the beans.

Serves 4-6


  • 6 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Pinto Beans, plus 2 cups of bean broth*
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped (optional**)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • Garnishes: chopped green onion, grated cheddar, cilantro, tortilla chips, sour cream, etc.
  • *Rancho Gordo’s cooking directions, found on the bag: Check beans for debris, and rinse thoroughly. In a large pot, sauté aromatic vegetables (onions, garlic, celery, carrot, etc.) in olive oil. Add beans and enough water to cover by about 2 inches. Bring to a full boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, using a lid to help regulate the heat, and gently cook until done, 1 to 3 hours. Salt when the beans start to soften. A pre-soak of 2 to 6 hours will lessen the cooking time
  • **Spice lovers will want to add the optional chipotle pepper in adobo sauce for an extra kick of warming heat, but be warned, these can really amplify the spice.


In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chopped onion, celery, bell pepper and carrot. Season with salt and pepper to taste, about ¼ teaspoon salt and a couple of grinds of cracked pepper. Saute until the vegetables are just soft, but not browning, about 8 minutes.

Add minced garlic, chile powder, smoked paprika, ground cumin, oregano, porcini powder and tomato paste to vegetables. Stir to combine, allowing the tomato sauce to caramelize slightly and the garlic and spices to become fragrant. Cook for about 1 minute.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add Spacatelle tomatoes with their juices and crush the large pieces with your hands or back of a spoon into small chunks.   

Add the tomatoes and juices, chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (if using) and water to the vegetable mixture inside the pot. Stir to combine.

Add cooked beans, bean cooking liquid and bay leaf. Stir again to combine.

Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the flavors have thoroughly meld, about 30-40 minutes.

Remove bay leaf. Stir in red wine vinegar and maple syrup. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Ladle chili into bowls and serve with garnishes.