Detroit Eats

Musings of A Detroit Based Food Fanatic

Meatless Fridays #1– Vegetarian Chili

with 24 comments


This is the first in a series of meatless Friday posts. Today we are having vegetarian chili. Lately even if I make chili with meat I add just a little bit. As it happens the older I get the more I seem to appreciate non meat dishes. This is not to say that I am a burgeoning vegetarian,I still love steak, ribs and chicken, But I eat them in moderation.

     The origin of chili,although somewhat vague, seems to go back to a Spanish nun named Sister Maria de Agreda who, in the late 1600, was reported to have taught the Indians how to make a stew of Venison. Later an American version became popular. it was Made of Dried Beef,Suet,Dried Chili Peppers and Salt that were pounded together in to a brick and dried. This could then be carried on the trail,without refrigeration, and boiled in a pot of water to rehydrate the mix. During the 1880’s Mexican women in San Antonio known as”Chili Queens” would build fires and reheat Cauldrons of Chili to sell to passersby.

     In 1893 Chili went national when the”San Antonio Chili Stand was a feature at the 1893 worlds fair in Chicago. It was so successful that Chili became the official dish of the state of Texas. In the early 1900 Chili parlors began popping up all through the Midwest cementing Chili’s place in the American kitchen.

       Purists will say that real Chili has no beans but the truth is that the majority of people who make Chili add beans. Meatless Chili or “Vegetarian Chili” became popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s as the Vegetarian movement became firmly established the the country, as a whole, became more health conscious. Whether you like your Chili with meat or without one thing is certain,Chili is one of the most popular dishes in America.

     This is my version of Vegetarian Chili. It contains all the usual stuff with a few surprises.

Vegetarian Chili

1 medium onion diced
2 stalks of celery diced
1 carrot diced
1 tablespoon on minced garlic
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 tablespoon Chili Powder
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 can diced tomato (14.5 oz)
3 cups vegetable stock or water
salt to taste
1 can kidney beans,drained and rinsed
1 can black beans,drained and rinsed
1 square bittersweet chocolate
3-4 tablespoon cornmeal



Sauté Onion,Celery,Carrot and garlic in vegetable oil for approx 2 minutes
Add Chili powder,cumin and Italian seasoning and continue sautéing until vegetable become translucent.
Add diced tomato, vegetable stock and bring to a boil.Then lower to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes.
Add both cans of bean and simmer for 15 minute longer.
Add chocolate square and stir until melted.
Sprinkle cornmeal on the top of the Chili and then stir in.
Allow to simmer until thickened.
Serve with your favorite topping (mine is Cheddar cheese and sour cream!)


  • I add the Chocolate because it adds a depth of flavor (Umami). Its not so far fetched when you think about Mole sauce and the use of Chocolate and Chiles in Mexico.
  • I use cornmeal as a thickener because it adds flavor. It works great and it gets soft as it absorbs the liquid so there is no grit.

Hasta Luego! (See you later!)


Written by Ed Schenk

February 27, 2010 at 9:38 pm

24 Responses

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  1. This is very attention-grabbing, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and
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    July 27, 2013 at 1:34 am

  2. Super Post, what do your reader think about jamie oliver? There are some very good jamie oliver inspited recipes mydish. I have also sent this post to my twitter account.

    easy Recipes

    March 11, 2010 at 1:38 am

    • I have heard many favorable comments on Jamie Oliver. I think he definitly has a point of view and something to say.

      Ed Schenk

      March 11, 2010 at 3:21 am

  3. I may have missed the reference at some point, but why meatless Fridays? I’m the same as well, I love my steak & potatoes, but I don’t need ’em every day to feel fulfilled food wise. The recipe looks like a gem. Thanks for sharing Ed!


    March 5, 2010 at 6:14 am

    • It’s a Lenten reference. I was being politically correct.

      Ed Schenk

      March 5, 2010 at 6:57 am

      • “DOH!” Makes sense. 😛


        March 5, 2010 at 7:11 am

  4. Wow – I like the unexpected additions to this chili. I’m gonna have to try it


    March 4, 2010 at 10:06 pm

  5. you can’t beat a good chili and wow how cool to have a food from a Japanese chef


    March 2, 2010 at 10:29 am

  6. This chili looks so healthy and delicious! I love that it’s vegetarian, too!

  7. The chocolate reminds me of a mole – like the added depth that it adds. I never would have thought to add the corn meal but I like that ideas as a thickener, probably would have added hominy – like your version!


    March 1, 2010 at 10:43 am

  8. Thank-you so much for stopping by my blog and for your wonderful comment.
    You have a wonderful website here. Your recipes look simply devine. Great work.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

    Lisa's Gluten-Free

    March 1, 2010 at 9:35 am

  9. This looks like a very good chili. Intriguing that you added chocolate and corn meal.

  10. Ed, can you believe that I haven’t cooked chili at home? Love the idea of using two kind of beans and of course the chocolate square, I am sure that tastes as good as it looks 🙂


    March 1, 2010 at 4:04 am

    • Fell fre to embelish.make it your own. That’s what makes great food!

      Ed Schenk

      March 1, 2010 at 4:56 am

  11. Your pictures are looking great Ed! My husband has been asking me to find a chili recipe all day and I think I’ve finally found one! For the Adopt-a-Blogger, I think it makes the most sense for you to pick a recipe from our blog. Unfortunately, we haven’t featured tortiere yet, but there are lots of options that we’ve really enjoyed.


    February 28, 2010 at 2:43 pm

  12. Bittersweet chocolate?! Okay, I gotta try this… Sort of reminds me of mole. Love the meatless Friday idea, I’m definitely going to check back on Fridays =)

    The Savvy Soybean

    February 28, 2010 at 11:12 am

    • Please do check back. I am trying to get my writing organized in themes and this is a good one.

      Ed Schenk

      March 1, 2010 at 12:11 am

  13. Looks good. Great photo Ed.


    February 28, 2010 at 5:13 am

  14. That’s a good lookin’ bowl of chili! I made chili last week and added a little chocolate to it. It’s a great “secret ingredient”.


    February 28, 2010 at 4:49 am

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