A Chili for All Seasons, and People!

by Michele Hunter

I attended a potluck luncheon recently, and because several attendees were vegetarians, I wanted to contribute a dish that would be appealing to both non-vegetarians and vegetarians alike.  I once again turned to a favorite recipe for “Vegetarian Black Bean Chili,” which is based on one I found a few years ago in a cookbook in the Howard County Library System collection, Dinners in a Dish or a Dash by Jean Anderson.

I’ve made a few changes to the original recipe over the years, and the dish is always a hit.  It’s one of  the recipes I’m asked for most frequently and is easy, healthy, and quick— taking only about 30-40 minutes start to finish. I have also made this dish for a vegetarian friend who is gluten and lactose sensitive. She, too, asked for the recipe and now makes it for her family.  Serving the chili with some brown rice makes the dish a complete protein; just add a salad and you have a colorful, delicious, and healthy meal that will please just about anyone!

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili*

2 T. extra virgin olive
1 C. chopped onion
1 large celery rib, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 large yellow bell pepper, diced
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 fifteen oz. cans black beans
2 ten oz. cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, liquid included
4 T. orange juice
1 T. fresh lemon or lime juice
½ tsp. hot red pepper sauce
¼ C. chopped flat-leafed parsley

1.    Heat oil in a large 4-quart saucepan over moderate heat for 1 minute.  Sauté the onion, celery, peppers, garlic, cumin, and oregano, stirring constantly until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes.
2.    Add the 2 cans of beans and their liquid, tomatoes, orange and lemon juices, parsley, and the hot pepper sauce.  NOTE: do not add salt as the canned beans and tomatoes usually have enough. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer, cover and cook 20 to 30 minutes.
1.    Serve over cooked brown rice if desired.  Additional condiments such as grated  cheese, sour cream, or chopped green onions may be added.


  1. I can’t wait to try this recipe! I have a vegetarian chili recipe for the crock pot- but this one is much less time intensive.