Trying Vegetarian: Chili

by Nicki on September 16, 2009

in Frugal Food

(There should be a delicious-looking picture of the chili here but I was so worried about my family liking it that I didn’t take one :) )

I recently posted asking for some vegetarian meal ideas and resources. I got some fantastic responses. So fantastic, in fact, that you should go back to read the comments. I got some great recipe ideas and site recommendations. I didn’t waste any time with that info. I’m going to try to make at least one completely meatless dinner per week and see what recipes I can find to add to my fall/winter meal ideas. Each time I try one I’ll let you know how it goes (and hopefully remember to snap a photo for you!)

Today I’m sharing my first attempt. We are fans of chili, especially in the crock pot. It’s easy, tasty and versitile. I usually make it with ground beef, diced tomatoes, kidney beans and seasoning. I decided I was willing to give meatless chili a try so I went to All Recipes and found a slow cooker vegetarian chili that looked tasty.

I was so nervous about making it and how it would turn out. I envisioned taking one bite and then preheating the oven for the backup pizza. (You’re going to think I’m weird for this) I even emailed David at work to warn him that I was making the chili and hoping it came out good. So we sat down to dinner and I waited for him to say something, anything, positive about it. He didn’t say a word. I ate all of mine (and LOVED it) and finally said, “Why haven’t you said anything about the chili!!” David made this weird face and said, “Why are you so worried about this chili? You’ve made it about a hundred times.” I warned him to stop mocking me and reminded him that it was vegetarian chili. Apparently I hadn’t mentioned the vegetarian part in my email to him so he didn’t give it a single thought. When I pointed out that it looks completely different than our usual chili he agreed, all the while I’m wondering how on earth he didn’t notice the 10 extra ingredients.

All that to say … it was wonderful and we both loved it. I’m keeping this recipe around this winter. The beans ended up costing the same amount as the ground beef would have but this recipe made twice as much as the other one I use. I froze half of it for another meal. Down side? My daughter turned her nose up at it and only ate her one required bite. I’m not giving up though. I think it’s only because I don’t usually cook with a lot of beans. She has no idea that lots more are in her future :)

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 (19 ounce) can black bean soup (I just used black beans, no soup)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (16 ounce) can vegetarian baked beans
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chopped tomatoes in puree (I used diced tomatoes, un-drained)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder, or to taste (I used close to 2 tbsp.)
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • dash of red pepper flakes (or more)

Mix all ingredients in the crock pot and cook for at least two hours. Mine slow-cooked for 6 hours. I didn’t use the celery or the garlic. I would have used the garlic (because I LOVE it) but I didn’t realize I had run out of it, so I used some garlic powder instead. We topped it with sour cream and a little cheddar cheese. Really delicious.

Why I do what I do ~ So Chloe didn’t want to eat the chili. She is always required to try at least one bite of every food on her plate. Her one bite of the chili? She picked out the individual pieces of corn to make her one bite. Tricky little kid … Have you liked Domestic Cents on Facebook yet?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nancy from Mass September 16, 2009 at 8:01 am

Yay for you! Vegetarian Chili has so much more flavor (IMHO) than regular chili. If I said Vegetarian Chili here at work, most people would shrink away like it was the plague.
Last night I made Vegetarian Tortilla Soup (recipe from and it was incredible! If you like regular tortilla soup that has chicken, you may like this one also. You don’t even notice that there’s no meat. (although you could use soy crumbles to make it seem ‘meatier’.)
Good Luck and let me know if you want the actual recipe I used last night. :)


2 Nancy from Mass September 16, 2009 at 8:04 am

actually, it’s the only vegetarian tortilla soup recipe on that site!


3 Zengirl September 16, 2009 at 8:26 am

Congratulations on trying to eat more vegetarian, recipe looks great. I think Chole may have eaten only one required bite, as she knew you were tense about the outcome. As a life time vegetarian, and as a mom too, I know my kids tend to pick up my liking or disliking of food, people and places. Try to like it (fake it till you do) and see she may love it too.

I am sure you do not need more recipes, but check out following cooking blogs, they are great.
.-= Zengirl´s last blog ..10 ways to simplify your health =-.


4 Beth @ Smart Family tips September 16, 2009 at 8:45 am

This recipe looks great, Nicki! I’m definitely going to try it. I’ve been cooking with beans more lately, both to replace some of our meat meals and to save some money. To make beans less expensive, try the dry version. All it takes is a soaking over night and you’re ready to go. I’ve found it’s really not more labor-intensive. I just throw the beans in a pot of water before bed, rinse them when I get up in the morning, and then pile everything in the crock-pot.


5 Catherine September 16, 2009 at 9:39 am

Beans are so great! I definitely agree with Beth to go with dried beans instead of cans. Besides being cheaper, less waste is involved, too. Check out my post about dried beans here:

I like to cook them up and then freeze them in 1 1/2 cup portions.


6 Tammy September 16, 2009 at 10:15 am

Sounds yummy! I have a recipe for white chili that uses dried beans. It is so easy, and dried beans cost way less than canned! :)
.-= Tammy´s last blog ..~Fast Food~ =-.


7 momstheword September 17, 2009 at 3:57 pm

This looks like something I ought to try. I’d love to make veg. chili. I, too, am trying to have more meatless meals.

Here’a recipe you might enjoy:

It’s brown rice and lentil tacos and it really is good. My hubby and boys liked it and I wasn’t sure if they would or not, but they loved it. Hubby has asked for it several times.

I didn’t think I’d like it either but I really did.

You could add onions and green peppers to it too, if you wanted.
.-= momstheword´s last blog ..COOKING WITH MOM’S THE WORD =-.


8 jennifer888 from Negotiation Board September 23, 2009 at 9:15 am

I have been a vegetarian since the age of 10 (I was a picky little kid too). I decided to make this lifestyle change probably to spite my carnivorous parents more than anything!
In the 15 years I have been a vegetarian, I have always gotten the question, “Well, what do you eat?” Anything without meat, Duh! One of the best sources of protein I have more recently discovered is Quinoa (Keen-wah). If you haven’t tried it I urge you to give it a go, since it is virtually the only grain that provides all of the essential amino acids to make a complete protein. The best part is that it’s so versatile, like rice, and kid-friendly too!
.-= jennifer888 from Negotiation Board´s last blog ..Negotiating for Moms =-.


9 David August 18, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Oddly enough … I’m starting to crave this! :)
David´s last blog post ..shearerd- – Dice-Ks hip-rocking-thing kind of annoys me when the Sox are losing


10 Nicki August 18, 2010 at 6:09 pm

I’m glad!! :)


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