Emeril’s Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili
Vegetarian Chili

When I am stressed, I find  slicing, dicing, and cutting to be quite therapeutic. A few Sundays ago, after a full weekend of children and adult activities, I was ready for a date with my cutting board, chef knife, and soup pot for some immediate stress relief.

I turned on my flat-screened cooking companion and the stove. The sweet aroma of sauteed onions and peppers filled the kitchen as Brad handed out red roses on the prerecorded episode of The Bachelor.  Cooking therapy was exactly what I needed to help me unwind and clear my head.

Chili requires no introduction but it is worth mentioning that this particular vegetarian variation is healthy, hearty, comforting, and warms the soul.  And this soulful combination of spices, protein, and vegetables is enhanced when you let it sit in the pot overnight and soak up its own delicious flavor.  So, I made enough for my family to enjoy the results of my stress-relief-therapy for the next day, the next day, and the day after that.

Vegetarian Chili
Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

Adapted from The Food Network


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 cup chopped red bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 to 3 Serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced, depending upon taste
  • 1 medium zucchini, stem ends trimmed and cut into small dice
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
  • 1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms (about 5 large), stemmed, wiped clean and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (or 1 can fire roasted tomatoes)
  • 3 cups cooked black beans, or canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup vegetable stock, or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Cooked brown rice, accompaniment. I’ve also used barley and farro
  • Sour cream or strained plain yogurt, garnish
  • Diced avocado, garnish
  • Essence, recipe follows, garnish
  • Chopped green onions, garnish


  1. In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, and Serrano peppers, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the zucchini, corn, and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until soft and the vegetables give off their liquid and start to brown around the edges, about 6 minutes.
  4. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the tomatoes and stir well.
  6. Add the beans, tomato sauce, and vegetable stock, stir well, and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.
  9. To serve, place 1/4 cup of brown rice in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle the chili into the bowls over the rice. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and spoonful of avocado. Sprinkle with Essence and green onions and serve.

Emeril’s Essence Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast)

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Vegetarian Chili
Vegetarian Chili

Wine Pairing

We opened a bottle of local Zin and felt  it was a perfect match to the spicy chili. “No Wimpy Wines” is Ravenswood’s motto and Ravenswood Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel is definitely not a wimpy wine. It is very well made, bold and complex in flavor, fruity and a little brassy, and just a lot of fun to drink!

Vegetarian Chili
Vegetarian Chili
Vegetarian Chili
Vegetarian Chili
Vegetarian Chili
Vegetarian Chili

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