Irresistible Vegetarian Chili

I’m aware that there’s a good deal of ambiguity in the title of this post. Could this be a chili consisting entirely of beautiful vegetarians? Or maybe after consuming it one acquires irresistibility. Or perhaps it is just an extremely mouth-watering concoction. You may select your favorite interpretation.

For those of you not “in the know”, as well as those of you who haven’t yet deemed it necessary to sneak GPS tracking chips onto my person, I moved to Morocco two weeks ago.1 In an effort to experience the culture here more fully,2 I have been fasting for the first week of Ramadan. By the time mid-afternoon rolls around, it becomes extremely difficult to think about anything but food. Generally I try to avoid looking at pictures of food, walking past restaurants, or doing any grocery shopping. Today I’m making an exception. Ramadan is perhaps not the best time to be salivating over past meals, but I have to do something to occupy my time until sundown.3

Irresistible Vegetarian Chili


  • 1 29oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 fresh tomatoes (optional, but delicious)
  • 1 15oz can kidney beans
  • 1 15oz can pinto beans
  • 1 15oz can corn
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, chopped4
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (brown or white)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1  teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder (optional)

This might be the simplest recipe I have ever posted. Three steps.

1) Chop the vegetables and put in a large pot5

2) Stir in all your spices6

3) Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours.7

And you’re done! Don’t forget your freshly grated cheddar cheese. I usually serve my chili with a side of crusty bread, but it’s also great on rice or pasta. And one of these days, I’ll have to try it with couscous. Serves two, plus a small army. Each time I make this I end up filling several containers with leftovers.

  1. Don’t worry, an account of my adventures with photographic proof is coming soon. []
  2. And not at all because two Moroccan friends dared me to. []
  3. See how dedicated I am to you, dear readers? Torturing myself just to bring you good food. []
  4. I like my onion in big chunks. []
  5. You can, of course, easily add meat to this chili. Just brown it with onions, then toss it into the pot! I find that ground turkey is especially tasty in chili. []
  6. Sometimes I pre-mix these before I start, just so this step is a bit faster, but adding them one at a time and noticing the flavor change is also pretty fun. []
  7. If you’re using a slow cooker, set it to low and cook for 8-10 hours. []

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