This Texas style vegetarian chili has deep smokey flavors complemented by hints of coffee and chocolate. With a bit of spice and a hint of sweetness, this may become your favorite chili!
Vegetarian | Vegan | Gluten-Free
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This chili has been renamed over and over again. In all honesty, I feel incredibly uncomfortable and a bit vulnerable using the words “Texas Style” when referring to a pot of vegetarian chili. To add a bit more irony, many Texans do not include beans in their chili…unless they are calling it con carne. That would be another recipe. No, in Texas, beans are served on the side. But, here’s the thing…even vegetarians crave the flavors of traditional recipes…without the meat. So, let’s just accept that this is by no means authentic, of course, but the flavors are inspired by Texas chili.
With all of that said, let’s talk about those deep, rich flavors. This chili is spicy, a bit sweet, with deep, full-bodied umami. The combination of chilis, fresh jalapeño and smokey ancho chili is wonderful. Traditional Texan chili can use up to five or six different varieties of chilis, but in keeping this doable at home, this version is a bit simpler. To still get those deep flavors, I love the addition of dark brown sugar or coconut sugar. Both will add a sweet, rich molasses flavor. But, the secret in really amping up this chili is adding the full-bodied flavors of coffee and chocolate. Doesn’t that sound amazing?
To easily capture those rich undertones of coffee and chocolate, I use all natural, GMO-free Nielsen-Massey’s Pure Coffee Extract and Pure Chocolate Extract. They are a simple way to add rich flavor to dishes like this. Just one teaspoon of their coffee extract is equivalent to one quarter cup of coffee making it simple to adjust to taste. The chocolate extract’s flavor is like deep dark chocolate and compliments the smokey, spicy chilis nicely.
I usually top my chilis off with lots of sour cream, avocado and cheese. This chili is so robust and has such a great taste that personally, just a squeeze of fresh lime and add some crunchy tortilla chips to make me happy. My family really loved this topped with a bit of aged white cheddar as well.
This chili tastes best simmered for a bit, but really, you could whip this up really quickly and have dinner on the table in a bit over thirty minutes. Now doesn’t that sound perfect?
Vegetarian | Vegan | Gluten-Free
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large jalapeño, diced (seeds and ribs removed if you'd like less heat)
- 1½ tablespoons ground cumin
- 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cayenne (or more, to taste)
- 2 14.5-ounce cans petit cut diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar or coconut sugar
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon masa harina (see Notes)
- 2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 15-ounce cans small red beans, drained and rinsed
- 1½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Coffee Extract
- 2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Pure Chocolate Extract
- fresh lime wedges
- grated aged white cheddar
- tortilla chips
- In a heavy pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook for about five minutes or until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and jalapeño. Cook for an additional minute or two. Add the spices and stir just to coat for a few seconds until they become fragrant. Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper and masa harina. Stir and add the beans, broth and extracts. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer covered for at least 30 minutes.
- Serve with a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice and, if you'd like, some grated aged cheddar.
Beer or no beer? I've omitted beer from this recipe to keep it gluten-free, but you can absolutely add up to one bottle of beer in this recipe. Add it with the tomatoes and simmer for just a minute. Omit the vegetable broth, unless you need to loosen things up a bit. Remember…it will no longer be gluten-free if you use beer.
Inspired by Texas Chili, New York Times.