Fridge Clearing Veggie Chili

Fridge Clearing Veggie Chili |

Maybe you noticed that I totally played hooky on the blog last week. I had grand plans to share a really awesome waffle recipe, but after a particularly busy week of lawyering, snow shovelling, and little-nose wiping, I chose wine over writing. You get it, right?

While I was taking a break from blogging, Wiarton Willy or Punxsutawney Phil (or whichever personified groundhog in which you place your trust) apparently forecasted six more weeks of winter. Which suggests that I can expect plenty more busy weeks of shovelling and nose-wiping before we get any spring-like respite.

In the meantime I’m still on a serious soup, stew, chili rotation over here in the K&B Kitchen. And perhaps the only upside to prolonged winterdom is that I get to share even more of our one-pot favourites with you guys.

Fridge Clearing Veggie Chili |

It’s a little crazy that I’ve been writing this blog for over two years but have never not once shared a chili recipe. I imagined, I guess, that most people didn’t long for a chili recipe, because for me chili has always been one of those dump-whatever-you-have-into-a-pot sort of endeavours. But invariably, whenever I post a picture of chili on Instagram or some other social media, I get at least one or two rather desperate pleas for the recipe.

So here is that recipe. Or the veggie version, at least. (I do make a meat one, occasionally, and I will share that one day.) If you’ve already got your own favourite chili recipe you can feel free to move right along OR (better yet) use the “comments” section below to link to it or tell me why yours is way freakin’ better than mine. Don’t worry, I can handle it.

Fridge Clearing Veggie Chili |

I’ve called my version “Fridge Clearing Chili,” which I appreciate  is a bit like calling water “gluten free”. Vegetarian chili is naturally, and should always be, a mechanism for clearing out the almost-expired contents of your refrigerator. If you have to go the grocery store to get the ingredients, then you should definitely be making something more exciting than chili.

Because this recipe is intended to truly be the path to refrigerator catharsis, I haven’t specified what vegetables should be included in it. I leave it up to you to add whatever you’ve got lying around, although I would steer clear of the brassica-type veggies, like cauliflower, broccoli or cabbage. My version usually incorporates some combination of zucchini, carrot, celery, peppers and mushrooms, but I have also added sweet potato and butternut squash with happy results.

The recipe also calls for a “booster liquid” which doesn’t sound particularly appetizing I realize, but is meant to embrace a wide spectrum of flavourful liquids. Beer is best (in my opinion) but wine, vegetable stock or water will do the trick.

Chili on its own is just ok. What makes it really awesome (and super kid-friendly to boot) is serving it with a selection of tasty accompaniments: quinoa, rice or baked potato on the bottom, and grated cheddar cheese, pickled onions, chopped avocado, shredded cabbage, minced green onions and sour cream on the top. Set it up like a “build your own” chili bar kind of thing, and you might even woo the veggie-shunners in  your family. And if you want to really hit things out of the park, fry up a sunny side up egg and throw that on the top of a steaming bowl of chili. It’s what they eat in heaven, I’m pretty sure.

Fridge Clearing Veggie Chili |

Ok, now your turn to talk chili to me. If you make this recipe, rate it below (good or bad; I can deal!) or comment and tell me whether your family liked it, what tweaks you made, etc. And if you’ve got a beloved chili recipe, share it below. Links are welcome.

Fridge Clearing Veggie Chili
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe is really flexible. You can use whatever veggies you have in the fridge, and serve it with your favourite toppings. My kids love it with lots of sour cream, chopped avocado and grated cheddar. I expect that you could make this in the slow cooker, although you would have to reduce the liquid quite a bit. It doesn't take much time on the stove, so I prefer to do it that way. You can absolutely make this in advance, and I highly recommend that in fact, because it tastes even better on day 2 and 3. It freezes well, too.
Serves: 6-8
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil (I use avocado oil, but any veg oil will work)
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4-6 cups chopped vegetables (e.g. carrots, celery, zucchini, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, peppers)
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder (the Mexican mixed stuff, not ground chilis)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 large (28 oz / 796 mL) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups "booster liquid" (see note below)
  • 2 small (14 oz / 398 mL) cans beans (e.g. black beans, chick peas, kidney beans or pinto beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn (optional)
  • 1 can sliced black olives, drained and rinsed (optional)
  1. Heat the cooking oil in a large pot or dutch oven set over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and sautee for a few minutes or until they soften.
  3. Add the garlic and vegetables and cook, stirring regularly, until they begin to soften.
  4. Stir in the chili powder and cumin. When you can smell the spices, add the tomatoes and "booster liquid". Bring to a boil and then reduce the temperature to low and simmer until the vegetables are tender.
  5. Add the beans and the corn and olives (if using) and cook until they are heated through.
  6. Serve over quinoa, rice or baked potatoes with your toppings of choice (such as sour cream, grated cheese, chopped avocado and green onion).
Use one of the following as your "booster liquid": 1 cup beer/2 cups water, 1 cup red wine/2 cups water, 3 cups veg or chicken stock, 1 tablespoon miso paste/3 cups water.


10 Responses to Fridge Clearing Veggie Chili

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