Spicy Vegetarian Chili: Seasonal Chef Recipe


You are not going to miss the meat in this spicy vegetarian chili. Made with a combination of lentils, farro and freekeh, this chili is not only filling and incredibly healthy but has a nice spicy mole flavor. Don’t let the ingredient list dissuade you;  most of them go in a blender and then added to the pot. The best part is this spicy, filling, mole flavored vegetarian chili cooks in under an hour, and tastes even better the next day. Click here: to read more about freekeh from our Seasonal Chef.

Spicy Vegetarian Chili

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 8 - 10 servings

This vegetarian chili is adapted from a recipe I came across on the 101Cookbooks web site. Using their idea of mixing beans and grains, I incorporated a mole flavor giving this chili a rich and spicy depth of flavor.


  • 2 cups onion, 1/4" dice, about 2 medium
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • Kosher salt
  • --
  • 1 - 28 ounce can plum tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped in 1/4 " pieces
  • 2-3 tablespoons of mild chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of ancho chili powder, optional (see note)
  • 1 whole chipotle with a little adobo sauce, from a can
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 cups stock, vegetable or chicken, divided
  • --
  • 1 1/2 cups tiny lentils, beluga or du Puy
  • 2/3 cup farro
  • 2/3 cup freekah
  • 1 - 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed well
  • Hot water
  • Shredded cheddar and tortilla chips, garnish


  1. Over medium heat, in a large dutch oven, sauté the onion, garlic and a teaspoon of salt in the canola oil for 5 minutes; until the onion becomes golden brown.
  2. While the onion and garlic cook puree the tomatoes, ginger, chilis, cumin, almonds, raisins, cocoa, cinnamon and 4 cups of stock, until smooth.
  3. Raise the heat on the onions and add the tomato mix and another 4 cups of stock to the pot. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add the lentils, farro and freekah, lower the heat to a simmer and set the timer for 30 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
  5. After 30 minutes add 1 cup of hot water and the pinto beans and stir into the pot. Turn off the heat and leave the pot on the stove. Stir after 5 minutes, taste for seasoning and add salt to taste. If the chili is still a little thick for your liking, add one more cup of hot water and stir to incorporate.
  6. Serve with grated cheddar cheese and tortilla chips if desired.


If you have various kinds of ground chili powders feel free to experiment. I used 2 tablespoons of mild chili and 1 1/2 teaspoons of ancho chili. If you don't have ground ancho chili simply use 3 tablespoons of mild chili powder. If you like a lot of heat you can add another chipotle to the puree, but taste it first before adding. This does have a nice kick as written.



About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She's an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmer's markets, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam), Instagram (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

Leave A Reply