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Five Alarm Meatless Chili

Five Alarm Meatless Chili

By Lindsey Johnson

I expect chili to be spicy. I mean, isn’t that what chili is all about? I always know I have made it spicy enough when my husband says, “It’s perfect.” His definition of spicy and mine vary quite a bit. He likes to hang out at the upper end of the Scoville scale. I prefer to be able to actually taste my food. But sometimes I get it right and we can both enjoy the same level of spicy…even if it means I end up drinking a few glasses of milk and popping a few antacids to get through the meal. (I’m not joking.) This meatless chili fits the bill for both of us. It’s a good middle ground between too spicy and just spicy enough. It’s smoky and hot from ground chipotle powder, plus fresh jalapeños and New Mexican chili powder. If you prefer a milder chili, just add less chipotle and jalapeños.

Note: If you want a milder chili, cut down on or omit the jalapeños and ground chipotle. Substitute 2 Tablespoons (or more) of canned chipotles in adobo for the ground chipotle.

Read More Recipe: Slow Cooker Chili


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, diced
  • 1-2 large or 3 medium jalapeños, diced (remove seeds and ribs for a milder chili)
  • 1/4 cup New Mexican chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 heaping teaspoons ground chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2-3 cups cooked or canned black beans
  • juice of 1 large lime
  • sea salt, to taste

For serving:

  • sour cream
  • cilantro
  • jalapeño slices
  • lime
  • diced onion or shallot


1. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until onion begins to soften.

2. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two, until fragrant.

3. Add the bell pepper and jalapeño and cook until the vegetables are all soft and turning golden brown. Lower the heat as necessary to prevent them from burning.

4. Add the chili powder, oregano, and ground chipotle to the pan. Stir constantly to toast the spices for about 30-60 seconds. Add the oregano, tomatoes, beans, and lime juice. Bring to a low simmer. Cover and let cook for 30-45 minutes, or longer, to allow flavors to meld. Taste and add some sea salt, if needed.

5. Ladle into bowls and top with desired toppings and garnishes.

Yields: 4-6 servings