Veggie Chili

Finally, a recipe request from my son Ben! He and his partner, Per, try to eat a plant-based diet and I replaced the meat with bulgur. If you’re not familiar with bulgur, it’s a whole wheat grain that has been cracked and partially cooked. It comes in different “grinds” and I prefer #3 grind, but it’s not as readily available as the finer ones. Whatever you find will work well!

Chili is supposed to be spicy; you can omit the cayenne pepper if you want. If you’re a fan of hot and smoky chili, try adding a bit of chipotle pepper. I buy the small cans of chipotle in adobo sauce which is in the Hispanic section of your grocery store. A little goes a long way so once you open the can, store the remaining peppers and sauce in a plastic container in the refrigerator. It will last for months. Try stirring some into mayonnaise for a sandwich spread. Delicious!


Serves 6-8

  • 2 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped ~ see chopping an onion 
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped ~ see chopping bell peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced ~ see mincing garlic 
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 15.5-ounce cans kidney or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • sour cream, cheddar cheese, avocado for garnish
1.Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the cup of bulgur, and stir. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cook for 15 minutes. When you reduce the heat to its lowest setting, it’s called simmering.

2.While the bulgur is cooking, cook the veggies. Put a large pot over medium low heat and add the oil. Add the onions and the peppers and cook, stirring frequently, for 8-10 minutes or until the veggies look softened.

3.Add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the tomatoes and the oregano, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, sugar and remaining 2 teaspoons of salt along with 1/2 cup of water. Mix well. 4.Add the bulgur to the pot. Don’t worry if it’s a bit wet and clumpy. When you stir the chili, just smash the lumps with your spoon. 5.Add the drained beans to the pot and stir to combine. Bring the chili to a gentle boil (when you see a few bubbles), cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently because the bulgur will stick to the bottom of the pot if you don’t! 6.Taste for seasoning and serve. Since I like spicy chili, I serve it with some shredded cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and cubes of avocado. Grocery Bag: Veggie Chili