Best. Chili. Ever.

Looking to add a little heat to your winter? Have I got a chili for you.

I stumbled upon the Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health cookbook a few weeks ago, a fell madly in love. It’s a collection of vegetarian and vegan recipes with a dash of essays on food and health. Great book.

Their “Chili Fest Chili” is hands down the best bowl of chili I’ve ever had, and I’ve experimented with a lot of chili recipes.

One note on chili: I watched nutritionist Julieanna Hever on a talk show recently, and she mentioned the importance of eating leafy green vegetables like kale. (It and it’s green brethren are incredibly dense with nutrients and disease fighting phytochemicals.) After she whipped up a pot of chili, she stirred in a bunch of chopped kale. It’s such a brilliant move. I now keep a bag of chopped kale in the fridge ready to add to stews and chili. Tom is more of a purist with his food and would rather keep chili, well, chili, so I leave the pot alone and stir in a portion of kale to my bowl. Try it and let me know what you think.

And now, I would like to introduce to you the Best. Chili. Ever:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 2 cups diced bell peppers
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon canned chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 15-oz cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed*
  • 1 cup of water*
  • salt
  • 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt (nondairy for vegan)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

* The recipe calls for undrained beans. I always rinse and drain my beans, so I added a cup of water to the recipe to replace the drained bean liquid. Worked fine.


  1. In a soup pot on high heat, warm the oil briefly and then add the onions and bell peppers and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and celery, reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in the cumin, coriander, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, and paprika, cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so the spices won’t stick.
  3. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the chipotles and adobo sauce with the tomatoes. Add the pureed tomatoes, the molasses, the beans, and water to the soup pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring often for 30 minutes. Add salt to taste.
  4. While the chili is cooking, in a small bowl, stir together the yogurt and cilantro and set aside.
  5. Serve the chili topped with the cilantro yogurt.


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