Meatless Winter Chili

Zesty peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, beans, herbs and beer make this meatless chili satisfying and delicious.


  • 3-4 ancho chili peppers
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 pound small to medium firm zucchini, chopped into a small dice
  • 2 medium onions, chopped into a small dice
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 fresh red or green hot chili pepper, chopped or thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin (about a palmful)
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander (about a palmful)
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano or marjoram (about 1/3 palmful)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 bottle beer, such as Negra Modelo
  • 1 can black beans (15 ounces), rinsed
  • Juice of 1 lime

Toppers to choose from:

  • Crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded sharp cheddar or smoked cheese, finely chopped scallions or finely chopped onions, lime wedges


Seed and stem the ancho chili peppers. In a large saucepan, cover them with a couple of cups of water, bring to a boil and simmer to soften, 10 minutes.

In a large pot, heat the EVOO, four turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, brown for 7-8 minutes, then add the zucchini, onions, garlic, fresh hot chili pepper, spices, herbs, salt and pepper; stir frequently for 10 minutes. Add in the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute; add in the beer and deglaze the pan. Stir in the beans. Puree the ancho chili peppers in 1/2 cup of the water used to soften them, then add to the chili. Bring to a bubble, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes to combine the flavors. Add the lime juice. Serve with the toppers.

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