Recipe: The Best Vegetarian Chili

othersidecafechiliIn early November I learned that one of my favorite local vegetarian restaurants, The Other Side Café off Newbury Street, would be closing. (It was also the same day I found out Community was going on hiatus so worst day ever, but I digress.) I knew I needed to go back for one last hurrah at Other Side and pronto. Incidentally I was downtown at a work conference last Thursday and was able to go to the Other Side during the lunch break. Victory! I intended to go to have one last cheese plate but also felt compelled to try their vegetarian chili. I’m so glad I did, it was delicious. They have used the same recipe for the last 18 years and their magic ingredient is bulgur wheat. After such a delicious chili experience, I knew I needed to make my own version. So this past Sunday, I busted out my Le Creuset and got to work.

Domestocrat’s Vegetarian Chili
2 cups stock (any kind works but use veggie if you want to keep this truly vegetarian)
One 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
One 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes, no salt
Two 15 oz. cans of tomato sauce
One 15 oz. can of corn
One 15 oz. can of cannellini beans
One 15 oz. can of black beans
1.5 cups salsa
2 cups pearl barley
1 green pepper, chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
3 ribs of celery
2 cups carrots
3 tbsp. EVOO
1 tsp. red pepper flake
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. black pepper
2 tsp. shallot salt


Start by making the base of the chili. The base is essentially all of the vegetables but they need time to cook down and soften. Start by using your food pro to mince down the celery and carrots into very small pieces.


Place this mixture, along with the rest of the chopped vegetables and the EVOO, into a cast iron pot or dutch oven. Saute over medium-high heat for 15 minutes.


At this point the vegetables will have begun to soften. Keeping the heat on medium-high, add the stock and place the cover on the pot, stirring occasionally, for another 15 minutes.


After that time the vegetables should be soft and tender. Now add in the spices and mix thoroughly. You should taste the chili later to make sure these measurements are to your own liking (more on that later).


Now is the time to add in the canned tomatoes…


…and all of the beans. Reduce the heat to low and cover for 10 minutes.


Because I didn’t have bulgur wheat like the Other Side uses in their chili, I used barley instead. I took 1/2 cup and ground it up in my spice grinder. I wanted this powdered barley to simply be a thickening agent throughout the chili.


I then added my barley powder and the rest of my whole barley.


The final addition was the corn.


I then covered my chili and let it simmer over low heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Before you are done simmering the chili make sure to taste for seasoning and heat level, adjusting to your preferred taste. Also, this chili is chunky and thick. If you prefer it to be less so, add more stock to thin it out. I prefer it chunky so I left mine alone.


When the chili was done I actually divided it up into five portions to have this week at work for lunch. Just a quick reheat in the microwave and I have a hearty and healthy lunch. So good!


This chili came out delicious, I really can’t wait to make it again. It’s very veggie heavy which I love. You really don’t miss the meat at all between all the vegetables, beans, and barley. This chili is spicy, filling, comforting, and totally satisfying. Bring on the winter; this chili will keep me warm!


Author: Domestocrat

I'm a lady who enjoys photography, football, cooking, long drives with the windows down, This American Life, kettlecorn, hot yoga, pop punk, my nephews, my cat Reggie, and my home: Boston.

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