Worknight Dinner Recipe: Every Vegetable Chili

by Maris Callahan on December 13, 2009


Ever since I moved to Chicago I’ve been fascinated by some of the unusual architecture in the city. It seems that on every corner, in every park there is a different statue – a different interpretation of classic American or modern art.

Even though the American Gothic is both awe-inspiring and fascinating (and bone-chillingly creepy. Yeah, I went there) I’m a lot more perplexed by “the bean” (pictured above) in Millennium Park. Actually titled “Cloud Gate” the sculpture is actually a 110-ton series of polished stainless steel plates inspired by liquid mercury. At 66 by 33 feet, it’s the largest sculpture of its kind and offers a mirror image of the city skyline.


But this is a food blog, not an art blog or an architecture blog. Even though “the bean” is a noteworthy Chicago landmark, we’re here to talk about a different kind of bean: the kind that mixes well with diced tomatoes, ground beef or turkey and vegetables.

To me, chili is a one-pot go-to meal for busy nights. Even though some chili recipes suggest cooking it for hours, I’ve made plenty of chili recipes that are especially suitable for busy weeknights: Classic Turkey Chili, Spicy Chicken Cornbread Chili and White Bean & Apple Chili. I’ve even experimented with other vegetable chili recipes.

Yet, you can never have too many healthy, vegetable-laden recipes in your repertoire. This one has plenty of colorful vegetables and is so hearty that you don’t even need to serve it with rice. Even so, a hunk of cornbread with caramelized onions never hurt anyone.


Every Vegetable Chili


    1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
    1 small onion
    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    1 green bell pepper, chopped
    4 Tablespoons chili powder
    2 teaspoons cumin
    2 teaspoons Tabasco or hot pepper sauce (optional)
    15-ounce can red kidney beans
    28 ounce can diced tomatoes
    1 can tomato paste
    4 oz canned diced green chiles
    2 small zucchini
    1 small yellow (summer) squash
    2 cups fresh or frozen yellow corn


    1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat. Cook onions, garlic, red and green peppers until tender. Add chili powder and cumin, cook about 5 minutes longer.

    2. Pour in the chili beans, spicy chilies, diced tomatoes, hot sauce and tomato paste. Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least an hour or until chili begins to simmr, stirring occasionally.

    3. After an hour, taste, season with salt, pepper, and more hot sauce, if necessary. Stir in zucchini and yellow squash Remove from heat and serve, or refrigerate, and serve the next day. Leftovers will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

    { 10 comments… read them below or add one }

    beyond December 13, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    i love when you share non-food snippets of your life… i make a version (or versions) of this. you can never go wrong with any variation of it. yum.


    Amy J in SC December 13, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    What a great place for zucchini.
    Are you freezing in Chicago? I was hoping you’d be heading south. Merry Christmas!


    Daryl December 14, 2009 at 5:02 am

    lookd pretty hearty-actually-pretty and hearty!!!


    kate December 14, 2009 at 7:54 am

    The more veggies, the better. Perfect for those chilly December nights.


    Heidi Renée December 14, 2009 at 9:50 am

    This sounds so good right now. I love chili, but my husband not so much. I hardly ever make it now!


    kat December 14, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Chili is so much fun because you can mess with the ingredients in so many ways!


    Sandie (Inn Cuisine) December 14, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Fun! I didn’t realize you had made the move to Chicago. Next time we come north—let’s plan on a visit! Enjoy the windy city this holiday season and make sure you pay a visit to Christkindlmarket Chicago—don’t forget to bring your camera! ;)


    mandy December 16, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    In my book you can never go wrong with any sort of chili, especially in the winter.


    Jeff December 17, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    I live pretty close to Chicago and when I visit I come up via the South Shore Line which drops off by Millennium Park. During the summer I will go wander and that bean sculpture freaks me out. No clue why. However, it is fun to watch everyone in front of it.
    Nicely done and love this time of year for chili. Oh yeah try to stay warm!


    Maria (realfitmama) December 19, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    That chili looks fantastic! I am soooo in the mood to make some this weekend and it’s the perfect weather for it too!


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