Recipe Review

Cookie & Kate Just Taught Me the Secret to the Best-Ever Vegetarian Chili

published Oct 24, 2021
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Logo: Cookie & Kate

Cookie & Kate’s vegetarian (well, actually vegan) chili recipe looked like a winner from the start. Not only does it have more than a 4.9 rating from almost 1500 reviews, but it also boasts two types of beans and a bunch of veggies, which looks pretty close to how I would make vegetarian chili on my own.

Here’s the twist: Rather than simmer the chili on the stove for a few hours, which is what I’m used to doing, Kate removes some of the chili from the pot, blends it up, then adds it back in. She claims this trick creates a texture and flavor that mimics a chili that’s been on the stove all day, but this version is done in 30 minutes. I was curious to see if this trick really does make a difference — or if it just created more dirty dishes to wash. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Logo: Cookie & Kate

How to Make Cookie & Kate’s Vegetarian Chili

First, you’ll add olive oil, onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery, and salt to a large pot and sauté until the vegetables are softened. Then, add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano and cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic. Add the tomatoes, black beans, pinto beans, vegetable broth, and bay leaf, and simmer the chili for 30 minutes. 

This next step is optional, but worthwhile. Transfer 1 1/2 cups of the chili to a blender and pulse until smooth. Add the mixture back to the chili and stir to combine. Then you’ll add the cilantro, vinegar, and salt, and stir to combine once more.  

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

My Honest Review of Cookie & Kate’s Vegetarian Chili

This chili had me coming back for seconds, and then thirds. It’s exactly what I think of when I imagine what a good chili should be, and I’m certain I’ll be making it all winter long. I love that this recipe had two types of beans (black and pinto), bell peppers and carrots, and the perfect balance of spices. I didn’t miss the meat at all, and actually forgot that was a thing for a minute since I was basking in how good this version was. I was skeptical if blending 1 1/2 cups of the chili and then adding it back to the pot would be worthwhile, and it turned out it was. The texture and flavor really did give the impression that the chili had been sitting on the stove all day, but was done in under an hour. 

Chili aside, this recipe was perfectly written. All of Kate’s timing and visual cues were exactly as she said. This recipe was so good that it made me want to explore Cookie & Kate’s recipe archive to see what other recipes catch my eye. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

If You’re Making Cookie & Kate’s Vegetarian Chili, a Few Tips

  1. Double the recipe: Seriously, this recipe was so good that my only complaint was that there wasn’t enough. The recipe says it serves 4 to 6, but between 3 of us, we nearly finished the entire batch. On Cookie & Kate’s website, you actually have the ability to increase the quantity depending on your group size from the get-go, which I would recommend. 
  2. Don’t skip the acid: The recipe calls for adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of vinegar or lime juice when you’re done making the chili. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but that boost of acid really brightens the chili and adds a depth of flavor. 


Have you tried Cookie & Kate’s vegetarian chili recipe? Let us know in the comments!