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5 alarm plant-based chili

Plant-based chili fills a ladle over a pot of chili.

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5 alarm plant-based chili is the rich, spicy hot, flavorful, and healthy chili 'non-Carne' that warms you up inside and out.


Units Scale
  • 3-4 dried ancho chilis, broken, seeds removed and soaked in water
  • 2 - 15 oz. (400 gm.) cans tomatoes in juice
  • 4 chipotle chilis + 2 Tbsp. sauce from chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. masa harnia (corn flour for tortillas)
  • 2 Tbsp. date paste
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 1- 2 jalapenos, diced (remove the seeds to control the heat)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 Tbsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. oregano
  • 2 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 bottle dark ‘hoppy’ beer
  • 4 1/2 cups of cooked, mixed beans such as kidney, pinto, or black (3 - 15 oz. or 400 gm. cans)
  • 1 cup dry bulgur
  • 3 cups of water


  1. Start by removing the stems and seeds from the dried chilis. Place them in a warm bowl of water and set them aside while you prepare everything else.
  2. In a blender or food processor, add the canned tomatoes, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, masa harina, and date paste. Drain then dried ancho chilis, and add them to the tomatoes. Blend everything until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large chili pot over medium heat. Add the diced onions and jalapenos. Sauté them for about 5 minutes until they start to soften and the onions become slightly translucent.
  4. Add the minced garlic and the spices (cumin, chili powder, oregano, coriander, and cayenne powder). Mix this together and let the garlic sauté for 30 seconds.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the beer. Stir with a wooden spoon and pick up the pieces of onion from the bottom of the pan. Keep the heat at a slow simmer for about 5 minutes so the beer can settle.
  6. Mix in the tomato mixture, add the beans, bulgur, and 3 cups of water.
  7. Bring the pot to a low boil and then lower the heat to simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes until the bulgur is tender.
  8. Once the bulgur is done, check the consistency, and add more water if needed. Add salt and/or black pepper as desired.


  • Substitute dried Ancho chilis for ground ancho chili, 1 teaspoon for every dried pepper. If you use other dried chilis, use the dark, not red.
  • If you can’t find masa harina, substitute 2 tablespoons of cornmeal or cornflour.
  • If you do not have date paste, you can dice 2 pitted dates and add them to the tomato mixture. You can also use another liquid sweetener like agave syrup or maple syrup.
  • I’ve found that a dark, ‘hoppy’ beer gives the chili more flavor, but use your favorite. If you don’t want to use beer, deglaze the pan with 1 cup of vegetable broth.
  • There are several ‘meaty’ alternatives you can use in place of the bulgur, although I seriously recommend the bulgur. Consider using an extra can of beans, diced portobello mushrooms, soy curls or TVP (textured vegetable protein) crumbles, or 1 cup of whole red lentils.