10 years ago

The holidays are more than a couple days—it’s a season and there are many other occasions beyond the celebrations when getting together for a casual meal is the perfect thing. Maybe you have houseguests, kids home from college, or are hosting an after-ice skating gathering—a simmering pot of chili is just what you need. 

Chili has always been an ideal dish for casual entertaining, perfect for leaving on a low burner while family and friends help themselves. But these days every host is familiar with the difficulties of cooking for a crowd: half your guests demand meat, but the rest? Vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, Paleo diets—it’s a complicated world.

How can you cook for meat lovers and vegetarians in a single pot? This vegetarian recipe offers meat to serve on the side. Gather the whole family!


Chipotle Red Bean Chili with Bulgur, Roasted Peppers, and Optional Chorizo recipe

The smoky flavor of chipotle gives this hearty chili a warming heat, while chewy bulgur has a texture reminiscent of ground beef. This is really a quick and easy chili, but tastes like it takes longer. To make this recipe gluten-free, replace the bulgur wheat with gluten-free, steel-cut oats; they’ll give the finished product a thicker, more viscous texture, but it will still be delicious. 


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • ¼ cup uncooked bulgur (or ½ cup gluten-free, steel-cut oats, uncooked)
  • ¾ cup water or stock
  • 1 14½-ounce can Mexican-flavored diced tomatoes
  • 1 16-ounce can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 12 ounces roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 8-ounce can corn, drained
  • 2 ounces (about ½ cup) chorizo per person, cooked and kept warm

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté about 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir 1 minute. Add bulgur, water or stock, tomatoes, beans, tomato sauce, roasted red peppers, chipotle powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Increase heat to high to bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to maintain a low bubble. Cook, covered, about 15 minutes. Add water if needed. 

Test chili to ensure bulgur is cooked; it should be tender and chewy. Stir in corn and heat through. Serve with 2 ounces cooked chorizo per bowl, if desired. 

Amount: 6 servings 

Recipe by Robin Asbell. Photo by Terry Brennan.