Tex-Mex Vegetarian Chili

After holidays, it is nice to ease back into cooking with satisfying favorites like Madhur Jaffrey’s Tex-Mex Vegetarian Chili from her wonderful cookbook World Vegetarian. This is one cookbook that I refer to quite often. My best friend introduced me to one of her East Indian cookbooks about 8 years ago and no word of a lie her recipes are fantastic. Having never been to India, I can only say that her recipes create a meal that tastes like food you would eat at a well-respected East Indian restaurant. One word, delicious.

Back to the meal at hand.

I modified Tex-Mex Vegetarian Chili from the original to speed up the preparation time. Even though I love cooking, I certainly do not want to stand in the kitchen all evening after a long day at work. Sadly, I checked our Ikea receipts and noticed that today is the last day we can return some unneeded items. That means a 25 minute drive each way after dinner tonight.


So, on a weeknight, whether you have exciting plans like I do, speed is essential. We all want to get home, get eating, get cleaned up, and get doing what we want (or what we have to do) for the rest of the evening.

This the perfect meal for that.

With some cornbread on the side, or a couple of cheese quesadillas (use corn tortillas for a gluten-free meal), you will certainly have enough for 2 to take leftovers in their lunch. For me, leftovers for lunch is an important weeknight meal consideration. I would rather something warm, than unpacking a sandwich at noon.

The sage and thyme do give this chili a bit of a different flavour compared to other chilies that I have made. I really like the mix of spices and the addition of a jalapeño, rather than relying on commercially prepared chili powder for heat and flavour (which in some cases gives you no heat at all and a lot of extra sodium). Even with adding a small can of low sodium V8 juice this chili is more chunky than saucy and balances quite nicely on slice of cornbread.

Tex-Mex Vegetarian Chili

3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion finely chopped
3 garlic cloves minced
1 large green pepper finely chopped
1 jalapeño chili finely chopped (Rather than adding all the seeds, I usually slice the chili in half and discard half the seeds to cut down on the heat)
1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin powder
2 teaspoons of paprika
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne (optional)
1 can of brown lentils, rinsed
1 can of kidney beans, rinsed
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (156 ml) can of low sodium V8 juice
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I add about 1/2 to 3/4 of a teaspoon)

  • Heat oil in a medium size saucepan. Add onions, garlic, green pepper, and jalapeno and sauté at medium high heat until garlic starts to brown.
  • Turn heat down to medium-low and sauté until the onions are translucent.
  • Add cumin, paprika, thyme, sage, oregano, and cayenne. Stir until mixed and add lentils, kidney beans, tomatoes, and V8 juice.
  • Heat until bubbling and the turn heat down to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes.

This is great topped with cheddar cheese


8 responses to “Tex-Mex Vegetarian Chili

  1. Pingback: Buttermilk Herb Quick Bread « Cookbook Cooks

  2. I look forward to trying this recipe — it sounds delicious! And I too can personally attest to how amazing Madhur Jaffrey’s recipes work out — easy to make and utterly delicious. This weekend, Tex-Mex Vegetarian Chili it is!


  3. Shawna, I have you to thank for introducing me to the wonderful world of Madhur Jaffrey!!

  4. Kelley's Mother

    It is so cold here this weekend that I just may try this chili recipe. Sounds good and easy.

  5. Hey Mom, glad you liked the chili! Dad’s suggestion to add sausage was pretty funny

  6. We tried this recipe tonight along with the cornbread and both Joe and I loved it — in fact it was more delicious than I imagined it would be. Both recipes were very easy to make and I made a few changes to the Chili recipe: I used a red pepper instead of green — not a fan of the green, and I kept half of the jalapeño seeds, which created some nice heat. I’ll definitely cook both of these again and I look forward to treating my vegetarian friends for dinner one night too. Thanks!!!

  7. Hooray!! Glad you guys loved it.
    I know what you mean about green peppers. I often use the more brightly coloured ones myself.

  8. Pingback: Better late than never: the best recipes of 2010 | Cookbook Cooks

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