Hearty Vegetarian Chili

This recipe is a staple in my fall and winter dinner rotation. I especially love this recipe because it packs in lots of vegetables, makes a large amount at one time – perfect for batch cooking on the weekends, and it’s filled with warming spices that warm you right up on the colder days.


2 tbsp olive oil

1 large yellow onion

3 large carrots

2 green or red bell peppers

3 cloves garlic

1 16oz can crushed fire roasted tomatoes

1 16oz can red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)

1 8oz can black beans (drained and rinsed)

2+ cups vegetable stock

2 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp sea salt


Heat the olive oil and add the carrots, bell peppers and onion. Saute until just soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, and chili powder and saute another 3 minutes. Add in the stock and tomatoes. Cover and let simmer, for 20 minutes. Add the kidney beans and black beans and let simmer for 30 more minutes. Optional: Add in additional vegetable stock for a thinner consistency while cooking. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Why are beans so good for you?

Beans and legumes are one of my absolute favorite additions to a cooler weather diet, and have that protein rich, hearty quality to them that sustains a feeling of fullness longer (especially in delicious stews!). They’re also packed with nutrients, have a long shelf life, and are accessible and affordable for almost everyone. However, I cannot stress enough how important preparation is for beans, as they can sometimes be hard to digest if not prepared appropriately. So, here are some basic tips and facts on beans to get to know these little nutrient powerhouses a little better:

Beans (pulses), generally things in the Fabaceae family

Beans are basically seed pods that are split in half

Types of legumes:

  • Forage legumes:  Alfalfa , clover, albizia
  • Grain legumes: Beans, lentils, peas, lupins, peanuts

What do legumes contain?

  • Protein – In general veggie proteins tend to be a good source of arginine. Animal proteins are higher sources of lysine.
  • Arginine – An essential amino acid, important for blood flow and maintaining nitric oxide levels.
  • Fiber – Helping to maintain glycemic index
  • Phytosterols – Which may help to decrease the risk of heart disease
  • Flavonoids (isoflavones) – A wonderful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound.
  • Folic Acid – Important to maintain homocysteine levels
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium

How to prepare:

Soak dried beans overnight. This helps to break down difficult to digest compounds that may cause gas and bloating. Rinse beans thoroughly and then cook for an hour or more depending on the bean until very tender.

Drain and rinse canned beans extremely well.

Watch out what you combine them with! Beans don’t always “play nicely” with other foods in your digestive tract like cheese, extra starchy foods or full fat dairy products. As a general rule, smaller beans are easier to digest than the larger beans. If you’re unaccustomed to eating beans or preparing beans, I suggest starting with red or green lentils or mung beans or mung dahl and then graduate to larger beans like black beans or kidney beans. When you buy dried beans, keep them in glass jars and away from direct light. They have quite a long shelf life!

About the Author:

Lindsay Kluge is a Clinical Herbalist & Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist and received her Masters of Science degree in Herbal Medicine from the Maryland University of Integrative Health in 2012. She has been with Richmond Natural Medicine since 2013, and specializes in therapeutic holistic nutrition, circadian rhythm balance and sleep physiology, digestion, and Ayurvedic nutrition. She offers individualized nutrition and herbal medicine consultations that include meal planning support, custom compounded herbal formulas, nutrition guidance and general wellness support.  Learn more about services that Lindsay offers at Richmond Natural Medicine by clicking HERE.