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Vegetarian chili with pico de Gallo, chimichurri sauce, and fried tortilla strips.

Vegetarian Chili ~ With Pico de Gallo & Chimichurri

  • Author: RebeccaBlackwell
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes (not including prep time for the toppings)
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 60 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings


Vegetarian Chili packed with beans, onions, poblano peppers, red bell peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes that are simmered in a spicy red wine broth, then topped with chimichurri sauce, fresh Pico de Gallo, and fried tortilla strips.


  • 3 poblano peppers (see note)
  • 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground oregano
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeds and stem removed and diced into very small pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium sized zucchini: trim the ends, slice in half length-wise, then slice each half into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • One 14-oz can diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted
  • 3 - 4 cups beans, dried and cooked or canned, any variety or combination of varieties
  • About 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (more to taste)
  • About 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (more to taste)
  • Optional Garnishments: Chimichurri Sauce, Pico de Gallo, grated cheese, sour cream, and fried tortilla strips (see note below for how to make fried tortilla strips)


  1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and preheat the broiler in your oven. Lay the poblano peppers on the baking sheet and broil until the skins of the poblano peppers are at least 90% black. Turn the peppers over and broil until the peppers are blackened on the other side. Remove from the oven and place in a bowl to cool. Once cool enough to handle, peel the blackened skin from the peppers, removing the stems and the seeds. Dice the peppers and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, sugar, salt, pepper, and tomato paste.  Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan or dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the onions and jalapeño, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the chopped red pepper and sliced zucchini to the pan and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the garlic-spice-tomato paste mixture and cook, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Pour in the wine, and cook, stirring frequently, until much of the liquid has evaporated - about 5 minutes.
  5.  Pour in the broth, Worcestershire sauce, and tomatoes. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium low, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every now and then. (While the chili cooks, make fried tortilla strips - directions are in the notes below.)
  6. Stir in the beans and cook a minute or two longer to heat through. Add the lime juice and cilantro. Taste, and add more lime, cilantro, or salt if you like.
  7. Serve with any or all optional garnishments: Chimichurri Sauce, Pico de Gallo, grated cheese, and fried tortilla strips (see note below for how to make fried tortilla strips)


  • You can substitute an 8 ounce can of chopped green chilies for the poblano peppers if you prefer.
  • If you want to cook a batch of dried beans to use in this chili (as opposed to canned), follow the instructions in this recipe for Slow Cooker Beans.

How to make fried tortilla strips:

  1. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set near the stove along with a small dish of salt.
  2. Pour enough vegetable oil into a large skillet to come up the sides of the pan about 1-inch, and place over hight heat. Cut corn tortillas in into strips about 1/2 inch wide. Add a small piece of corn tortilla into the hot oil to see if it’s hot enough; if it immediately begins to sizzle, with bubbles of oil forming all around it, the oil is hot enough. If you have a deep fry thermometer, which can be super helpful, heat the oil to 350 degrees.
  3. Fry the tortilla strips in the hot oil in a couple of batches, being careful to not over crowd the pan. When the strips are a deep golden brown, carefully remove them from the hot oil with tongs and immediately sprinkle with some salt.