The RWT Chili Cook-off! December 5, 2007


Did you know this blog takes requests? I didn’t really, either. However, I was asked by a friend of mine – and secret reader of this blog – if I had any great chili recipes. That made me think….did I?

I didn’t, actually…until now.

In an effort to make a really hearty chili that wasn’t loaded down with meat, I went hunting for vegetarian recipes. I found this recipe on However, it didn’t seem very much like, well, chili. Where is all of the spicy stuff?!

I thought that the autumnal ingredients in the soup could handle some heat, so I’ve adapted it a bit. I added more chili powder and cumin, included some jalapeno, and threw in a bit of cayenne pepper. Also, for presentations sake, I swapped out part of the black beans for garbanzo beans – they keep their consistency when cooked and made the soup from looking so dark. I encourage you to serve this when you cook it so the greens still have their oomph.

This recipe is incredible. Trust me. You won’t miss the meat.

Since we’re all looking for hearty, heart-warming meals to make in these winter months, I am hosting a chili cook-off! This way, we can all exchange recipes and see all different varieties of this cold weather favorite. Here are all of the details:

  • The RWT Chili Cook-Off will start on December 5th and go through December 31st. In that time, post your favorite chili recipe to your blog.
  • There are no rules. I encourage all sorts of recipes and ingredients. They don’t all have to have ground beef in it! Add pork, veggies, sausage, beans, chicken…let your imagination go wild.
  • After the closure of the challenge, a winner will be chosen (i haven’t decided if this is going to be a democracy or not) and awarded a food-related prize!
  • Send your cook-off submissions to Include in your email: your name, your blog name, your location, the permalink to your post, and your recipe name.
  • Good luck!

Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard – adapted from the original recipe found here on – makes 4 main-course servings

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeded and diced into small pieces (include the seeds if you want to up the heat)
  • 2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled butternut squash
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 3 cups (packed) coarsely chopped Swiss chard leaves or kale leaves (from 1 small bunch)

– Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; saute until tender and golden, about 9 minutes. Add jalapeno and squash; stir 2 minutes. Stir in cayenne pepper, chili powder and cumin. Stir in beans, broth, and tomatoes with juices; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in chard or kale; simmer until chard or kale is tender but still bright green, about 4 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle chili into bowls and serve.


Mary Dec 5, 2007 01:12 pm

Wow that looks great!

A Lock Dec 6, 2007 05:12 am

You know that is not chili right?
You can’t call something that has beans in it a chili. It looks like a great soup but it is certainly not chili.

tami Dec 6, 2007 06:12 am

Thanks! :)
A lock-
Well if it had meat in it, then it wouldn’t be vegetarian :)
– tami

A scientist in the kitchen Dec 6, 2007 08:12 am

So what should a chili be? Just a bit confused. Does chili refer to a dish or to the plant? So that anything in this cook-off that has any chili be considered?

tami Dec 6, 2007 08:12 am

Chili meaning a riff on the dish. It can be a pure version (meat, meat, meat) or something creative and different.

Sarah Dec 6, 2007 09:12 am

I’ll participate in this one! I have a great chili recipe and this give me an excuse to make it. Can’t wait to see the other entries you get!

Siri Dec 6, 2007 12:12 pm

Chillies are an integral part of Indian cuisine. Can I send a classic Chilli (a.k.a Mirchi in Hindi) Recipe to ur event?
~ Siri

Chris Dec 8, 2007 05:12 am

Hmmm… I have only made chili a couple of times and had a mix to help…May have to branch out and make a batch on my own..:)

Suzana Dec 9, 2007 05:12 am

I love Chili but my recipes are far from traditional – great you allow all kind of versions! I’ll see if I can find a little time to cook and post one before deadline.
Loved the non-democratic rule – it made me laugh as I’m also so not democratic in my kitchen. ;)

tami Dec 11, 2007 07:12 am

Thanks for the great recipe :)
Please do! The more the merrier…
– tami

tami Dec 11, 2007 07:12 am

It’s so easy and versatile. I hope you take part!
– tami

tami Dec 11, 2007 07:12 am

I hope you do take part! I’m happy to be seeing so many “twists” on chili. Cheers!
– tami

Brian Dec 15, 2007 12:12 pm

Sorry, but without beef it’s not chili. You can’t have a roast made out of squash, hamburgers and hot dogs aren’t made of tofu and chili isn’t just veggies. This looks like a great soup, but not chili.

Bradley @ Sauces and Stuff Dec 17, 2007 05:12 am

Great cook off and the perfect cold weather for it! I just sent in my submission that is not only for chili, but for my homemade spice mix and cheddar cheese biscuits as well!

Les DuLunch Dec 27, 2007 09:12 pm

I’ve just sent my link for what I call simple chili, and it has beans in it. I figure if folks in Texas can say that barbecue can be made with beef, I can say that chili can be made with beans. If somebody doesn’t want chili with beans or vegetarian chili, that’s fine with me. I’ll have more leftovers for lunch, and everybody knows chili tastes better the next day.

Morgan Aug 2, 2010 06:08 am

I’m always looking for creative ways to use the chard that comes in my CSA, so I made this recipe last night, and it was delicious! Thank you so much – it’s sure to become a staple dish in my house!