You won’t miss the meat – truly.  Trust your Mimi.

Don’t be skeptical.  Walk on the Wild Side with a heaping bowl of this fabulous and flavorful chili.  Take a look.  How can you resist??  I can’t.

at mimi's table BAM best veggie chili

UH OH! – what is that nestled among all those yummy vegetables?  OK – You may be right – shhhh, it’s ground chicken.  Guess I’m busted, eh?

Truthfully, the day I decided to make this delicious chili, I wasn’t going to shell out $12 for all the portabello mushrooms called for.  BAM! Best Veggie Chili is, essentially, a frugal recipe.  You know? . . . So, I substituted a pound of browned ground chicken at $3.99/pound for some of the portobellos I wasn’t willing to pay for at the grocery.

However, if you find portabellos cheap, I wouldn’t hesitate using them, leaving out the chicken.  I’ve done it before, and it is FABULOUS!  Or substitute cremini mushrooms, which really are baby portobellos and cheaper.  My “meat-lover” husband loves this chili with or without the ground chicken.

I’m not a big zucchini fan, but it goes into the pool with all their veggie friends.  This dish is such a happy one!

What’s to love?

The finished flavor is perfectly balanced.  It’s not spicy hot, but has subtle heat from the serrano chilis, chili powder, and cumin.  What you’d expect in chili.  Use whatever canned beans you enjoy:  pintos, kidney, black, or a can of chili beans.  This day, I used a drained and rinsed can of black beans and a can of regular chili beans with all their liquid.

The sweet crunch from corn is irresistible.  It makes the dish. Do not be tempted to leave it out. I always use frozen corn, but if canned is all you have in the larder, what the heck. And canned petite diced tomatoes.  You can use fresh tomatoes and dice them yourself if you have access to lovely ones and the time to prepare them.  Or a sous chef . . . just sayin’

One serving suggestion is to make some brown rice and scoop 1/4 – 1/2 cup into the bottom of the bowl and ladle the chili over that.  A slab of freshly made cornbread is another good idea.  If you like a little more spice in your bowl, add a shake or two of Tabasco, or use Pepper Monterey Jack cheese as garnish.  Don’t be shy either.  Add a dollop or two of sour cream and diced avocado.  You won’t regret it.

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This is also an awesome slow cooker dish.  Like any good chili, it’s great the next day and freezes beautifully.


Credit for this recipe goes to Emeril Lagasse, renowned chef and restauranteur, thus the title.  Here’s the link on Food Network.  Don’t be intimidated by the plating.  It’s a little foo-foo.  Not very Midwestern, if you know what I mean.  In any regard, this is one great bowl of chili.

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BAM! Best Veggie Chili
Prep time
Total time
This is an extremely flavorful vegetarian chili with portabello mushrooms as the meat substitute. Don't care for mushrooms? Substitute ground chicken or turkey. This is a fabulous dish that can be made on the stovetop or in a slow cooker.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6-10
  • 2 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups yellow or sweet onion, diced
  • 1 cup red or yellow bell peppers, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 2-3 serrano peppers, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into small dice
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1½ pounds portobello mushrooms, wiped clean and cubed
  • 1 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 2- 15 oz cans black beans, or pinto beans, or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or water
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped, optional
  • Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Sour cream, optional
  • Diced avocado optional
  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the onion, serrano peppers, and bell peppers. Sautee for 10 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add garlic, and continue to sautee for 1 minute or until you can smell the garlic.
  3. Add onions, serrano pepper, bell pepper and garlic into a large slow cooker.
  4. Add the next 10 ingredients to the slow cooker. Omit the cilantro. Stir to combine.
  5. Cook on high heat for 3-4 hours or on low heat for 7-10 hours, stirring occasionally.
  6. Just before serving, add the chopped cilantro, if desired.
  7. At serving, sprinkle cheese over hot chili. Add a dollop of sour cream, diced avocado, and serve with a wedge of lime as garnish.
Cooking Options: Substitute browned ground chicken or turkey in place of some of the portobello mushrooms.
Serving Options: Serve with ¼ to ½ cup of cooked brown rice in the bottom of the bowl, then ladle chili over rice. Serve with hot corn bread.