Summer Vegetarian Chili

Who says chili has to be a cool weather dish? Pack your chili with loads of vegetables, give it a “meaty” texture thanks to steel cut oats (yes, steel cut oats!), spice it up with herbs and Latin spices, and top it with farm fresh avocados and green onions, and you’ve just discovered your next warm weather, rustic meal. Serve it with salad and cornbread and you’re all set!

Serves 10


  • 1 pound red beans, dried (i.e., kidney beans, cranberry beans, red beans)
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 vegetable bullion cubes
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cup yellow corn, frozen or canned
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 4-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, reduced sodium
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¾ cups steel cut oats, dried
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Salt to taste (optional)
  • Garnish (as desired): fresh avocado slices, green onion slices, chopped fresh cilantro, chopped fresh tomatoes


  1. Place beans in a large pot, cover with water, and soak overnight.
  2. The next day, discard the water, and add 6 cups fresh water and bullion cubes. Cover and simmer over medium-low for 45 minutes.
  3. Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic, pepper, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, tomato paste, soy sauce, chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, cilantro, brown sugar, and steel cut oats.
  4. Stir well to combine, cover, and simmer for an additional 45 minutes, stirring frequently, until beans, oats, and vegetables are tender. May need to add additional water lost to evaporation. Should make a thick stew-like texture.Before serving, stir in lemon juice and add hot sauce to achieve desired level of spiciness. Season with salt as desired (optional).


Serve in bowls and garnish as desired with fresh avocado slices, green onion slices, chopped fresh cilantro, and chopped fresh tomatoes.

Recipe and photography by Sharon Palmer, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian