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HEALTHY British Vegetarian Chili with Red Wine--maybe a different twist on chili from what you are used to, but super delicious I promise! And chock full of veggies!

British Vegetarian Chili with Red Wine

Inspired by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. This recipe was plenty spicy for us from the Hatch chile pepper, but if desired, also add cayenne pepper to taste. Leave yourself a good hour or 2 for this chili to develop its flavors. It could easily be made in the slow cooker as well.
Course Entree
Cuisine British
Author TheSpicedLife


For chili:

  • 2-3 T vegetable oil (I used avocado)
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sweet bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 t dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 2 t ground ancho chili pepper
  • 1/4 t allspice
  • 1/2 t Ceylon cinnamon
  • 4 medium-large tomatoes, very coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup red wine (I used a Spanish rioja--be sure to use something you would drink)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 15-oz can drained and rinsed Great Northern white beans
  • 1 15-oz can drained and rinsed black beans
  • 1 roasted hatch chile pepper, chopped (poblano is fine too)
  • 2 zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces (can also use butternut squash)
  • 2 T strong coffee (I happened to have—you could also use instant coffee or espresso)

For serving:

  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • sour cream (I prefer full fat, especially in a vegetarian chili)
  • shredded cabbage tossed in fresh lemon (or lime) juice


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium high heat. Add the onions with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until they release their water and begin to turn golden.

  2. Add the garlic, bell peppers and oregano and thyme. Add another pinch of salt and cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cumin, ancho chile pepper, allspice and Ceylon cinnamon. Stir for one minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes and red wine with another pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, and reduce the wine for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the water, beans and roasted chile pepper. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Let cook for one hour.
  6. Add the zucchini and sweet potato with the coffee. Bring back to a boil, and then cover again and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer (truly gentle--a brisk simmer will cause the vegetables to go mushy). Let simmer for 30-45 minutes.
  7. When you are ready to eat and the sweet potatoes are tender, taste for salt. Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and the shredded cabbage in lemon juice.