Off the Books: Veg Packed Chili (Meat Optional)

Since Cindy and I made this month about picking vegan/veggie recipes and making some healthier (ie eat more veggies) choices, I had to sneak off the books and share my chili recipe as I’m pretty sure you, our bloggy friends, will love it.  Especially because you can make this vegan, vegetarian, or with meat.  It can be soy free, grain/gluten free (there may be gluten in the chili seasoning packet, but if you make your own, you are good to go). It’s so darn flexible and delicious, no matter how you make it.

I packed this batch FULL of veggies and given my recent anemia diagnosis, I figured it would be best to add some ground beef to this chili to increase the dosage of iron. But trust me, it is NOT necessary to add the beef.  This recipe is plenty tasty without any meat whatsoever.


This doesn’t even represent the rest of the veggies I added


This recipe could be doubled if you have another slow cooker or you felt like doing this on a stove top.  It is easily adaptable depending on how much spice you like or what vegetables you want in your chili…there are NO rules. And yes, this is me embracing the no rules thing…because well, I know that pretty much no matter what I do, I can do no wrong with this recipe.  Once, as part of a work mandated training session, I had to be part of a team building chili cook off…nobody on my team knew how to make chili but me.  I used basics from my recipe and adapted when needed (no brown sugar, use pineapple juice…because yes, they had pineapple, if you can believe it).  Needless to say we won.


With this batch, I mis-read my recipe and added a tablespoon of cayenne was spicy, but still ridiculously delicious…and I got the benefit of very clear sinuses. lol. I also  included some mushrooms because I had some on hand and some frozen spinach at the  last minute to give it some extra colour and to increase the iron. Outside of those few things, there was nothing out of the ordinary with this batch.  Served with a piece of avocado toast and a sprinkle of melted cheese on top of the chili and you have my perfect winter comfort food.

Needless to say, I give this recipe I crazy high rating as I make it multiple times every winter. The lack of crazy ingredients and the flexibility of it is what truly makes it sooo good. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Recipe rating: 5 knives out of 5

Om, nom, nom,



Lisa’s Veggie Packed (Meat Optional) Chili

Makes a lot…fills my 4.7L slow cooker nearly to the brim. lol.


1 medium white onion, diced

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 carrots thinly sliced into medallions

2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced

3 bell peppers, diced

Other vegetables depending on your preferences and what is available (I have included peas, frozen spinach, mushrooms, sweated zucchini, eggplant, diced sweet potato in the past, but definitely feel free to try different vegetables)

1 can of corn, drained

1 can each of kidney beans, black beans and white kidney beans, rinsed and drained*

1 packet of Chili seasoning

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoon chili powder

Pinch of cinnamon

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

sprinkling of red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, all to taste

1 big can of diced tomatoes–just plain, no extra seasonings

1 can of tomato soup

Optional: 1 pkg (500g or nearly 1 lb) of Ground Round/cooked ground meat (turkey, chicken, bison, beef, pork all work).**

Turn on your slow cooker to high. Prepare all the veggies.  Start with the onions, carrots, garlic and celery.  Throwing them in the pot as you go as these veggies take the longest to cook.*** Throw the rest of your prepared ingredients into the slow cooker and give it a stir. Cook it on high for about four hours (or for about six hours on low), stirring occasionally.


*you can also include lentils, chick peas, adzuki beans etc but the three listed above are my favourites

**If you are using meat, cook it in a bit of olive oil on high heat to get that nice sear/flavour) before hand and then throwing it into the slow cooker.

***If you plan on using sturdier veggies like sweet potato, be sure to add them early along with the onions, carrots and celery to maximize the amount of cooking time.


2 thoughts on “Off the Books: Veg Packed Chili (Meat Optional)

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