As the temperature dropped last weekend, I wanted a hot meal to warm me up from the inside out.

Chili is my usual first pick because it cooks quickly and is a heartier option than most of my favorite soup recipes.

I’ve tried a lot of different kinds of chili over the years, combining various ingredients and amounts of spices based on what I have on hand at home.

Not wanting to brave the cold for a trip to the grocery store on Monday, I opted for a vegetarian chili, adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe I found online.

The original calls for kidney beans, but I substituted black beans since that’s what I had in the pantry.

I also used fresh onion instead of onion flakes. If you use dehydrated onion flakes, the recipe calls for about ¼ cup.

My vegetarian chili creation filled me up, but it could easily be adapted for meat lovers. I’d recommend adding 1 pound of lean ground turkey or lean ground beef. Cook the meat thoroughly and drain off any fat before adding it to the rest of the chili.

However you experiment with this recipe, I guarantee you’ll have a warm, hearty meal to drive away the cold.

Vegetarian chili


  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 14½ ounces stewed tomatoes
  • 15 ounces canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 15¼ ounces canned corn, drained
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (or more to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (for spicier chili, use ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper instead)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a large, nonstick, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add garlic and onion; cook, stirring frequently about five minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, beans, corn, tomato sauce, chili powder, oregano, red pepper flakes and black pepper; stir well.
  3. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil; cook, stirring frequently, until chili is thick and flavors are concentrated, about five minutes.
  4. Spoon into serving bowls and sprinkle with cheese, if desired.

Notes: As the chili boils, if it starts to stick to the bottom, turn down the heat, but cook about five minutes longer.

This recipe also can be made in a slow cooker, combining all ingredients at once and cooking on low heat about 5 or 6 hours.

Makes: 4 servings, about 1¼ cups per serving.

— Recipe adapted from

News/Design Editor M. Clare Haefner enjoys cooking for family and friends. Contact her at or (254) 501-7551.

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