Maybe because it was St. Patrick’s Day, and I’m more than a little Irish…

Or maybe it was because the Universe was smiling on me that day…

But whatever it was, a few years ago this chili recipe scored me a big win – First Place in the Red Chili Category at the Buellton Wine & Chili Fest!  

And of course, it was vegan and gluten-free.

Now I have finally condensed the recipe down to a manageable pot size – not the gigantic one you see here.  And here it is……may the luck of the Irish be with ye!



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, finely chopped (I like to use the red & green for color)
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into half moon slices
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeds removed and finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and finely diced (more if you want more heat)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves removed from stems & finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 can each kidney beans, black beans and navy beans (do not drain)
  • 1 can Rotel brand tomatoes with green chilis, original
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne (more if you want more heat)
  • 1/4 cup masa (instant corn masa flour)
  • juice of one lime


  1. Measure the olive oil into a large pot and add the onion, peppers (bell, serrano & jalapeno) & carrots. Cover & cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are soft.
  2. Add the garlic & cilantro to your chili pot and simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Then pour in all cans of beans, without draining, and the Rotel. Stir well.
  4. Add all the spices (leaving out the masa and lime juice) and stir thoroughly.
  5. Cover & cook on low heat for an hour at least, stirring occasionally.
  6. After an hour, scoop out some of the broth into a small mixing bowl and add the masa. Blend until there are no lumps. Ok to add some veggie broth to this mixture if you need more liquid.
  7. Add the masa mixture to your chili pot and stir well.
  8. Serve it up hot!


I like to provide as garnish options, diced onions, chopped cilantro & crushed tortilla chips. Sour cream & cheddar cheese (vegan or otherwise) are also great chili toppers.

Give it a try at your local chili contest! Maybe you too will convert a few meat-loving chili eaters!

Here I am doing my victory dance….