Veggie Chili Face Melter

 Veggie Chili Face Melter

Veggie Chili Face Melter

Of all my favorite recipes I’ve perfected over the last 15 years producing The Takedown, I’m guessing veggie chili is the least respected.

Some people will seriously lay an egg if chili’s not a straight-up bowl of red (meat, chiles, garlic, cumin, and bacon fat).

I’ve explored tons of different chile combinations, and I think maybe I’ve nailed it thanks to the super sweet Mexican market down the street from me that provides me with all the best ingredients. Chili, to me, is a kitchen sink recipe-and my veggie chili will melt your face.


  •  3 puya chiles (substitute guajillo chiles if needed)
  •  3 pasilla chiles (substitute guajillo chiles if needed)
  •  2 cups vegetable stock, divided
  •  5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  •  1 cup onions, finely chopped
  •  6 cloves garlic, crushed
  •  1 cup carrots, chopped
  •  1 red bell pepper, diced
  •  1 cup full-bodied red wine
  •  1 cup dry (uncooked) red lentils
  •  1 tablespoon kosher salt
  •  2 teaspoons ground cumin
  •  2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  •  1 tablespoon honey
  •  2 cups cooked kidney beans
  •  2 cups dry (uncooked) hominy
  •  1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •  1 tablespoon Carolina reaper sauce, to taste


Soak the chiles for 30 minutes in boiled water, then stem and seed them. Purée the chiles with 1 cup of vegetable stock and set aside.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil, sauté the onions for 10 minutes, and then add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.

Add the carrots and red bell pepper and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the chile purée, red wine, remaining vegetable stock, lentils, salt, cumin, oregano, and honey. Cook for 10 minutes.

Add the beans and hominy and cook for 15 minutes on low heat.

 Finish with the black pepper and Carolina reaper sauce to taste.


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