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Hearty Red Pepper and Corn Vegetarian Chili made with Homemade Chili Powder

by Lorraine Thompson on June 17, 2009

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I never had a bone to pick with commercial chili powder until I ran out of it one day. I was in the middle of whipping up Hearty Red Pepper and Corn Vegetarian Chili when a frantic search through my 133 spice bottles revealed no chili powder.

A quick online inquiry delivered a number of basic chili powder recipes. I adapted a mixture from recipes found here and here.

A easy as it is to make, Homemade Chili Powder’s flavor is a revelation. The mix of smoky paprika, cumin and various peppers delivers fiery, nuanced chili taste.

Homemade Chili Powder markedly improved my already-pretty-good Hearty Red Pepper and Corn Vegetarian Chili, see recipe below. I also use the Chili Powder on fajitas, dips and eggs.

Please mix up a batch and see. I don’t think you’ll ever go back to store-bought.

The Hearty Red Pepper and Corn Vegetarian Chili was inspired by my vegetarian daughter, Lily. It’s so full-flavored and satisfying, even the most carnivorous child in our family found it palatable.

Copywriters’ Kitchen Homemade Chili Powder
6 tablespoons paprika
4 tablespoons cumin
4 tablespoons oregano
2 teaspoons cayenne
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

  1. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together.
  2. Place in air-tight container and store.



chili-spices-unmixed-250chili-spices-mixed

Hearty Red Pepper and Corn Vegetarian Chili

1 large onion, chopped fine
1 red pepper, cut into ½” pieces
1 carrot, diced
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 minced jalapeno pepper
2 tablespoons corn meal
3 tablespoons homemade chili powder—okay, you can also use store-bought
1 heaping tablespoon Demerara or brown sugar
1 28-ounce can tomatoes, chopped
1 cup water
4 cups pinto beans
1½ cups fresh or frozen corn
Kosher salt to taste

  1. In advance of making chili, cook pinto beans. Rinse a pound of pintos, pour into crockpot, cover with water and add 1 teaspoon salt. Cover pot and simmer for several hours. Or cook beans traditionally according to directions on package. Spoon out and reserve 4 cups of beans.


  2. pinto-beans-raw-250pintos-cooked-close-250

  3. In a Dutch Oven or heavy pot, heat oil until hot and fragrant. Add onion.
  4. Sauté onion until softened, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add crushed garlic and sauté another few minutes.
  6. In the meantime, chop red pepper, dice carrot and mince jalapeno.
  7. Add chopped vegetables to onions and garlic. Stir and fry until vegetables soften—about 5-6 minutes.
  8. Add cornmeal and chili powder. Stir to coat vegetables, lower flame and cook for 2-3 minutes to release spices’ full flavor.


  9. chopped-red-pepper-250cut-top-jalapeno-250fry-red-pepper-onion-carrot-jalapeno-250vegie-chili-powder-ii

  10. Stir tomatoes, water and sugar into vegetable chili mixture. The mix will be soupy—it needs to cook down to fully develop texture and flavor.
  11. Bring tomato-chili sauce to boil, lower flame. Simmer for at least 30-40 minutes and up to 2 hours—the longer the better. Add more water ½ cup at a time, as needed.
  12. About ten minutes before you’re ready to serve, add drained pinto beans and corn and simmer until heated through.
  13. Serve with rice and/or cornbread and a variety of toppings.

Chili toppings

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

karen June 17, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Hi Lorraine,
This is so similar to chili I make at home but I use kidney beans - I’ll have to try the black eyed peas next time. And for carnivores in my house, I add sirloin cubes. One thing I do, as I am not home long enough simmer chili for hours during the week, I put all the ingredients in a crock pot and leave the house. Put the timer on for about 3 hours and when I return, dinner is ready! I love chili, especially during winter but I love the sultry, hot and spicy bowl during the sweltering summer heat too. It detoxes everything out of you! lol.

Great recipe, as usual. Thanks.

karen June 17, 2009 at 7:51 pm

I meant, pinto beans…..not black eyed peas….

Lorraine Thompson June 17, 2009 at 8:17 pm

As a kid I lived in Mexico for a year–and I’m a third generation Californian–so I have a strong prejudice in favor of pinto beans, see my post on Healthy Homemade Refried Beans, http://www.copywriterskitchen.com/2009/06/09/healthy-homemade-refried-beans/

Of course any kind of beans you like are fine–but do try the homemade chili powder!

(I admit my youngest prefers this recipe with added meat.)

Jeff Young June 18, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Woo Hoo!
Cayenne!
Red pepper flakes!
I can tell I am going to love this one… and there is no crock pot around!

Thank you, Lorraine

Lorraine Thompson June 18, 2009 at 4:01 pm

@Jeff: And that’s just the Chili Powder–the chili calls for jalapeno.

Jeff Young June 18, 2009 at 4:08 pm

ROCKIN’!!!

Taco Seasoning February 25, 2010 at 6:10 pm

that sounds awesome!!!
maybe too much chili powder for me, though.

Lorraine Thompson February 25, 2010 at 8:39 pm

@Taco Seasoning. Yes, this chili is very spicy. Feel free to use less chili powder–but DO try the homemade. It’s supreme. : >

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