Declan’s Chili (Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili)

When he turned 1, my son Declan refused to eat dinner. At all. For a year. (Thankfully, he still ate breakfast and lunch.) Shortly after Declan turned 2, I made this chili and he gobbled it up. After I fell out of my chair in shock and gratitude, I named it after him. I usually make the chili on my own and have the kids assemble the toppings in brightly colored bowls.
By / Photography By Ashley Dru | September 16, 2016


In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, sweet potato and garlic, and cook over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until vegetables start to soften.

Add the beans, corn, green chilies, tomatoes and vegetable stock, and simmer over medium-high heat.

Add the vinegar, brown sugar, chili powder, cocoa powder, cayenne, salt and black pepper. Stir until well mixed.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve with your favorite toppings.

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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced, about 1 cup
  • 2–3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped, about ½–¾ cup
  • 2 celery stalks, diced, about ½ cup
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced, about 2 cups
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14½-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14½-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14½-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1½ cup frozen corn
  • 1 (4–ounce) can minced green chilies
  • 2 (14½-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Grated Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
  • Sliced scallions
  • Chopped avocado
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • Lime wedges
  • Tortilla chips
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