Zest is Best Chili

Photo courtesy of Photography by David L. Clark

So I was tempted to keep this recipe all to myself... and then I remembered that I'm trying to teach my toddler to share, and so I should lead by example. As if she has any idea that's what I'm doing...even though she is currently sprawled across my lap making me draft this with one hand (my left at that!).

I found this recipe on Yummly, and had to adapt it slightly only because I didn't have some of the ingredients. Also, I unintentionally skipped the first step in the original recipe where you bake the eggplant. Next time I'll do that, and you probably should too.


  • 1 pound eggplant, cut into one inch pieces
  • olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1-2 jalapenos, for desired heat, cored, seeded, and finely minced
  • 28 oz can plum tomatoes, chopped into one inch pieces, reserve liquid
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
  • Zest of 1 lemon (this is THE most necessary ingredient to make this chili awesome)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chop, mince, dice, and prep all of the ingredients first. It makes everything SO much easier.
  • In a 350ยบ oven, place shallow roasting pan (or cast iron skillet) with eggplant slathered in olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes, giving it a good stir/turn halfway through. Remove and set aside.
  • Put olive oil and onions to an 8qt pot on medium heat, cook til the onions are just turning translucent and add the garlic.
  • Once the garlic is fragrant and not quite golden add the zucchini and peppers. Cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add in the tomatoes, reserved liquid, cumin, chili powder and eggplant. Simmer for another 20 minutes.
  • Put in the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, cilantro, and beans and cook for about 5 more minutes. 
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with vegan skillet cornbread!
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