Recipe: Vegetarian Cincinnati Chilli

Been awhile since my latest cooking posts?  Yep, pretty busy, holidays, and all.  Also a lot of my dishes are in an experimental state, and I haven’t had the mojo to tweak my curry after the latest milestone.  However one recipe just got out of “experimental” to “done” – vegetarian Cincinnati Chilli!

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 finely chopped red onion
  • 1 Tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato puree
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp cinnamon (trust me, the exact amount matters)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 14 oz can pinto beans, drained, or about 3 cups of cooked beans.
  • 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  1. Sautee onion in olive oil until soft.
  2. Add garlic to onion, brown both.
  3. Add all ingredients but pinto beans and vinegar
  4. Bring to boil, then let simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Add beans and vinegar. Cook another 10 minutes until heated thoroughly.
  6. Remove bay leaf.
  7. Serve.

The result is great. A rich, sweet, spicy, satisfying chilli that’s got that whole Cincinnati Chili feel without meat.  Only caveat – not sure 10 minutes is long enough to cook the beans and vinegar in.  You may want to try 15, or try a different bean as this time the pintos came out just a bit “beany” in taste.

Still, going to call this a success.  It’s delicious.  I may have to try it with other protein sources!

I fount it went well with polenta or carrots as a side dish.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, publishes books on career and culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at