Indian Spiced Vegan Chili.

I am not going to pretend even for a moment like I can make legit Indian food.  Despite having culinary training, making traditional ethnic cuisine is something that typically takes years of focused experience.  But I do love to play around with spices and flavors, and make my best inspired versions of my favorite dishes.

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Since the weather here in Seattle has been damp and grey, a big pot of chili sounded like the perfect thing to simmer on our stove.  I have made a few different versions of chili in the past (here and here), so this time I wanted to try something a bit different.  This Indian-inspired bean chili is perhaps my favorite one yet.

Indian Spiced Vegan Chili

by Emily Malone

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Ingredients (8 servings)

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 lbs potatoes (I used Yukon gold), cubed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt (more to taste)
  • naan bread (optional)


  1. In a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, start by sauteing the onions and celery in a little bit of olive oil.
  2. Once browned, add potatoes and saute for a few minutes just to get a bit of color.
  3. Add vegetable broth, tomatoes, beans, jalapeno, spices, and salt. Bring pot up to a simmer.
  4. Once simmering, reduce heat and cover. You really only have to cook this until the potatoes are tender, but in my opinion, chili is always better if you allow it to cook for at least a few hours. Extra cooking time allows the flavors and spices have time to intensify and develop.
  5. Cover and simmer on medium/low heat for at least two hours, stirring occasionally.
  6. Before servings, season to taste with any additional salt (if needed).
  7. Serve along side hot naan bread for dipping!

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I have a confession to make.  As our chili simmered on the stove, I said to Casey, "You know what would be perfect with this?  We need naan to dip in it like cornbread!”  And instead of whipping out the ingredients to make my own, I whipped out the iPad and looked up the phone number to the Indian restaurant that is dangerously located about 200 feet from our house.  It’s seriously just TOO easy.

So although I have made naan in the past, this naan came from the nice folks down the street.  And let me tell you, ordering $10 worth of ONLY naan bread is both embarrassing and slightly confusing.  Also, totally worth it.

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This dish has all the comfort of heat of traditional chili, with an interesting Indian twist.  When cooking for a large group of guests, chili is a go-to way to please most palates and dietary preferences.  This recipe would be a perfect meal for covering all your bases, while also doing something a bit more fun and unexpected.

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As always, enjoy!

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