What’s cooking for Lent? Vegetarian Black Bean Chili with Chipotle and Orange in the Slow Cooker

Here we are in the Lenten season again. For the two of us, this means meatless meals on Fridays. I take this as a personal challenge to spread my culinary wings to make something tasty and fulfilling. As a subscriber to all things Food & Wine magazine, a recent recipe inspired me to spin my own two-person chili recipe. Someday, I may go back and follow the original recipe, but we were both very happy and gobbled huge bowls with hunks of fresh cornbread.

Chili is forgiving. Use what you have and make the meal your own. For example, the original recipe asks for ancho chili powder. I replaced this with Tabasco smoked chipotle because I have 2/3 of a glass gallon jug left after winning it several years ago! I also had part of a white and a red onion to use, so that went in rather than all of one. The honey I used was from Carmel Honey Company. It is a “Meadowfoam” honey which is very sweet, almost like a marshmallow taste. You may need to adjust your proportions with other types of honey and your desired sweetness. Also, this is a very thick chili. If you prefer more liquid, perhaps add a cup of vegetable broth.


  • 1/2 cup white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped.
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons smoked chipotle sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • One 15-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, diced
  • Two 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Zest from a small Cara Cara orange plus 2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice
  • Chopped cilantro leaves, grated cheese, and sour cream, for serving

To Make

Dump everything in the crockpot. Stir. Taste to adjust seasoning. Set on low for 6 or 7 hours. Top with cilantro, cheese, and sour cream. I don’t know anything about how it tastes as leftovers … we didn’t have any.


We drank this with a bottle of Van Holt pinot noir. It’s light and went well with the orange. Beer drinkers may like a Sierra Nevada pale ale or another more aromatic ale. I also recommend a tall glass of water.

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