Everything is better on a cold winter’s day with a bowl of warm vegetarian chili, prepared with some fresh local ingredients and enjoyed over table-talk with loved ones. Growing up in Toronto, my sisters and I would be called in from long hours playing outside in the snow and skating on a homemade ice rink, our cheeks rosy and bellies ready for our mother’s old-fashioned chili by the fire.

I’ve re-created my own vegetarian version, made from a local farmers market’s offerings. The gesture of kindness and careful preparation that goes into making a one-pot meal like this fosters a deep appreciation for and affiliation with the farmers who work so diligently to grow these wonderful-tasting and health-promoting winter vegetables, including plentiful root crops, a variety of beans, fresh herbs, healing spices, and bright lemon zest flavor. Pair it with fresh naan, a hearty grain bread, a baguette, or a homemade loaf to round out the meal. Modify the chili to your preference by adding turnips, acorn squash, or flat leaf parsley.

By | November 15, 2016


In soup pot on medium heat, warm coconut oil and sauté onion and garlic for 2 minutes, stirring so it does not brown. Add all vegetables except tomatoes, stir, cook 3 minutes.

Add vegetable stock and water and bring to a boil. Lower temperature to a light simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally, until vegetables are tender.

Stir in beans, lentils, tomato paste, tomatoes, thyme, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, black pepper, and sea salt, and reduce heat for another 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Take pot off stove and gently fold in lemon juice, then stir in lemon zest. Transfer to table and top with cilantro and a dollop of goat cheese, parmesan cheese, or sour cream. Warm the bread in a preheated 400° oven for 1 minute and tear into big chunks to serve on the side. Enjoy!

Serves 6


  • 4 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes or yams, cubed
  • 2 large parsnips, cubed
  • 2 small or medium butternut squash, peeled, cored, and cubed
  • 6 large carrots, rough chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, rough chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, rough chopped (canned will suffice if fresh are unavailable)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, rough chopped
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 cups cooked red or green lentils
  • 1 can each of: chickpeas, black beans pinto beans, kidney beans
  • 16 ounces vegetable stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 lemons, juices and zest separated
  • 2 handfuls cilantro, rough chopped
  • 2 teaspoons each of: thyme, turmeric, cumin
  • 1 teaspoon each of: ground coriander, cinnamon, Himalayan sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon each of: ground nutmeg, fresh ground pepper, cayenne pepper
  • Dollops of goat cheese, sour cream, or shaved parmesan for serving
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