Healthy Super Bowl Party? Start with a Big Pot of Really Good Chili

by on January 31, 2012
FavoriteLoadingAdd to Recipe Box

Nava Atlas' Big Pot of Really Good Chili

If, like me, you made a New Year’s resolution to start eating healthier, you might be just a little worried about what you’re going to eat at the Big Party coming up this weekend. I’m referring, of course, to the Super Bowl, the day when grown adults run and dodge and knock each other down in their quest to get to the guacamole bowl. Or maybe that’s just at my house. I live with two hard-core football fans who will insist that there be guacamole and tortilla chips to eat during the big game, and if I’m not careful, I’ll start mindlessly snacking all my healthy progress away.

That’s why I have a plan–and I suggest you have one, too. You may not be able to keep away from all the tempting snack food, but you can have just as tempting nutritious food on hand to grab when the snacking urge hits. Guacamole itself isn’t unhealthy as long as you don’t overdo it, but packaged tortilla chips are just fried flour and salt. So make your own baked chips, or better yet, scoop up your guac with baby carrots, celery sticks, red pepper slices, cucumber, or cauliflower florets. And be sure to have a filling, nutritious main course that tastes like you’re cheating on your diet (but you’re not).

Nava Atlas' Big Pot of Really Good Chili

That’s where the chili comes in. Nava Atlas shares this Big Pot of Really Good Chili in her hot new book Vegan Holiday Kitchen (which I had the honor of photographing). It’s perfect for when you’re feeding a crowd of hearty eaters, and because the seasoning is mild, each of your guests can spice it up according to taste.

Nava's Big Pot of Really Good Chili
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Nava writes: When you need a heaping helping of something fast, inexpensive, and healthy, few things that fit these criteria better than a big pot of chili. Simple, hearty, and warming, this is a great choice for casual winter parties and for Superbowl Sunday. Serve with stone-ground tortilla chips, guacamole, and a big salad or cole slaw.
Serves: 12
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I omitted this)
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 28-ounce cans beans of your choice (try a combination of pinto, pink, and black beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1 16-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño or other hot peppers, seeded and minced, or one 8-ounce can mild or hot chopped green chiles
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality chili powder
  • 1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Chopped ripe tomatoes for garnish
  • Chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish
  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté until the onion is golden. Add the remaining ingredients except the last three.
  2. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are tender and the flavors have melded.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, and adjust the other seasonings. If time allows, let the chili stand for up to several hours before serving. Heat through as needed.The chili should be nice and thick; if it has gotten too thick, stir in a cup of water. Serve in individual bowls, garnished with tomatoes and cilantro.
Varations and optional garnishes:
Add a cup or two of cooked corn kernels toward the end of cooking time

Add a medium or large firm-cooked sweet potato, peeled and diced

Add a diced zucchini or yellow summer squash about halfway into the cooking time

Serve with grated nondairy cheddar cheese on the side for garnishing individual servings

Put out extra “hot stuff” like minced fresh chili peppers, dried hot red pepper flakes, or hot sauce for those who like their chilies extra-spicy

Nutrition (per serving, including oil): 236 calories, 37 calories from fat, 4.3g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 938mg sodium, 719.6mg potassium, 39.9g carbohydrates, 11.6g fiber, 5.8g sugar, 11.4g protein.

Nutrition info below excludes oil.

Recipe from Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas. Reprinted with permission.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/12th of recipe Calories: 216 Fat: 2g Carbohydrates: 40g Sugar: 5.8g Sodium: 938mg Fiber: 11.6g Protein: 11.4g


Smoky Refried Bean Soup

Smoky Refried Bean Soup and Baked Tortilla Chips

Vegan Holiday Kitchen contains dozens of recipes for informal get-togethers like Super Bowl parties, so be sure to check out the last chapter on potluck dishes. And if you don’t have it yet, hop over to Hungry Vegan to read a terrific review and enter to win a copy.

If you’re not hosting a crowd this year and don’t need a really big pot of chili, I recommend my Smoky Refried Bean Soup, a Ridiculously Easy recipe that cooks in about 30 minutes. Here are a few other low-fat recipes to keep you munching guiltlessly as you cheer your team to victory:

No one at your Super Bowl party will miss the meat in this hearty, richly flavored chili. Vegan and low-fat!

Leave a Comment

Thanks for visiting my site! All comments are read and appreciated, and if you have a question, I will try to respond within a couple days. Note: If you are leaving a comment for the first time, it will be held for moderation. Be patient and it will appear as soon as I have a chance to approve it.

Want to have your photo alongside your comment? Sign up for a Gravatar!

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 janet @ the taste space January 31, 2012 at 10:33 am

I never knew that Super Bowl parties were all the rage…. well, sign me up if I get to eat chili as tasty as this. 🙂


2 moonwatcher January 31, 2012 at 11:31 am

Hi Susan,

This looks great–there are all kinds of wonderful surprises in that aweseome book! I have been making something very similar to this in smaller batches based on a recipe I saw at Healthy Girl’s Kitchen through an Engine 2 e-mail. I like Nava’s addition of the cocoa powder. I would use carob, but it works similarly. I hope you have a great Super Bowl weekend.

I LOVE the blue plate and bowl–just gorgeous!




3 Laura B. January 31, 2012 at 11:32 am

This looks delicious, however, I must ask about the beans- is that measurement correct? It seems like a lot of beans.


4 Susan Voisin January 31, 2012 at 11:35 am

It’s right–and it is a lot of beans! But the chili is very thick and mostly beans. I actually used 6 15-ounce cans because I didn’t have the larger cans.


5 Tierney@ Get Your Veg On January 31, 2012 at 11:49 am

This chili looks great! I’ll bet it would be really tasty served over a baked potato with some nutritional yeast sprinkled on top.


6 Esther J February 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I had leftovers today over a baked sweet potato. Just yummy.


7 Linda Suchy January 31, 2012 at 12:02 pm

I love all your recipes! Thank you for your site!


8 wendy (healthy girls kitchen) January 31, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Last year I made it a point to inspire people to have Plant-strong Super Bowl Parties. I even went as far as contacting a bunch of bloggers asking them to post recipes of no-oil vegan super bowl party ideas. My efforts were met with limited success.

This year? It’s all the rage! I’m so excited! It seems like everyone is talking about their Healthy Super Bowl Party recipes. I couldn’t be happier. Seems our little movement is getting a little bit bigger. 🙂 xoxo


9 Susan Voisin January 31, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Wendy, I wish I’d seen your post! Before posting this, I did a Google search for low-fat vegan Super Bowl recipes and found practically nothing. Maybe things are changing, but it’s still tough to find healthy recipes.


10 Karen January 31, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I make a similar chili with TVP and black beans. I recently took a crockpot of it to a party and while there were other vegetarian chilies in addition to a traditional (meat) chili my pot came home empty and I had several requests for the recipe, most from non vegans.


11 Alana Helbig January 31, 2012 at 5:21 pm

I love all the hearty delicious recipes you post. This year I made a resolution that each week I would cook a new recipe. Thanks to your blog I’ve always got something new and exciting to try!


12 luminousvegans January 31, 2012 at 6:17 pm

I love chili and this version looks especially hearty and filling (and simple)! I like the idea that someone mentioned of having it over potatoes with nooch! 🙂


13 carol January 31, 2012 at 9:54 pm

I just want you to know Susan that I started the ETL Vegan plan in December, got the Forks over Knives book around the first week of January, and met a wonderful lady at a local health food grocery store who told me of your blog. I have lost around 8 pounds and although the other two books with recipes are good, your blog is by far the best! Your recipes are all delicious and low fat. You have helped me tremendously in learning how to cook vegan. What’s more my husband has now found that he likes surviving with out meat, dairy and added oils and butters and he has lost almost 20 pounds just by eating the same foods I am. Keep those recipes and helpful comments coming Susan, you are helping me to change my life. I have been cooking the old way for over 50 years now so I need the helpful hints and learning techniques. It is like I am discovering a whole new challenging world. Thank you, thank you, thank you…


14 carol January 31, 2012 at 10:06 pm

A quick question to anyone who has a “rotation plan” for meal planning. Can you describe that method in a nutshell? Are you in a definite two week plan? a monthly plan? a six week plan? A planned food variety of beans and veggies designed for essential health benefits? A dinner rotation or all three meals a day rotation planning? I am sure I am making this sound difficult but since I am new at this I would like to have some sort of organization about my cooking so it gets easier rather than being so time consuming. Thanks.


15 K February 1, 2012 at 6:55 am

Just made this recipe for my dinner and it is fantastic! I added textured vegetable protein to it for the meat eaters in my family so it would have the meaty look and feel of carnivore chili. It went down an absolute treat. Thanks!


16 Kum February 1, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Chili looks so tasty…

Thank you so much for sharing so many vegan recipes, which is not only good for our health, but also great for our beautiful planet.


17 Drisana (SoulShineBlog) February 2, 2012 at 4:57 am

This looks like a great chili! I’ve never tried adding cocoa powder before…I bet it’s good!


18 Maya (The Keen Kitchen) February 2, 2012 at 9:16 am

Once I started adding cocoa powder to chili, I never went back! It’s such a fantastic “secret” ingredient that adds another layer of richness and depth without a lot of calories. Fan.


19 Amy February 2, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Made this chili for the family tonight. Enough for an army! Very tasty 🙂 I will use jalapeno next time, went with canned mild green chilis and would have liked a smidge more zing. Will most certainly make this one again. Thanks!


20 Julia February 3, 2012 at 12:33 am

Hi Susan – just a quick question for you (apologies if this is covered elsewhere on your site, I’m new!). What are your thoughts on using dried beans instead of canned? I’ve got a pantry full of them for the first time (kidney, butter, and cannellini beans, chickpeas, lentils, split peas etc.) and though I can’t wait to use some, I’m a little intimidated by all the talk of kidney beans being toxic if improperly soaked, drained and rapidly boiled. Have you ever had problems with this? I want to get cracking on a big-pot chili – the Irish winter isn’t cold, but it sure is damp and I need something to warm me up!


21 Susan Voisin February 3, 2012 at 7:07 am

I think dried beans are always the best option if you have the time; they avoid the BPA problem of canned beans and just plain taste better. All of your beans will cook faster if you soak them, so starting off with soaked kidney beans shouldn’t be any different. Then make sure they boil for at least 10 minutes. If you cook them in a pressure cooker, that will automatically happen. The only real problem I see is using a slow cooker, which doesn’t get hot enough to boil them. So use a pressure cooker or cook on the stove and you shouldn’t have any problem.


22 Mary Catherine February 4, 2012 at 12:28 am

I’m delighted with the Vegan Holiday Book. The recipes attributed to Susan are especially inspiring and the photos are lovely. It’s motivating me to stick with vegan version of Weight Watchers – as is FFV. Thanks!


23 Sara February 4, 2012 at 7:00 am

I’m from Arizona, where we’re serious about our chili. This recipe is almost exactly what I use to make my chili, except I use a can of tomato paste instead of the sauce. I maintain that the cocoa is the secret to its success.

I have also gotten to where I also throw in 8oz of mushrooms and a package of tempeh into the pot to make it heartier (and bigger). Also, a touch of liquid smoke can be an awesome addition. But these things are optional to the base.


24 Carol Udart February 4, 2012 at 11:31 am

I have this book and made this chili a couple weeks ago. It is my new favorite chili recipe, and it makes a lot!


25 Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner February 4, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I love chili during the winter — it is the perfect way to stay warm and get in some veggies! 🙂


26 Pam February 6, 2012 at 11:43 am

Made this chili yesterday – it was / is excellent on it’s own and when partnered with a grain.

I cooked 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water. Put some quinoa is a bowl and spooned the chili over it, topped it with some yogurt cheese. Addicting!

Thanks for the great recipe.


27 Liz goff February 6, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Made the chili this weekend. It was great! Thanks


28 Esther J February 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm

This was a hit in my house! Even my stepfather, who never saw a steak he didn’t like, cleaned his bowl (He had no idea how healthy he was eating!).

For years, I made a veg chili, but never with cocoa, that secret ingredient that works wonders and which I (inadvertently) doubled, along with the chili powder, but it turned out just fine. Actually, I’ll probably keep it that way in the future, as everyone really did love it.

Thanks for this!


29 Mia J February 9, 2012 at 10:48 pm

I have a huge bag of pinto beans, and I’m so excited to see this delicious way to use them up! Do you have an idea as to how many cups dried beans would equal 3 28 oz cans of beans? Thanks!


30 Megan February 13, 2012 at 10:46 am

I tried this chili yesterday and OMG! It was amazing. I tasted it for seasonings before it was even cooked and kept tasting. It was DELICIOUS! The tomato and cilantro really made the chili pop.

I’m a vegetarian at the moment and trying to move on to vegan but with all these amazing recipes you have on here I can see the change coming closer. I also tried the lentil and mushroom shepard’s pie (great! i love wine and mushrooms so I added a lot) and the chocolate chia seed pudding. It reminded me of chocolate cake batter. I loved it!


31 Ella McDaniel February 16, 2012 at 3:04 pm

The addition of cocoa powder is brilliant! I would never have thought of it, but it’ll add some amazing earthy complexity. I might cut into the health factor a bit with some non-dairy sour cream, though; the contrast between cool creaminess and hearty heat is too much to pass up!


32 Siwinile Mabhena February 20, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Hie i love your recipes and they are so easy to do and they are so colorful I lake
recipe books with pictures


33 Marie February 27, 2012 at 7:56 pm

I made it with dried beans (soaked overnight), fresh tomatoes (pealed) and tomato paste (2 table spoons) with long hot peppers (2 of them) . I added some carrots as well (4 small ones) and only one onion. I added only a tea spoon of the cocoa powder and cooked it for ~3.5 hours. It came out AMAZING! Thick with rich taste. Definitely making this one again!


34 caterina June 10, 2012 at 6:51 am

I would like to use dried beans instead of canned ones: how do you suggest using? Thank you for all you great recipes!!


35 Shae August 29, 2012 at 6:24 am

Susan, thank you so much for this recipe! I made this last week and it was delicious. I think I only used 2 of the small cans of kidney beans. I also made some baked tortilla chips to go with it, so yummy! Perfect for Autumn (here in Australia) :).


36 Abra February 1, 2013 at 9:31 am

I was wondering if this chili can be made in a slow cooker? I will be at vegan cheese making class on Sunday but want to take this to our Super Bowl party on Sunday. GO 49ers 🙂


37 Susan Voisin February 1, 2013 at 9:55 am

I think it would be fine in the crockpot. For added flavor, I would go through the first step of sautéing the onion in a skillet and then add it all to the crockpot.


38 Abra February 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Thanks Susan. I did that and am now transferring to crock pot. So glad I saw this! I thought I subscribed. I hope everyone has a fun Super Bowl Sunday 🙂


39 Anastasia Crisis February 1, 2013 at 8:51 pm

Hi Susan, I’ve posted this on your facebook, but also wanted to share it in this recipe since it’s along the same topic. I’ve been following fatfreevegan for a few years now and have cooked up a storm following your recipes! Thank you for all your tips, fine cooking, and lovely photographs.

Now myself and a buddy of mine have created a vegan blog and podcast (a foodclass and music selection), do check it out, I would love to hear some feedback.

First episode features vegan alternatives for Super Bowl:

Hope you like 🙂 Have a great weekend.


40 Penny February 14, 2013 at 3:45 pm

I make it similar, just less beans and more bell pepper and corn in it. The key are the spices and the cacao powder. It even convinces people, who claim they don’t eat veg chili.


41 Lauren Crigler September 25, 2013 at 1:04 pm

My vegan family (me, my husband, and our two little boys) visited my meat eating family of origin (my parents, my brother and his family, my aunt and cousins). Everyone LOVED this recipe. My mom is visiting me this weekend and she has placed an order for this! Thank you for this recipe and many others that make my vegan life easier and happier!


42 Pam December 27, 2013 at 10:17 am

I made this chili recipe a few days ago and oh my god was it delicious!!! And it made enough to last a couple days. Reheated it was just as wonderful too! My husband and son couldn’t get enough 🙂 I would HIGHLY recommend this recipe to anyone! 🙂


43 Carl September 4, 2014 at 6:14 pm

This recipe is amazing!! I’m recently plant based, and made a “chili” last week that had carrots, chickpeas, and celery. It was good, but it lacked that real chili flavor I was craving. This hit the nail right on the head. Thank you so much for posting!


44 Abby July 19, 2015 at 9:34 am

i made it! i also threw in some veggies that was left behind in the corner of my fridge, they taste amazing!
can’t taste cacao at all, once again it was so good that my non-vegan family members were so tempted to have some too <3
thank you for the recipe! its a hit!


45 Cindy Tucker August 16, 2015 at 2:50 am

Just made this for a gathering of about two dozen friends, none of whom are vegan, and half of whom were teenagers. I prepped in my iron skillet before transferring to the crock pot. Doubled the chili powder — used a mix of ancho and chipotle chili powders, added diced sweet potato, corn, and zucchini/summer squash, and four types of beans. It was fabulous. Barely a smiggen was leftover even though pulled pork and grilled chicken were also served (and had plenty left over). Susan, you are a treasure. I so appreciate your generosity in sharing your inspired creations.


46 Liz February 7, 2016 at 11:53 am

The recipes here look and sound so good. I can’t wait to make them.


47 Luke July 11, 2016 at 9:29 pm

I make this recipe all the time and I’m not even vegan. Its just that good! I also have successfully used red wine instead of coco powder.


48 Haley September 11, 2016 at 12:40 pm

Did you drain your cans of beans?


49 Susan Voisin September 11, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Yes, drained and rinsed.


{ 4 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: