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This chili was supposed to be vegetarian.  But today I didn’t have vegetable broth handy, whereas I DID have chicken broth … so here we are.  It turned into not-vegetarian vegetarian chili.  Today I should call it “Almost” Vegetarian Chili.

Here are the simple 10 step instructions on how to make this yourself!

Step 1:  Put babies down for nap.  Get big sis working on her new 100 piece puzzle.

Step 2: Do the dishes that have accumulated from breakfast and lunch.  Dig out your trusty paper copies of favorite recipes.



Reminisce for awhile about where you were when you actually printed this recipe.  Wow … 2004 was pre wedding, pre kids … Man, I even worked out at a GYM 3-4x a week back then …

Step 3:  Take a sip of your cold coffee that you still haven’t finished from the morning.  Reheat coffee for the 4th time in hopes you’ll get to drink it hot THIS time.

Step 4:  Chop the vegetables before babies wake up from nap.


Step 4: Stop after the first two peppers because babies have decided not to nap today after all.  Rescue babies from those “awful baby cages” you put them in twice a day (oh the humanity!).  Chop the rest of the veggies, intermittently removing all babies from work/prep area (since it’s clearly the most fun and safe place to play in the house, between the stove and mommy holding sharp knives and such).


Step 5: Finish chopping.


Step 6:  Take a break to go to the park.  After all, it’s Sunday and it’s beautiful outside.


After returning from park …

Step 6:  Saute veggies.


Step 6:  Add liquid ingredients and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer.


Step 7: Feed babies their dinner while chili is simmering.

Step 8:  Prepare acorn squash in microwave for spectacular-wow-factor-presentation (totally unnecessary but yummy nonetheless).  First cut an acorn squash in half.  **Authors note: Do this carefully without cutting off any fingers.  A trip to the ER would be terribly inconvenient at this hour.



Step 9:  Add cous cous to mixture.  Give babies their pears for dessert.  Simmer until cous cous cooked.

Step 10:  Choose toppings of choice.  Remember how I said if you buy enough avocados, one is bound to be ripe at the right time?  Well this one was probably past ripe but I could salvage some of it.

Serve in acorn squash bowls.  Remove husband’s pile of paperwork that he has conveniently decided to take out and spread all over the kitchen table … because 5:30 pm is the perfect time to submit T&E receipts, right?

Chili in Acorn Squash bowl

And eat.

The reason I love this recipe is that you get all of the chili flavor, and the texture is still “meaty” from the cous cous.  And the squash gives it a little sweetness to counteract the heat.   If you’re trying to do meatless monday, or you have some veggie centric friends, it’s a great vegan-friendly option for a football party (assuming you remember to buy vegetable broth … oops).

Here’s the cliff notes version of the recipe, without any trips to the park.


Vegetarian Chili
Recipe Type: Vegetarian
Author: Laura
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Vegetarian Chili with Couscous
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 TB dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 TB chili powder
  • 1 TB cumin
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz can white kidney beans or butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup uncooked whole wheat couscous
  • Optional sour cream, chopped chives, or avocado as toppings
  • Optional: Acorn squash bowl
  1. Heat oil in large stockpot over medium heat
  2. Add onion, peppers, and garlic and sauté until softened
  3. Add herbs and spices and salt, stir to coat vegetables
  4. Add tomatoes, broth, and beans, bring to a boil
  5. Reduce heat to medium, simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes
  6. Add couscous and simmer, uncovered, 5-7 minutes
  7. Discard bay leaf
  8. Ladle chili into bowls and top servings with 1 tsp sour cream, cubed avocado, and/or chives
To make acorn squash bowl, halve the squash, place halves upside down in shallow baking dish and microwave on high 5-7 mins, until fork tender. Don’t forget to turn off the turntable![br][br]Originally inspired by recipe in Shape Magazine (downloaded from in December 2004)

Now for Step 11:  Inform hubby it’s his turn to clean up the kitchen …

Messy Kitchen

Laura Sig




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12 Comments on Recipe: Vegetarian Chili with Cous Cous

  1. I put a few stab holes into my squash and microwave it about 5 mins before cutting in half. Seriously much easier. Decreases the risk to those fingers.

  2. I am an avid collector of chili recipes and this one caught my eye as soon as I saw the acorn squash bowl. How creative and fun and a great way to get kids to try squash! Perfect for Meatless Monday or anytime you feel like “going vegetarian!”

  3. Love that this #vegetarian #Chili recipe has a wow factor #presentation in an #acornsquash! I put brown rice in my chili and here’s a great idea done with #couscous! Love it. Tasty and #healthful!

  4. GREAT recipe, the nice thing about a recipe like this you can play around with the ingredients and seasonings.
    Hey folks where in this recipe does it say Chicken broth. Some of you must be referring to a different recipe.
    Will definitely try this one again. Thanks.

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