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  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 9 cups

Broiling small cubes of polenta creates crunchy croutons with appealing charred edges—the perfect finish to this deliciously spiced vegan chili.

Tip: Chile peppers contain oils that can irritate your skin and eyes. Wear plastic or rubber gloves when working with them. 

A pot of deep red mole-style vegan chili topped with corn and strips of jicama


  • ½ of a 16-oz. pkg. tube-style polenta
  • 1 8-oz. pkg. fresh cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 fresh jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped (see tip in recipe intro)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon date paste
  • 1 tablespoon no-salt-added almond butter
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 15-oz. can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5-oz. can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 15-oz. can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz. can no-salt-added pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1½ cups frozen fire-roasted corn
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional toppings, such as toasted pepitas, chopped fresh cilantro, and/or julienne-cut jicama


  1. Preheat broiler. For croutons, cut polenta into ½-inch cubes. Place polenta in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned, tossing once. Cool on a wire rack.
  2. In a large pot cook the next five ingredients (through garlic) over medium 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water, 1 to 2 Tbsp. at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.
  3. Stir in the next seven ingredients (through cinnamon); cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add the next six ingredients (through corn). Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer 30 to 40 minutes to blend flavors.
  4. Season with salt and black pepper. Top servings with croutons and, if desired, pepitas, cilantro, and jicama.

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(5 from 1 votes)
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cliff23 hours ago
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i could eat this once a week

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about the author

Nancy Macklin

Nancy Macklin has a bachelor of science in dietetics from Iowa State University and a master of science in health services administration from the University of Saint Francis. Nancy worked as a hospital-based clinical dietitian, providing counseling for diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss and as a food service director in health care dining sites. She now serves as a test kitchen dietitian, developing 500+ recipes per year. She is a member of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics and International Association of Culinary Professionals.

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