Cherry-Chipotle Summer Chili | Oil-free & Plant-based

Recipe by Katie Mae

Makes 6 servings | Ready in 30 minutes | Stores 1 week in the fridge


1 sweet onion, diced
1 Portobello, diced
1 jalapeno or Fresno pepper, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
½–1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
24 oz tomato sauce, no salt added
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth OR water
3 cups red kidney beans (two 14oz cans, drained and rinsed)
1½ cups cooked chickpeas (14oz can, drained and rinsed)
12 oz sweet cherries or strawberries (2 cups)
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow bell pepper, diced
1 lime, juiced


  1. In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, add the onion, portabella, hot pepper, and ground cumin. Cover and dry-sauté for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Once the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are tender, add the tomato sauce, vegetable broth, oregano, chipotle powder, and kidney beans to the pot. Lower the heat to medium, and let simmer for at least 10 minutes.
  3. While the chili cooks, add the chickpeas and cherries to a food processor. Pulse them until both the beans and cherries are in small pieces. Use a spatula to transfer this mix to the soup pot.
  4. Turn off the heat, and stir in the diced bell pepper and lime juice. Let the soup sit for another 10 minutes, so the flavors can blend. As a summer dish, this chili can be enjoyed warm, at room temperature, or chilled. It’s delicious any way you serve it.

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We often think of chili as a warm, hearty dish for the Fall when the days start to get a little bit cooler, but this Summer chili blows that belief to pieces!

I was prompted to make a “summertime” chili when I was oddly craving a chili on a hot Sunday afternoon. I thought why not make a hearty bean stew that can be served warm, at room temp, or even chilled??

As I started to write the recipe, I was balancing the different flavor components in my head. The tomatoes would give umami (savory deliciousness), but also significant acidity. I’d add shrooms for a little more umami; tempeh wasn’t an option since I already had a Chili Con Tempeh. There would definitely be one or more peppers to give the chili a spicy heat. The best aka rich-flavored and well-rounded chilis also have a sweet ingredient to offset the acid and heat. What would my sweet food be??

Ahah! This is the perfect chance to highlight a summer fruit!!

My first thought… DARK SWEET CHERRIES!

This was going to be delicious!

Any true flavor junkie knows how fabulous the cherry-chipotle combo is, but if you have yet to experience this pair, just one bite of this chili and you’ll never forget it!

Don’t take my word for it though… I made this whole food, plant-based chili in my cooking class at TrueNorth Health today, and the students who had a chance to try it instantly fell head over heels!

The bottom line is that a bowl of my Cherry-Chipotle Summer Chili is a mouth-watering entrée, no matter the temperature.

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