Vegetarian Chili Frito Pie is made with a healthy veggie chili adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home cookbook. Made in just under 30 minutes for a quick and easy weekday or weekend meal!
If I could eat chili and corn chips every day of my life, I would. That’s why I think this Vegetarian Chili Frito Pie is so perfect. Healthy, low calorie, chock-full-of-veggies chili on top of not so healthy fried, bagged corn chips. You know, it’s all about balance. The “if I’m going to eat a whole bag of Frito corn chips, I should at least add some vegetables in there” kind of balance.
This has been my go-to vegetarian chili recipe since 1994 and is adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day. Growing up, my Mom always made sure the majority of our diet came from whole, natural foods. She also cooked weekly vegetarian meals and many of them were from this cookbook.
When I left for college, Mom bought me a couple of the Moosewood cookbooks and their “cooks at home” one turned out to be my favorite. It’s such a down to earth cookbook with easy, healthy, 30 minute or less meals. It made cooking vegetarian meals more approachable and less scary for me.
Since beans are inexpensive and filling eats, this recipe became my main meal to make. I could make a huge pot and eat on it for days, even after feeding a few friends. Back then I wasn’t willing to waste my beer money on Fritos, so I just ate it as chili, no extras. Now I make this chili just to make Fritos pies!
I even get a little fancy and top it with this pico de gallo and some diced avocados (in addition to cheese and sour cream). Living the high life! And I drink a beer with it. Really living the high life!
I changed a few of the ingredients from the original Moosewood chili recipe, just out of personal preference. I use red bell peppers instead of green, increase the amount of chili powder from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon, slightly decrease the amount of olive oil and onion, and I sometimes use fire-roasted tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes. I also changed the cooking technique a little bit but again, all of these are just personal preferences, the original recipe is absolutely perfect as it is.
Enjoy this Vegetarian Chili Frito Pie recipe this weekend for a meatless main dish alternative.
- ½ cup bulgur wheat
- 1½ cup water
- 3 cups (28oz can) undrained canned chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce, or ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
- 2 red or green bell peppers, chopped
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cut corn
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz) can small red beans or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- salt to taste
- 1 bag of Frito corn chips
- optional accompaniments:
- sour cream, pico de gallo, shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, and diced avocado
- Place water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, add the bulgur, stir well, cover and simmer gently until cooked but still chewy (about 5-7 minutes).
- While the bulgur is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions until slightly soft (about 2-3 minutes). Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and Tabasco or cayenne. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add red bell peppers and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low, Add the tomatoes with their juice, corn, and both cans of beans; stir well. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes, or until fully heated. Add the bulgur and it's liquid to the chili. Stir well, cover, and let simmer for a few minutes to allow flavors to meld together. Add salt to taste.
- Put desired amount of Frito corn chips in a bowl and cover with chili.
- Top with sour cream, cilantro, avocado, cheese, and pico de gallo, if desired.