Smoky Mexican Chili

This Mexican-inspired chili boasts all of the Mexican flavours that I love – black beans, corn, cilantro, lime and jalapeno. The smoky flavour comes from a few key ingredients that make this chili delicious and like no other chili you’ve ever had. There is one secret magical ingredient that takes this chili to the next level. It’s a quick and easy recipe and all of the ingredients that you’ll need to make this smoky chili can be found at your local supermarket. This is a vegetarian chili, but you can add meat to it if you like.

The first of the smoky ingredients in this recipe is smoked paprika. I love its sweet and smoky flavour. It’s one of my favourite spices. The next smoky ingredient is chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (dried smoked jalapeno peppers preserved in a tomato sauce). You can find canned chipotle peppers at any large supermarket chain. The last smoky ingredient and the star-ingredient in this recipe is roasted red peppers. You can find jarred roasted red peppers at the grocery store. It takes far too long to roast and peel peppers at home, so I prefer to buy them already prepared. (I got mine at Superstore). The roasted red peppers make this recipe so unique. They add a sweet and smoky depth of flavor. I also included yams for a little more sweet to counter the heat. This chili has the perfect balance of sweet and spice. It’s divine! You’re going to love it.

I’m also including my cornbread recipe in this post. Cornbread goes so well with chili. These are two great make-ahead recipes. Chili tastes even better the second day. The cornbread will keep for two days if you cover it well with foil or plastic wrap. We like toasting the cornbread the next day and enjoying it with some butter, and more chili of course.


Smoky Mexican Chili
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins

Sweet and smoky Mexican-inspired vegetarian chili

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: chili, mexican chili, veganchili, vegetarian chili
Servings: 4
Author: Rosa
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 medium yam, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (red, yellow or orange), chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, de-seeded and diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
Dry Spices
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 3 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt to start, more to taste
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Other Ingredients
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 can (796 ml) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (540 ml) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (341 ml) corn, drained and rinsed
Red Pepper Sauce
  • 1 jar (285 ml) roasted red peppers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo
  • 1/2 lime, juice (or 1 tsp red wine vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup queso fresco or crumbled feta (optional)
  • 1 jalapeno, de-seeded and sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced (optional)
  1. Add the olive oil to a large saucepan or pot on medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the chopped onions and stir for a couple of minutes. Then add the chopped yam and stir for a couple more minutes. Then add the chopped bell pepper and stir for another minute. Finally add, the diced jalapeno pepper and the garlic and stir for one more minute. 

  2. In a small bowl, stir the dry spices. Add the dry spices mixture and stir for a minute. Then add the vegetable stock and stir. 

  3. Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan and stir. Put the lid  on the pan. Turn the burner downt to low heat and allow the chili to simmer.

  4. While the chili is simmering, you can make the red pepper sauce. Put the drained and rinsed roasted red peppers, one chipotle pepper and the juice of half a lime in the food processor and blend until smooth.

  5. Add the red pepper sauce to the chili and stir. Allow the chili to simmer for another 20 minutes or longer if you have time. It will taste better the longer you let it simmer.

Recipe Notes

You can freeze the remaining chipotle peppers. Spread them out individually on a plate lined with parchment paper. Freeze the peppers for a couple of hours. Put them in a freezer bag for the next time you make chili.

Jalapeno Cornbread
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
55 mins

Sweet and Spicy Jalapeno Cornbread

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: cornbread, jalapeno cornbread
Servings: 10
Author: Rosa
Dry Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp and 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Wet Ingredients
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk (See note)
  • 1/4 cup melted and cooled butter, plus more for buttering the skillet
Fresh Ingredients
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen or canned)
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, de-seeded and diced
  1. Generously butter a 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet or non-stick pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  1. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. 

  2. Combine all of the wet ingredients in a medium bowl.

  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Whisk until combined.

  4. Add the corn and diced jalapeno and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until incorporated. 

  5. Ladle the batter into the skillet. 

  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Check it at 40 minutes. 

  7. Allow the cornbread to cool for 15-20 minutes before turning it out onto a serving dish.

Recipe Notes

If you don’t want to buy buttermilk, you can use  2% or whole milk instead and add a tsp of vinegar to it. Let it rest for 5 minutes and then stir. Alternatively, if you happen to have sour cream on hand, you can add a teaspoon of sour cream to the same quantity of milk, in lieu of buttermilk.