The World’s Second Eggplant and Zucchini Chili Recipe

As mentioned last week, I cooked up a pot of chili where I added a number of vegetables not known for residing in chili – at the risk of spending 3 hours tending a pot of food destined for the garbage pail.

It came out really good, so I decided to tempt fate twice and purposely try to overdo the veggies. Part of the purpose here is to try and get more vegetables in my diet – as of late, I’ve found myself going for the veggies less and less – a result more of my busy schedule and ‘eat-on-the-run’ lifestyle than a lack of affection for them.

Chili – if you happen to like the stuff – can be stored in the fridge for longer than many dishes, and freezes well. To make it a vector for vegetable-intake is an added bonus.

So last Friday on the way home, I decided to make a decidedly lopsided version of last week’s chili – using a ridiculous amount of eggplant and zucchini – two veggies that just happened to find their way into last week’s recipe simply because they were lying around.

I searched the Web and found exactly ONE eggplant and zucchini chili recipe – now there’s two.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 yellow onions quartered
  • 2 large eggplant, with skin on, diced
  • 4 medium zucchini, diced
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper (forgot the chilies and due to the volume, I thought I could get away with it)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1-2 teaspoons ‘Better Than Bullion’
  • 1 (28 ounce) can pureed tomatoes

In a large pot, drizzle olive oil over the sides and bottom. I browned the beef in the pot with a little salt while I cut up the veggies. It didn’t ‘brown’, exactly, but it was cooked.

Next I put in the vegetables. I cooked this in a large soup pot, and it seemed the proportions were all wrong – the beef was about a one-inch layer at the bottom of the pot – with the rest of the 12-inch deep pot mostly filled with the vegetables.

I was concerned at this point that it was already ruined, but forged ahead anyway.

I put in the crushed tomatoes, then stressed a bit because it seemed to be too little liquid to cook down this pile of veggies. I searched the fridge and found an ancient jar of ‘Better than Bullion’ and used up maybe the last teaspoon with maybe 2/3rd cup of water.

I then threw in the spices and gave it a good stir, which was not easy.

I then left it on a high heat with the lid on, stirring occasionally, and the vegetables did come around and begin to soften, releasing their own water content and becoming more chili-like.

After maybe a half-hour, I turned the heat to low, and let it simmer for another hour.

The result?

I think this was even better than the first batch.

Now – there’s a limit as to how much of the same stuff anyone can eat before you reach the point where you never want to see it again. That’s got to come for me, but it hasn’t as yet. I ate it over the weekend, as well as for lunch all week – and talking about it now makes me crave a bowl for breakfast.

5 thoughts on “The World’s Second Eggplant and Zucchini Chili Recipe

  1. Hi there:

    stumbled across your blog tonight (thought I can’t recall from where) and I’ve been stuck in my chair reading ever since!

    I’m 2.5 weeks into my second Atkins attempt (the first time was for 18 months and I lost 60 pounds), and I’m already starting to get tired of cheese, hamburgers, and SF Jell-o. Time to break out the recipe books! 500 Low-Carb Recipes by Dana Carpenter is my favorite one

    It appears I have the same problems you do – general unwillingness to eat vegetables, slacking on water intake, etc. So I’m really curious about this recipe. I love eggplant!

    I think I’ll try it this weekend, but for someone like me who is a spice weenie, how spicy is this chili?

    (and as a total aside, what WordPress plugin are you using for comment notification? I don’t like mine and am having a hard time finding one that lets folks select whether they want to be notified or not)

    1. Hi Isara,

      Glad you apparently found something of value here.

      Dara’s book of 15-minute recipes is also pretty good for the busy/lazy types like me.

      The recipe above is sort of high on the spice level, so what I would do is cook it for maybe 45 minutes with a minimum of spice, then add itsy-bitsy amounts to taste until you’re cool with it. This recipe ain’t rocket science – feel free to substitute.

      As to the WordPress plugin – as I’m using, I’m using whatever they give me, and I don’t really pay attention to that sort of thing, so I can’t be of much help there.

      If you try the recipe, let me know what you think, eh?



      1. Just finished up the recipe (and promptly burnt my mouth, I was so hungry) – tasty! I ended up using chicken broth instead of Better Than Bullion and this was definitely a mild variety. I need to add a bunch more chili powder, actually.

        The only changes I would make is to add a couple of bay leaves and slice the onions or chop them up. Oh, and I might sneak in some spinach, too, next time, and/or some chopped bell peppers.

        Looking forward to having this as a staple lunch recipe.

        1. I’ll probably end up using chicken broth today as I plan on making another pot. I already did the bell peppers – forgot to add them to the original recipe – they worked fine in this. Spinach – interesting idea. Bay leaf? I honestly don’t know what bay leaf adds to *anything* – always thought of it as some mysterious ritual rather than a spice. What do you think it would add?

          Also – if is is a little lacking on the spices, why not just put the remainder back in the pot and recook it for a bit while you adjust the spices?

  2. Oh, I could put it back in the pot, but I’m too busy eating it! 😉 And after I was finished with it last night, I realized bay would have been nice in there. Mine, due to aforementioned spice weenie-ness, is actually more like a heavy pasta sauce, so the bay would work better for that instead of for full-on chili.

    Bay’s good for adding a bit of savoryness to tomato dishes. It’s kinda hard to explain, but sort of a savory earthiness related to oregano. But it does need some time to cook into the dish.

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