A bowl of chili with sauce and toppings on the side
Photography, Hildur Ársælsdóttir

Vegan Beet Chili With Pickled Onions and Avocado Mash

A chili recipe that tastes even better the next day.

Grated beets are brilliant in this recipe for their colour, texture and taste. When feeding a crowd, this is the dish to cook because it’s always a success – and it tastes even better the next day. This recipe also makes more pickled red onion and jalapeno than you need for the dish; it keeps in the refrigerator for several weeks in the brine and can be used wherever you like a bit of a spicy, pickled kick.

A bowl of chili with sauce and toppings on the side

Vegan Beet Chili With Pickled Red Onion And Avocado Mash

ELLE Gourmet
Grated beets are brilliant in this vegan chili recipe for their colour, texture and taste.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 2


Pickled Red Onion & Jalapeño

  • 1 small red onion halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 jalapenos cut into thin rounds
  • ¾ cup gluten-free rice vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 2 limes zested and juiced
  • 2 makrut lime leaves
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp flaked sea salt

Beet Chili

  • 1 lb beets trimmed and washed
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic grated
  • 2 red finger chilies seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 sweet red pepper diced into ½-inch pieces
  • cups passata strained tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp hot pepper flakes
  • tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp flaked sea salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

Avocado Mash

  • 1 ripe avocado pitted
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro plus more to serve
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • ½ tsp flaked sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • cup vegan sour cream
  • chopped cilantro for serving
  • lime wedges to serve


Pickled Red Onion & Jalapeño

  • Place onions and jalapeños in heatproof bowl; set aside. In small saucepan, bring vinegar, zest and juice of limes, makrut lime leaves, coconut sugar and salt to boil; cook until sugar is dissolved. Immediately pour over the onion and jalapeños; let stand until cool. Transfer into jar with fitted lid.

Beet Chili

  • In large pot, cover beets with cold water; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until tender when pierced with tip of paring knife, about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool; peel, then grate with box grater or grater attachment in food processor. Set aside.
  • Heat avocado oil in large pot over medium heat; add onion, garlic and chilies and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add bell pepper, reserved beets, passata, black beans, lemon juice, sweet red pepper, hot pepper flakes, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until deep red-brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Avocado Mash

  • Just before serving, use fork to gently mash avocado in bowl; add cilantro, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir just to combine.
  • Serve chili in bowls topped with sour cream, avocado mash, pickled onion and jalapeño, cilantro and lime wedges.


Tip: If using dried black beans, start by rinsing them and placing them in a large pot. Cover with three times their volume of water; let soak for 12 hours or overnight. Drain. Return beans to pot and add enough water to cover by 3 inches, 2 tsp salt and flavourings, such as a halved onion, garlic cloves, herbs and bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until beans are tender, 40 to 60 minutes.
Keyword avocado, avocado mash, beet chili, beets, pickled red onions, vegan chili

A light pink and grey cookbook cover in a tan frame

Recipes excerpted from Vegan at Home: Recipe for a Modern Plant-Based Lifestyle © 2022 by Solla Eiríksdóttir, adapted for ELLE Gourmet. Photography © 2022 by Hildur Ársælsdóttir. Reproduced by permission of Phaidon. All rights reserved.
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