You can make a robust vegetarian chili with common pantry items. Feel free to change around beans, spices and vegetables depending on what you have in the house. I love chipotle chilies in adobo sauce and always have a few cans around. Substitute any other fresh or canned chiles.
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (3.5-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
3 tablespoons chili powder, or to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 dried bay leaf
2 (15-ounce) cans beans (kidney, pinto, black, cannelini), rinsed and drained
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 (10-ounce) package frozen corn
1 ½ ounces semisweet chocolate (or 2 tablespoons cocoa)
Beer, as needed
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Brown rice, cooked
Sliced black olives, shredded cheese, sour cream or yogurt as condiments
Heat oil in large heavy pot over medium heat and sauté onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until golden, about 1 minute more.
Add tomatoes with juice, chiles, chili powder, cumin, oregano and bay leaf. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add beans, green pepper, corn and chocolate. Bring to a simmer and cook until chili thickens, 40-45 minutes. If chili seems too dry, add a little beer. Season to taste with salt, pepper and chili powder.
Remove bay leaf and serve over brown rice with small bowls of olives, cheese and sour cream or yogurt.