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This spicy vegan campfire chili is made with beans, peppers, tomatoes, and a beer broth. It’s an easy cold-weather stew that’s perfect for camping!
Are you excited for fall? I am!
Fall means pumpkin spice lattes, sweater-weather, and campfire cooking.
Cooking dinner over a fire is the best, but I can’t bring myself to make a campfire in the muggy summer heat. So yes, I am ready for fall!
I love making campfire veggie pizza, campfire burgers, campfire spiced red lentils, campfire lasagna, and, of course, this campfire chili.
If you’ve been following along with my Instagram stories, you’ve probably seen some of my campfire meals.
This easy vegan campfire chili is a perfect camping meal, because none of the ingredients need to be refrigerated.
Love chili but don’t have a campfire? Try making this (stovetop or camp stove) beer chili instead, or mix things up with this venison chili.
What Equipment Do I Need?
You’ll need access to a campfire ring. I used the campfire ring we built in our backyard.
You also need a way to make a campfire. You can use firewood or charcoal briquettes.
If your campfire ring does not have a grate, you might want to use a portable campfire grate. I did not use a portable grate in the photos, but a grate will make it easier to keep your cooking pot level (and prevent spills).
You’ll also need a non-enameled cast iron Dutch oven. If possible, use a Dutch oven made specifically for campfires. These are perfect for lots of camping recipes.
It’s also helpful to have a small table nearby (like a picnic table) where you can prepare all your ingredients.
Making a Campfire for Cooking
Large, crackling campfires are fabulous.
But they’re not the best for cooking.
Instead, you want to cook over very hot embers. You can either make a large campfire and then let it begin to diminish for cooking, or use charcoal instead of wood.
We have a double fire ring that allows us to make a larger fire in one ring, and then scrape embers over to the smaller ring.
Want more camping ideas? Check out all of our camping recipes and our trail guides!
How to Make Campfire Chili
Start by adding oil, diced onion, diced bell pepper, diced (or sliced) jalapeños, spices, and salt to the Dutch oven.
Stir everything together.
Set the Dutch oven onto the hot embers or onto a campfire grate.
Let the onions and peppers cook until they begin to soften.
It should take about five minutes.
Next, pour the beer into the pot.
It will fizz up and then the bubbles will disappear.
Add the canned tomatoes and simmer for about ten minutes.
If you prefer, you can swap canned tomatoes for frozen tomatoes. I like to make this chili with fire-roasted tomatoes or baked tomatoes frozen earlier in the year.
Finally, add the beans.
Simmer the chili for five more minutes to warm the beans.
Scoop the campfire chili into bowls and serve it with tortilla chips.
At this point, you can take the chili off the fire and stoke the campfire flames. We like to eat this chili along with a cold beer as we enjoy the warm fire.
- cutting board
- knife (for dicing veggies)
- wooden spoon
- soup ladle
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, diced
- 1 bell pepper
- 2 jalapeños, seeds + membrane removed, diced Use more peppers for hotter chili (and leave the seeds + membranes), or swap another bell pepper for a mild chili
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 12 ounces beer (1 bottle or can), stout or pale ale recommended Use gluten-free beer if needed
- 28 ounces can crushed tomatoes
- 15 ounces can kidney beans, drained + rinsed
- 15 ounces can black or pinto beans, drained + rinsed
- corn chips or cornbread, to serve (optional)
- Prepare campfire:Heat coals until they are very hot, or let a campfire burn down until the wood is smoldering but without active flames.Prepare chili:Add oil, onions, peppers, paprika, chili powder, and salt to the Dutch oven. Stir to combine.Set the Dutch oven onto the campfire grate (or directly onto the fire if using a Dutch oven with feet).
- Cook the onions and peppers until they soften (about 5 minutes, depending on how hot the fire is).
- Slowly pour the beer into the pot, using a wooden spoon to help scrape up any bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add the beans, and simmer 5 more minutes.
- Serve hot with corn chips.Leftovers / Make Ahead:Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
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