Vegetarian Vida Chili

January 11th, 2010

Vida = Life. From the Costa Rican term, “Pura Vida” meaning Pure Life, at greeting that Tica’s & Tico’s use in the Americas. In my many travels to Costa Rica I have tasted some amazing food & spices, and have been so heavily influenced by them that I added them to my pallet and even brought some of the spices back to the U.S. to make my recipes truly authentic. Here is one simple recipe, prep time is simple, and it cooks all day in your crock pot or dutch oven. Rich in flavor and can be used as a main dish or even just a dip to snack on.

Vegetarian Vida Chili

by Scott Ingenito


12 mini peppers (4 red, 4 yellow, 4 orange)  OR 6 Large peppers (2 red, 2 yellow, 2 orange)

2 spicey jalapenos

1/2 vidallia onion

1 can black beans

2 cans dark kidney beans

1 can pink beans

1 can tomato sauce

1 can diced tomatos

2 tbs of Cilantro cooking base

1/4 cup of chilli spice*

1 tbs of Costa Rican cooking salsa*

1 tbs of ground cumin

1 tbs fresh cracked pepper

1/2 tbs sea salt*

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp mesquite spice*

1 tbs smoked paprika*


  1. open and rinse your beans, you want natural organic beans but if you use canned they must be thoroughly rinsed then let them drain as you work on step 2.
  2. Dice up your peppers & onion.
  3. Into your Crok-Pot combine all of your vegetables & beans, then fold in your spices thoroughly.
  4. cover & set on high for approximetely 4 hours. I find that this cooking method and time works best, it cooks and blends all the flavors evenly and makes for excellent chilli.

(if you want to make this quicker you can cook this on your stove top in a dutch oven over medium-high heat for approximetely 60 minutes.)


I plate this chilli in a bowl, topped with fresh shaved sharp cheddar, and garnished with a few fresh cilantro leaves. On the side of the plate I add in some yellow or white corn chips for dipping with a drop of Greek Yogurt.

A nice Dark or organic beer goes perfect with this meal.

- Highly portable as well, can be left in your crock pot and brought to your tailgate party!

(Greek Yogurt can be substitued for sour cream if you really think you need the calories)

(Fresh Cilantro leaves can be substituted for fresh chopped scallion)

* these ingredients are authentic Costa Rican spices I brought back from my yearly trips to Costa Rica, they can be substituted, just make sure you get the most fresh spices you can find. and remember if you are using dry or less potent spices use less than listed above. Of course you should remember to taste along the way, add spices as you think you need to. I recommend waiting until after the first 2 hours to taste, some of these spices are not unlocked until they cook down and meld with the other ingredients.

Vegetarian Vida Chili

Hello world!

January 11th, 2010

Welcome to The Enlightened Chef’s Blog, this is a new blog highlighting Scott Ingenito in his quest to become a chef and share his passion & recipes with the world. This blog was launched January 11th 2010 and so much of the content & structure is still being worked out, please bare with me as I get things running smoothly. I promise to bring you some great recipes & insight really soon!