“Hearty and packed with spices, this simple weeknight chili is cooked in a skillet, covered with cheese and tater tots then finished in the oven. Cozy, Vegan or Vegetarian Chili Tater Tot Hotdish feeds a small crowd, and travels and freezes with ease! vegetarian + gluten free with vegan option | Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Frontier Co-op. All opinions are my own.
What’s this casserole called a hotdish? Have you heard of them?
I didn’t even know it existed until I’d been blogging for a while. Seeing variations of this Midwestern casserole on Pinterest and Instagram had me exploring ways to create my own sort with a bit of my Texas roots spin.
A hotdish is a casserole baked in one dish, served hot and generally consists of a starch, meat, vegetables and canned soup. While this recipe doesn’t fully fit the traditional definition of a hotdish, there are so many ways and variations, I figured I could get by squeezing one more in.
In Texas, we always called these types of recipes casseroles, but still, I’d yet to see any casserole of my childhood covered in tater tots. This is something I’d never forget.
This easy vegan or Vegetarian Chili Tater Tot Hotdish relies heavily on spices to create its hearty and mouthwatering flavors. A must in any chili recipe is high quality chili powder. Frontier Co-op’s Organic, Non-GMO Chili Powder is a blend of spices including chili pepper, cumin, oregano, coriander, garlic, rice concentrate, allspice and cloves and creates a robust yet balanced flavor that’s not too spicy. I use it in all my chili recipes, and then some.
To take the spicy up, I’ve saved that job for jalapeños – as always, add more to taste or pile fresh or pickled on top!
Start by making the quick and easy vegetarian chili base in a cast iron skillet, sautéing flavor builders like onions, garlic, jalapeños and spices. Add the beans and broth then top with cheese and tater tots. For an easy vegan chili, simply leave the cheese off.
Pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes and what emerges is completely mouthwatering (just bury me in tater tots… mmmK?). A hearty chili underneath melty cheddar (or not) and crispy tater tots. Serve with a variety of toppings to make it your own, like green onions, cilantro, avocado, jalapeños, pepita crema and/or sour cream.
I know what you may be thinking…. more cheese on top?
This vegetarian chili recipe comes together quick and is made in one pan for an easy clean up so it’s ideal for a weeknight meal, cozy weekend night in and is easily portable to take to a social gathering. It makes excellent leftovers and is freezer friendly. While the ingredient list looks long, it’s mostly pantry staples. Do not let it deter you!
To learn more about member owned, responsible to people and planet Frontier Co-op, their spices and work, find Frontier Co-op on their website, on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Be sure to show how you #CookWithPurpose!
Have you had a hotdish? What’s your favorite?
Vegetarian Chili Tater Tot Hotdish
Hearty and packed with spices, this simple weeknight chili is cooked in a skillet, covered with cheese and tater tots then finished in the oven. Cozy, vegan or Vegetarian Chili Tater Tot Hotdish feeds a small crowd, and travels and freezes with ease! vegetarian + gluten free with vegan option
- 1 1/2 tsp Coconut Oil unrefined, virgin
- 1 1/2 C (190g) Purple Onion chopped, about one medium
- 1 C (125g) Green Bell Pepper chopped, about one medium
- 1 Tbs Pickled Jalapenos diced small
- 1 Tbs Garlic minced
- 1 1/2 Tbs Chili Powder I use Frontier Co-op, organic
- 2 tsp Black Pepper ground
- 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 1 1/2 Tbs Masa Harina* (see note)
- 2 Tbs Tomato Paste
- 1 C (245g) Fire Roasted Tomatoes + juice freeze the leftovers
- 1 1/4 C (280g) Vegetable Broth
- 1 Tbs Dried Oregano
- 2 C (425g) Pinto Beans** (see note) cooked, drained (one can)
- 2 C (425g) Kidney Beans cooked, drained (one can)
- 20 oz (567g) Prepared Tater Tots
- 1 1/2 C (115g) Cheddar Cheese shredded
Preheat oven to 400F (205c). Set oven rack in center of oven.
Into an oven safe 10" (25cm) skillet (I use cast iron), add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onions and bell peppers. Cook on medium-low for about 9-10 minutes, or until softened, stirring occassionally. Charring is good.
To the skillet, stir in the jalapeños and garlic. Sprinkle in the chili powder, ground black pepper, salt and masa harina. Stir to coat vegetables, about one minute. Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes, broth, oregano, and beans. Warm to a simmer, then remove from heat. Taste for salt adjustment, reseason if needed.
Sprinkle the cheese over the top if using (or 1/2 the amount for those who may not want cheese), then arrange the tater tots on top of the cheese (or over the chili) in a circular pattern. Bake in a 400F preheated oven for 30 minutes, until tater tots are golden and crisp and the chilly is bubbling underneath.
Serve with avocado, jalapeños, cilantro, green onions, and/or sour cream. Store in a lidded container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Freeze for up to two weeks.
*Find masa harina in the bulk bins or in the Mexican food isle in major grocery stores. The flavor and richness masa flour imparts takes this chili from ordinary to special. It can be omitted however and the chili won't be quite as thick. If so, reduce the vegetable broth by 1/4 C (56g).
**I generally use canned beans for this recipe. Black beans would be a good sub for either pinto and/or kidney beans. Look for cans without BPA lining and organic if possible.