Rich Vegetarian/Vegan Chili

This is a recipe that I got from my mother, who was not a vegan or vegetarian, but liked this chili!  I’ve adapted it over the years to suit my more veggie tastes. It’s very popular in my house and some version is made at least every couple of weeks. We have it the first day as chili and then at least once after on corn chips with all the goodies as nachos.  And no, I did not take a picture again, but this time it’s because chili isn’t very photogenic. ; )
(I haven’t made this so far this week, but post the recipe by special request of Esther.)

Ingredients

pinto beans

Image by JPWBee

jalapenos

Image by Florian

cilantro

Image by Island Vittles

2 lbs pinto, kidney, black beans or a mix (use canned if you prefer)
2 medium onions diced
4 stalks celery sliced thin
2 cups carrots shredded or chopped
2 large cans crushed tomato (or 1 crushed and 1 diced)
1 large bunch cilantro minced
1-2 jalapenos diced
3 T olive oil
4 T cumin
3 T cocoa powder
3 T smooth peanut butter
sea salt
pepper

Process

Soak beans overnight in large pot of water (after sorting and rinsing).  The next afternoon, replace water with fresh to about 1 inch above beans and place on high heat until boiling.  Reduce heat slightly and cook until beans have softened almost fully.  If you are using mixed beans, be sure the largest or toughest beans are done enough.  You get to skip this whole step if using canned beans.  In that case, just rinse the beans and place them in the pot with water to just over the level of the beans.

In a frying pan, place 2-3 T of olive oil, diced onions, diced jalapeno, and celery.  Heat to medium high while stirring frequently until vegetables have softened and the onions become translucent.

In your large pot (now with cooked beans), add the sauteed vegetables, the carrots, the cumin, cilantro, and tomato.  Stir and simmer until carrots are cooked sufficiently.  After that, additional cooking time is really up to you.  More cooking will break down the texture of the beans and thicken the soup into a more creamy consistency – which some people like.  Less cooking will result in a chunkier chili.  When you are close to finished (within 30 minutes of completion), add the peanut butter and chocolate and stir in.

Each time you make this, it can come out differently based on how much of each thing you add, but it accommodates a lot of variation.  Increase the PB & C for a richer taste.  Add more diced tomato for a chunkier chili.  Put in extra veggies (bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant are excellent, and squash adds a different flavor) for a little vitamin boost.  Remove the cilantro if that doesn’t please you.  If you don’t have any fresh jalapenos in the house, this can be done with jarred peppers or chili powder.  You can even add browned beef, chicken, or pork (blarf) or tofu (yay) if you want even more protein than the beans provide.

Serve with sour cream and grated cheese (vegan or non) and crackers.  This and a side salad makes a full and delicious high fiber meal!

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5 Responses to Rich Vegetarian/Vegan Chili

  1. Derek says:

    So you have released the secret ingredient. The peanut butter makes the difference and helps to add a meaty flavor; it’s very good!

    • theveganasana says:

      I know. I was a little torn about that, but since the kids have told everyone they know “my mom puts peanut butter in the chili!,” I figure it’s not such a secret :)

  2. scrapper al says:

    Wow, I never heard of peanut butter in chili. I wonder if other nut butters would work as well. Thanks for sharing your secret.

  3. Pingback: Vegan Comfort Food | elephant journal

  4. Pingback: Meatless Monday for the Omnivore Family | The Yogawood Blog

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