This chili recipe isn’t revolutionary, but a plant-based repertoire wouldn’t be complete without it. For a classic combo, serve with Corn Kernel Cornbread and a colorful salad, combining mixed greens, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, olives, and pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Recipe from Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life with More Than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipes by Nava Atlas. ©2014, published by HarperOne, reprinted by permission. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky.
Classic Veggie Chili with Lots of Variations
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or 3 tablespoons vegetable broth or water
- 1 large onion chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium or large bell pepper any color, finely diced
- 4 to 5 cups cooked or two 28-ounce cans drained and rinsed beans of your choice (see Variations)
- 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 11/2 to 2 cups cooked fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
- 1 to 2 fresh hot chili peppers see Variations, seeded and minced, or one 4- to 8-ounce can chopped mild green chilies
- 1 tablespoon good-quality chili powder or to taste
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder optional; highly recommended
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt to taste
Optional toppings (any or all)
- Lightly cooked or raw chopped onions or scallions
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Grated nondairy Cheddar-style or pepper Jack–style cheese
- Diced ripe fresh tomatoes
- Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until the onion is golden.
- Add remaining ingredients except salt along with 1/2 cup water. Simmer gently, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season gently with salt and adjust the other seasonings.
- If time allows, let stand for an hour or so off the heat, then heat through as needed before serving. The chili should be very dense, but if you’d like it a bit more on the soupy side, add another 1/2 to 1 cup water and continue to heat through. Ladle into bowls and pass around the garnishes.
- Use pink, pinto, red, or black beans, varying your choices each time you make this. Using two different beans in the same pot adds to the visual appeal.
- If using fresh chilies, for a spicier effect, use jalapeño or serrano peppers or 1 or 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (the latter come in cans or jars and are supremely incendiary). For a milder effect, use poblanos.
- For added texture, stir in a cup or so of cooked grain—quinoa, whole-grain couscous, or bulgur all work well. Adjust the liquid as needed.
- Winter squash or sweet potatoes added to chili are not only delicious but also add to its visual appeal. Toward the end of cooking time, add 2 cups or so cooked diced sweet potatoes or winter squash. Butternut or sugar pumpkins are particularly good.
Per serving: Calories: 265; Total fat: 4g; Protein: 15g; Carbohydrates: 47g; Fiber: 13g; Sodium: 25mg