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Light Vegetarian Bean Chili
For a vegetarian bean chili recipe that was rich and highly flavorful, with a nice, sharp heat as well as some gentle sweetness, we narrowed down a list of eight initial contenders to three beans with an earthy flavor and firm texture—red kidney, pinto, and black. To season our vegetarian bean chili recipe we decided to add a sweet red pepper to our base of onions and garlic. Chili powder, along with whole cumin seeds and a little cayenne, provided the depth and heat we sought. For the liquid, we decided to stick with water and the customary tomatoes. (less)
We recommend a mix of pinto, black, and red kidney beans. If you like your chili spicier, you can increase the amount of cayenne. Serve this chili over rice.
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 medium onion , minced
1 large red bell pepper , stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine
9 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 3 tablespoons)
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 cups canned beans (see note), drained and rinsed
2 cups water
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lime
1. Toast the cumin seeds in a large Dutch oven over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in the onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, oil, cayenne, and ˝ teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Stir in the beans, water, tomatoes, oregano, and brown sugar, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the chili is slightly thickened, about 25 minutes.
3. Stir in the corn and continue to simmer until heated through, 5 to 10 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the cilantro and lime juice, and season with salt to taste. (The chili can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.)