Now that it's cold out, there's nothing I relish more than a big bowl of vegetarian chili. This one's hearty and spicy enough that you won't miss meat, and it's also pretty smoky and fairly heavy on the tomato, just the way I like it. In terms of beans, I've used Rio Zape, Borlotti, and black beans, all from Rancho Gordo, with success. That said, really any bean -- kidney, cannellini, etc -- would work. Also, it goes without saying that ground beef is delicious in this chili. —Rivka
at least 6
red onion, chopped
cloves garlic, smashed with the back of a knife and skins removed
pimenton, i.e. smoked paprika
chopped chipotles in adobo sauce, to taste
Rio Zape beans
packages Morningstar Farms veggie crumbles, or other fake ground beef product
16-oz. can diced or whole tomatoes, with liquid (if whole, chop)
This chili works best when the beans are partially cooked beforehand. Each type of bean should be cooked separately to ensure proper texture, and beans' cooking time varies widely depending on size and age. My Rio Zape beans, which I order from Rancho Gordo, require about 6 hours of pre-soaking and take about 1 hour to cook. The black beans require about 4 hours of soaking and take about 45 minutes. If you like your chili with perfectly-cooked beans, don't fully cook them beforehand; stop about 2/3 of the way to done. I cook them fully, because I know my chili will be reheated several times over the course of the week and don't much care about having mushy beans in my chili.
In a large soup pot, heat a healthy glug of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; using a wooden spoon, stir to coat with oil, then cook until translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add cumin, paprika, and chipotles. Stir to incorporate.
Add beans, fake ground beef, and tomatoes. Stir these into the onion-spice mixture. Bring chili to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook about half an hour, until flavors mingle and the kitchen smells fragrant.
About 5 minutes before the chili is done, add red and green bell pepper. Stir to incorporate, and cook just until pepper has softened but is not mushy, about 5 minutes.
Serve topped with cheddar cheese, sliced avocado, crumbled tortilla chips, salsa, sour cream, chopped jalapeños, or any other fix-ins.
I'm a healthcare consultant by day, food blogger by night, and I make a mean veggie chili. I'm eat a mostly-vegetarian diet, but have a soft spot for meat, especially braised short ribs. And this profile wouldn't be complete without an admission that I absolutely am addicted to cookies and chocolate. Finally, I love the idea of food52 and can't wait to share and read my and others' favorite recipes!