Monday, January 28, 2013

Vegetarian Chili

Over the summer, Piper and I decided to eat a mostly meatless diet.  Jason and Allie still want to eat meat.  It's been a fun challenge to find things we can all eat.

Chili is a winter staple around here.  I used to make it with ground beef and beans, lots of chili powder, beef broth and tomatoes.  Until I found this vegetarian recipe that my family has actually said they like better than the meat variety!  

One single batch of this feeds our family of four for more than 3 meals each.  I usually freeze some in small batches for Piper and I to eat on nights when Jason and Allie eat meat.  It's a lot of prep, but it goes a long way.


  • 1pound (2 1/2 cups) dried beans (I have used black beans, red kidney and pinto all with good results)
  • 2dried ancho chiles or 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1/2ounce dried shiitake mushrooms, chopped coarse
  • 4teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1(28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained with juice reserved
  • 3tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6garlic cloves, minced
  • 3tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4cup vegetable oil
  • 2pounds onions, chopped fine
  • 1tablespoon ground cumin
  • 7cups water
  • 2/3cup medium-grind bulgur
  • 1/4cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Toppings: cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, avocado, chopped tomatoes, fresh or pickled jalapenos, black olives

  1. Instructions

  1. 1. Bring 4 quarts water, 3 tablespoons salt, and beans to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Remove pot from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour. Drain beans and rinse well. Wipe out pot.
  2. 2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Arrange anchos on rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant and puffed, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate and let cool, about 5 minutes. Stem and seed chiles. Grind toasted chiles, mushrooms, and oregano in spice grinder or food processor until finely ground.  Remove from food processor to a bowl.
  3. 3. Process walnuts in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a different bowl. Process drained tomatoes, tomato paste, jalapeƱo(s), garlic, and soy sauce in food processor until tomatoes are finely chopped, about 45 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.
  4. 4. Heat oil in now-empty Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Lower heat to medium and add ground chile mixture and cumin; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rinsed beans and water and bring to boil. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook for 45 minutes.
  5. 5. Remove pot from oven. Stir in bulgur, ground walnuts, tomato mixture, and reserved tomato juice. Cover pot and return to oven. Cook until beans are fully tender, about 2 hours.
  6. 6. Remove pot from oven, stir chili well, and let stand, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Stir in cilantro and serve. (Chili can be made up to 3 days in advance.)