Chili is the kind of dish that reminds me of home and friends. It’s the kind of meal that you can really bond over. I like my chili in a sourdough bread boule, over hash browns, or with cornbread smothered with butter and honey. While this is a healthy chili with three kinds of beans, it packs a punch in the flavor department; even without the meat, this chili satisfies that need for savory, salty, fatty goodness that’s usually so comforting about a bowl of chili.
What makes this three bean chili special is the broth. This recipe has the richest, most flavorful tomato broth with the smokiness and heat of chipotle and mild green chilies. Since the broth is flavored with home-made salsa, it’s incredibly fresh and light.
And because no chili is complete without its sidekick cornbread, you’ll want to try this recipe for jalapeno cornbread. To soak up some of the broth, I’ve created a really light, savory cornbread with jalapenos. The amount of jalapeno is just enough for flavor–it’s not spicy in the least.
While I don’t mind putting in extra time to cook dried beans, I can certainly understand using canned beans for a one pot dish. Note that if you cook your own beans, you will have to dirty 3 separate pots (sorry). This is because beans cook at different rates depending on their age and size. It’s really important to taste a large spoonful of each bean before combining them into the same pot; sometimes the beans at the bottom of the pot cook slower. Stirring occasionally can help with this. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than a batch of chili with under-cooked beans.
With tomatoes coming into season, I’ve opted to make my own salsa because I think fresh tomatoes make this chili really sing. If tomatoes aren’t in season though, then try using 2 jars of the best salsa you can find and omit step 2.
The chili is both vegan and gluten free, while the cornbread is vegan, cholesterol free, and low glycemic. This recipe will make enough for about 10 portions and actually tastes better the next day. If you like left-overs, then make this vegan chili with jalapeno cornbread and eat it throughout the week.
Three Bean Vegan Chili
Yield: 10 cups
- 1 cup red kidney beans, soaked overnight (or about 2-3 cans)
- ½ cup black eyed peas, soaked overnight (1 can black eyed peas or black beans)
- ½ cup pinto beans, soaked overnight (1 can pinto beans)
- 5 tomatoes, skins and seeds removed*
- 1 1/2 lemons, juiced (yield = ¼ cup)
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 cup cilantro
- 1 small onion, chopped
- ½ jalapeno, chopped with seeds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 (4.5 ounce) can chopped mild green chiles (not jalapenos)
- 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo, minced
- Season with salt, to taste
- In three separate pots, cover the beans with water and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until the beans are completely cooked. The cooking time will vary depending on the size and age of the bean, approximately 30 minutes for the black eyed peas and 45 minutes for the pinto and kidney beans.
- Meanwhile, make the salsa. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add the tomatoes, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cilantro, onion, and jalapeno. Pulse a few times until chunky but evenly distributed.
- In a large dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat and sweat the onion and bell pepper until softened, about 7 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, chili powder, and oregano. Cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the cooked beans, salsa, canned tomatoes, green chiles, and chipotle. Cover and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to marry. Season with salt to taste.
Note: To remove the skin from a tomato, make an “x” cut on the bottom then place the tomato in boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove the tomato and submerge in an ice bath. The skin will be easy to peel and the inside of the tomato will still be raw.
Vegan Jalapeno Cornbread
Yield: 10 slices
- 1 cup corn meal
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 jalapeno
- 1 scallion, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
- ¼ cup boiling water
- 1 cup soy or almond milk
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup organic canola oil
- Preheat oven 425°. In a medium bowl, combine corn meal, flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Cut half of the jalapeno into rounds, set aside. Mince the remaining half of the jalapeno and add to the dry mixture. Add the scallion and whisk to combine.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the ground flax seeds with ¼ cup boiling water until the mixture resembles a gel. Add the soy milk, maple syrup, and oil. Whisk to combine.
- Combine the wet and the dry ingredients and stir until just blended. Pour batter into a 8-inch cast iron skillet and top with the remaining sliced jalapeno. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.