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Jan 31, 2005 10:45 AM

Need Best Vegetarian Chili Recipe for SuperBowl Weekend!

  • b

Any suggestions for a terrific vegetarian chili recipe this weekend? (spicy preferred).

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  1. Get hold of a copy of Deborah Madison's Greens Cookbook. The Black Bean Chili in it is fantastic. Good enough for died in the wool carnivores to appreciate. Many will swear that there is meat in it, which of course there is not.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Candyu

      I second the recommendation Deborah Madison chili recipe.

    2. This vegetarian chili recipe was reprinted in several newspapers (Houston Chronicle, SJ Mercury News, Chicago Tribune, etc.). It is delicious.

      The cooking techniques, especially, give the chili a wonderful depth of flavor and complexity.

      If you don't have cannelli beans, you can use whatever beans you have in your pantry. I've used red, black, garbanzo (or a combination).

      To kick up the spice factor, use more of the spices that add heat (or add 1/4-1/2 tsp or more cayenne).

      For the tomatoes, DOP labelled San Marzano are fabulous, or Muir Glen Fire Roasted will work nicely too.

      To convert to a carnivorous dish, substitute your favorite chili meat for the mushrooms. I like to use ground buffalo.


      1. Sounds like you have some good recipe leads already, so a few tips:

        1) For heat: add some canned chipotle in adobo. Finely dice one or two (depending on amount of chili) and add during simmering process. Taste towards end of cooking and add more (pepper or sauce) if you want more heat. I've found that one for 6 servings goes a long way.

        2) For smokiness in a tomato-based chili: add a little cocoa powder or square of unsweetened chocolate. Lends an elusive smokey depth and will darken the chili a tad.

        3) I LOVE to serve garlic cheese bread w/ veg. chili. Slice french loaf lengthwise, baste w/ melted butter, add garlic salt or powder, and top w/ grated cheese of choice. Bake in oven at 300F til underside is toasted but inside is still kinda soft; finish under broiler.

        1. Here is my favorite vegetarian chili recipe. It's labor-intensive, but produces a delicious chili!

          Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

          2 cups black beans, soaked overnight (you can substitute canned black beans, about 4 cans)
          1 dried ancho chile (In Los Angeles, the chiles are typically available at most markets, but definitely at Mexican markets)
          1 dried guajillo chile
          1 bay leaf
          4 teaspoons cumin seeds (I've substituted ground cumin successfully before)
          4 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano leaves
          4 teaspoons paprika
          1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
          3 tablespoons olive oil
          3 med. yellow onions cut inot 1/3-inch dice
          4 cloves garlic, minced
          1/2 teaspoon salt
          1-1/2 lbs. Roma tomatoes, or 2 - 14-1/2 oz. cans, peeled and diced, juice reserved.
          1 chipotle chili in adobo, finely chopped (available at Mexican markets)
          1 tablespoon rice vinegar
          1/4 cup chopped cliantro

          Chopped green onions
          Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
          Diced Avocado
          Sour Cream
          Cilantro leaves.

          (If using dried beans) Sort through beans and remove any foreign material. Rinse and cover with water and let soak overnight.

          Roast dried ancho and and guajillo chiles on baking sheet at 375 degrees 3 to 5 mintes to release oils. Allow to cool breifly, then remove stem, seed and veins. Place in blender with 3/4 c. hot water and allow to stand 5 mintes, then puree. Add more water if necessary to make paste. Reserve.

          Drain beans, place in large pot and cover again with fresh water by 1 1/2 inches. Add bay leaf and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer until beans are almost tender. (Note, if you are using canned beans, skip this step and see ** below).

          Heat small heavy skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds, stirring until they begin to color. Stir in oregano leaves, shaking pan frequently so herbs don't burn. When aroma is strong, remove pan from heat and add paprika and cayenne. Stir quickly a few times. Place mixture in blender and grind into coarse powder. Set aside.

          Heat olive oil in large, heavy bottomed soup pot over medium heat. Add and saute onions unitl tender. Add garlic, ground spice mixture, salt and 1/2 ancho and guajillo chile paste and cook 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, juice and about 1 teaspoon chipotle chile. Simmer 15 minutes, and beans and cooking water and continue cooking until beans are tender and flavors blended, about 45 minutes. (**Note, if you are using canned beans, you add them with their juice, and the bayleaf now).

          Adjust chiles and salt to taste. Add vinegar and chopped cilantro., cook 5 minutes longer. Adjust seasonings to taste 1 last time. Serve with bowls of green onions, cheese, avocado, sour cream and cilantro leaves. Makes 10 cups, about 6 servings.

          1 Reply
          1. re: DanaB

            That sounds excellent. I have served something very similar at parties and got great comments back. I do a riff on something from Rick Bayless which has a few variations-

            - Add a few cups of chopped fresh spinach at the end
            - Add corn masa dumplings (I've had success using masa harina), about 3/4" diameter with a little indentation for the sauce
            - In lieu of the dumplings you can always add corn tortilla strips

            Either way, that looks like a great base recipe that can be taken in a number of directions.

          2. Sorry, but if it ain't got meat with lotsa hot chiles and no beans, it ain't chili. It's some kinda stew!

            1 Reply
            1. re: ChiliDude

              This is a faith-based argument, not a chowish one. All depends on your beliefs, not on any reality.