Saturday, November 29, 2008

Spicy Three-Bean Chili - Meatless and Possibly Vegetarian

As I prepare myself mentally and physically for the rest of the upcoming holiday feasts, I'm trying to stay away from rich, meaty dishes since they'll soon be eaten in abundance. This spicy three-bean vegetable chili recipe video shows a meat-free, but still very satisfying meal.

Eating a little leaner before the big holiday meals is a great idea for several reasons. You'll save money, get extra nutrients to protect your body from excessive partying (and gout), and you'll appreciate those rich foods even more.

I'm going to have a bowl of this chili right now, and then practice my King Henry VIII imitation - you know, drunk, belt loosened, shirt stained with gravy, pointing menacingly at relatives with a roast goose leg, or dripping beef rib. Ah, the holidays. Enjoy!

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2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeƱo, seeded, minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, diced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 to 1 tsp chipotle chili powder (more for spicier chili)
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tbsp Ancho chili powder (or other chili powder)
1 cup tomato sauce
3 cups water (more if needed)
1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained
1 (15-oz) can pinto beans, drained
1 (15-oz) can red kidney beans, drained
1 pound package frozen sweet corn, thawed, drained well
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
6 oz pepper Jack cheese, shredded


Michelle said...

thanks for the recent vegeta-- Meatless (!) recipes. :) (definitely gives ma few more things that I can make from your wonderful blog)

Looks delicious - I'll definitely have to try this one!

Anonymous said...

If you are having vegetarians over for dinner, use a kosher cheese. Since rennet is not kosher if used with dairy (at least according to most Orthodox sources - there is some disagreement around the fringes about it), any Kosher cheese is pretty much guaranteed to be lacto-ovo vegetarian friendly.

Chef John said...

Oy Vegan!

Baaz said...

Thank you Chef John! I really enjoy watching your videos.

Anonymous said...

reminds me of bumblebee soup

Heather said...

yum, this looks great :) i always enjoy chili most with my belt off, too ;)

Anonymous said...

What a great recipe! Thanks for sharing John!

Ryan said...

So just a quick correction here--this recipe would be, with or without the cheese, vegetarian; with the cheese it would not, however, be vegan.
Vegetarian means that the diet cannot include any animal meat or fat.
Vegan denotes that no animal meat or fat can be used, and additionally, no animal by-products; ie, no eggs, no milk, no cheese; nothing containing these ingedients.
This recipe then would still be considered vegetarian.

Chef John said...

My vegetarian sources tell me that cheese made with animal rennet is a no no for hardcore vegetarians. Any hardcore vegetarians want to corroborate?

Anonymous said...

is that a tablespoon or a teaspoon of chili powder/cumin?

Chef John said...


CharGeorge said...

Chef John, you ever use Canned Chipotles in Adobo? Besides a more intense smoke and chile flavor they also bring in a bit of vinegariness that can help brighten chili's nicely.

I really appreciate recipes like these, I'm not a vegetarian, but the wife and I only eat meat about 3 dinners a week. Beans are also the lazy cooks best friend. Never go bad, cheap, tasty, don't need to much prep and healthy.

Chef John said...

i've used Canned Chipotles in Adobo before but not that often. I should use them more!

Susannah said...

If God didn't want us to eat animals He wouldn't have made them out of MEAT!

Eric said...

I'm not a vegetarian, but I can tell you that there are cheeses that are not considered vegetarian to some practitioners.

In essence, using a cheese made with rennet would be the equivalent of eating gelatin in terms of it being an animal product. It's not meat per se, but it still comes as a result of killing an animal, which for ethical vegetarians, would be objectionable.

Some cheeses, particularly the harder ones like Parmesan, are almost always made with rennet. Others, like softer cheddars, do not use rennet and are therefore considered vegetarian. In the US, it can be hard to tell because the label often just says says "enzymes," which may or may not be an animal product. There are non-animal derived coagulants and enzymes that are similar to rennet, but they are not perfect substitutes of each other. I believe in Europe, labels generally specify if the coagulant is rennet.

Anyway, wikipedia/google for more info.

Anonymous said...

I make a chili that's almost exactly like this except I use a dark beer (negra modelo or similar) instead of water. I would do basically the same as the video but add the beer before the tomatos and let the alcohol cook off for a minute or so.

Anonymous said...

hey chef,
i bought navy beans by accident instead of pinto beans. would it still work?


Chef John said...


Aaron De La Torre said...

Hi Chef John,

I really like the idea of this recipe. I would like to take it to work for lunch. Do you think it would freeze and thaw well?

Thanks again for the recipes.


Chef John said...

yes, u can freeze. enjoy!

Aaron De La Torre said...

Hi Chef. Just wanted to let you know that I made this tonight and it was delicious. Cant wait to have it for lunch tomorrow, and for the next few days too because the wife doesnt like hot food. Not as spicy as I imagined it would be but easily fixed.

Thanks for the recipe.

antipopular said...

I've used a variant of this recipe before. Also, if you want to give it a much 'meatier' flavor, without actually using meat. Try TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein). When properly cooked, it gives it a delicious consistency.

Dustin said...

Could you add eggplant to this recipe as a meat substitute?

Melinda said...

Hi Chef John. I love your recipes, I use your site all the time when I need something new to cook. Btw, cauliflower and potato mash = amazingly delicious.

But I am a vegetarian I have been for a few years now. I don't know what animal rennet is, but if its something that requires the animal to be killed then to a vegetarian its just as bad as eating meat. But, what exactly is animal rennet anyway??

And Susannah, people are made of meat too, should we start eating each other? Just saying, you might want to think of a different slogan for endorsing meat eating...

EB6777 said...

Love this recipe so much that I cooked it again tonight. This time I added another cup of tomato sauce and I'm getting a light red foam over the soup while it's simmering.

That didn't happen last time. Did I put too much tomato sauce?

Chef John said...

More sauce shouldn't cause foam. Not sure what's up. Btw, only u will know if it's too much ts when you taste. ;)

greg said...

I just thought I'd let you know that most rennet used in cheese comes from e-coli these days. Just like insulin that diabetics use scientists spliced the "rennet gene" into the e-coli and Voi la! you have little rennet factories. I guess there wasn't enough calf stomach to satiate our cheese apatite.

Obsessed with animals said...

Indeed is vegetarian! I'll change to vegan in the cheese. There's this fake cheese from daiya I hear about all the time and I really envy american Vegans :D, I make my own at home though.

Blessings. Loved this recipe.

David Chan said...

How long do i cook the beans???

David Chan said...

How long am i suppos to cook the beans!?

Chef John said...

They are canned so already cooked. Just simmer until heated through.

Bill Laut said...

SUCCESS!! Thank you, Chef John, for this excellent recipe! I made it last weekend, and liked it so much that I've adapted it for canning into one-quart Mason jars, for inclusion into my wintertime Food Pantry.. First dozen jars are processing now, followed by a second dozen, and then however many jars it takes to finish up the beans.

Only mistake I made was using crushed tomatoes, instead of tomato sauce or puree. Will fix that with the next batch of sauce I make up.

Even so, I really like this recipe. Not only is it delicious and nutritious, it's also dirt-cheap to make! Not including spices, I'm estimating my cost at about one dollar per quart of chili. I still have half of the dried beans I started out with, so I'll process another 30 quarts next week; with the slight modification of using tomato sauce, and adding in some diced roma tomatoes as well.

I can't wait to experiment with your Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean chili! If I can get the roasted sweet potatoes to survive the canning process, ohh laa laa!