Some people find it surprising that the biggest tag on this site is vegetarian. People who know me know that I love big, juicy burgers, chorizo (duh), short ribs, lamb and sausage. And while I’m pretty sure I’ll never go vegetarian, I think more than half my meals are meatless. There’s no real reason why I make so many vegetarian dishes, I just like them. Besides, going meatless reduces greenhouse gases and so is good for the environment and good for my health.
This three-bean chili is warm and hearty and just perfect for lunch. Black, kidney and great northern beans are mixed with fire-roasted tomatoes and green chilies. Bulgur adds a nice texture and masa harina is my secret (not so much anymore) thickening agent. It also gives it a little bit of that cornbread flavor that goes so well with chili powder. My other secret is a bit of smoked paprika, which goes a long way at giving this chili a rounder, meatier flavor.
I made a little hominy salsa with lime juice and cilantro to top the chili and brighten the flavors. I also made some jalapeÃ±o cheddar and chickpea muffins, but those were a complete failure and I had to throw them out. Sigh. I hate it when that happens.
Vegetarian Three-Bean Chili
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 green (or red or yellow) bell pepper, finely diced
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz. can great norther beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz. can Fire-roasted tomatoes w/green chiles (Muir Glen)
1/2 cup uncooked bulgur
1/2 cup stock or water
3 tbsp. chili powder (I like Penzey’s Medium Hot)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. smoked paprika
cayenne pepper to taste (I omitted this time because the chili powder and the chilies in the tomatoes gave it enough heat)
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/4 cup masa harina
For the hominy salsa (optional):
15 oz. can hominy, drained
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
If you’re making the hominy salsa, stir the ingredients together and set aside.
Set a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once it’s hot, add the onions and peppers and sautee for 5 – 6 minutes, or until the onions start to turn translucent and the edges begin to brown.
Add all the other ingredients except for the masa harina and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the masa harina, cook for 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Serve topped with hominy salsa, or cheddar cheese and sour cream or corn tortilla strips. Also great with a nice, crusty piece of bread.