When I think of chili, I typically think the heavy dish of red kidney beans and ground beef that is a meal in itself, but we’ll all too often ladle over a hot dog or a baked potato as though it’s a condiment. My chili con carne is an awesome dish no matter how you serve it, but this vegetarian chili is altogether something else. It is filling without being heavy and light without leaving you hungry. There’s a kick to the dish if you include the jalapeño peppers, but a balance brought to the dish through the sweetness of the medley of ingredients. Best of all, it’s quick, affordable and easy on the waistline (if you are a WeightWatcher, this is just 4 points a cup).
Preparing this dish is refreshingly different. There are vibrant colors in the ingredients and as the onions and corn start and the smells waft through the house, you know that dinner is going to be extra-special. This is one of those vegetarian recipes that do not make you feel like you’re missing out on anything.
The secret ingredient here? Unsweetened cocoa. The cocoa might sound like a strange addition, but my mother raised me to add a touch of cocoa to chili con carne and I have carried the practice over to this vegetarian chili too. It works, trust me.
Vegetarian Chili Recipe
- 1 red onion
- 3 cups salsa verde (I love this recipe for home made salsa verde)
- 3 cups of back beans – I soaked and boiled my own black beans just I like I do chickpeas, canned beans will work too
- 2 ears of corn, raw
- 2 chopped jalapeño peppers
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- Tomato and Cilantro for garnish
- Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of a large skillet.
- Slice the red onion and add three quarters of it to the skillet and saute for three to five minutes so it is soft.
- While the onion is sauteing, cut the raw corn off of the cob and dice your jalapeño peppers. Once the onions in the skillet are soft, add the black beans, the remaining quarter of the onion and the diced jalapeño peppers.
- Mix the ingredients then add the salsa verde.
- Stir again so the salsa mixes in. Add half a cup of water, then stir in one teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Bring the chili to a boil then reduce the temperature and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Serve over baked potatoes or on a bed of whole grain rice.
- Garnish with diced tomatoes and cilantro. As well as adding a touch of color, the cold, raw tomatoes complement the spicy peppers with a fresh sense of balance.