Vegetarian Beet and Bean Chili
Jalapeños are the most popular chile peppers in the US. This is probably due to the availability and versatility of the chile. Jalapeños have a balanced combination of flavor and heat. The demand for these have caused breeders to develop a broad range of varieties.
Just say no to brown, bean-filled vegetarian chili. A healthy mix of beets, bell peppers, traditional spices, and even a few beans makes this colorful chili a new keeper.
Makes: 8 servings (3½ qts.)
14 oz. tomatillos (6 large; up to 12 small)
3 T olive oil
1½ t Kosher salt
2 T chili powder
1 T cumin
¼ t ground cayenne pepper (more to taste)
2 C chopped yellow onion (1½ medium onions)
3 T minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
1 medium jalapeno pepper; stemmed, seeded, and minced
3 C chopped bell peppers, any color (2 large)
1½ C unpeeled, diced carrots (1/4″ dice; 3 medium carrots)
2 medium red beets, peeled and diced same size as carrots (about 3½ C diced)
2 cans (15 oz. ea.) diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted and no salt added
4 C cooked beans (I used 2 C chickpeas, 2 C kidney beans)
2 C vegetable stock or broth, preferably no salt added
1 can (15 oz.) low sodium, unseasoned tomato sauce
1½ t honey
For serving (optional): baked potatoes, butter or vegan butter spread, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped avocado or guacamole, sour cream, thinly sliced green onions, chopped cilantro
Heat oven to broil and move rack within 6 inches from broiler. Husk, rinse, and quarter tomatillos from top to bottom. Place in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt. Broil tomatillos about 12 minutes, until browned and blistered. Remove from oven and allow to cool until you can handle them. While tomatillos roast and cool, chop other vegetables as detailed in the ingredient list and set aside.
After tomatillos cool slightly, roughly chop them and set aside with any juices and seeds.
Measure and combine the chili powder, cumin, cayenne and 1¼ teaspoon salt in a small dish and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high in a large (at least 5 quart) stock pot or Dutch oven. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeno, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. The onions will not be fully softened at this point. Add chopped bell peppers and stir and cook 5 minutes. Add carrots and beets and cook, stirring every few minutes, about 8 to 10 minutes, until beginning to soften.
Add the spice mix to the pot and stir constantly for about 30 seconds, until you can smell the spices and they begin to stick to the pan.
Add diced tomatoes and stir to loosen any browned spices sticking to the pan. Add beans, vegetable stock/broth, tomato sauce, tomatillos and honey. Stir to combine, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and partially cover the pot. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally for at least 30 minutes and up to 90 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt before serving, if needed.
For an extra filling meal, serve with lots of toppings over baked potatoes, spaghetti squash, or cheesy grits.
To make vegan, substitute 1 teaspoon maple syrup, agave, or brown sugar for honey.
The chili may taste overly sweet within the first 20 minutes of simmering. After that point, the honey (or vegan sweetener) will incorporate to balance the acidity of the tomatoes without being too sweet.