The key to creating successful vegetarian dishes, like this black bean chili recipe, is making sure they satisfy just as well as their carnivore counterparts. You can accomplish this by using plenty of herbs and spices, protein-rich ingredients like beans and tofu and the freshest, most flavorful vegetables you can find. I add butternut squash for a two-way flavor street — the squash adds sweetness to the dish and in turn becomes infused with delicious cumin and black bean flavor.
I believe that there are dishes that can’t be improved with a little meat. This is one of them. It’s quicker to make than ground beef chili because there’s no meat to cook until tender. Oh, and guess what? This recipe’s vegan, too (as long as you don’t smother it with sour cream and shredded cheddar like I do).
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 14-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 14-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, juices reserved
- sliced scallions, to garnish (optional)
- Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, then add onions and garlic and saute until softened and golden brown — about 10 minutes.
- Add the squash and cook for 3-5 minutes, then stir in chili powder, cumin and coriander until onion mixture and squash are well-coated.
- Add beans, vegetable stock and tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender (but not falling apart), about 20 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve garnished with scallions, sour cream and cheddar.