Unlike fans of true Texas chili, who don’t include beans in the chili party, I’m perfectly content adding pulses to the mix. I don’t use pounds of ground chuck, but I do tend to throw at least a bit of meat in the pot, for both body and flavor. Otherwise, it’s hardly chili and more like a thick bean soup.
When I flipped through the pages of Lisa Dawn Angerame’s newly published “Wait, That’s Vegan?!” (Page Street Publishing Co., $21.99) and spotted Four Alarm Three Bean Chili, I was curious to see whether her protein-rich plant-based version tasted as good as a bowl fit for carnivores. It does.
Three kinds of beans — black, kidney and pinto — bring a nice bite and a bit of color. So do chunks of bell peppers and carrots. But the terrific depth of flavor is due to a blend of seasonings, including unexpected ones like cocoa powder, cinnamon and nutritional yeast.
Don’t be deterred by the long list of ingredients. If you have a well-stocked pantry, you most likely have everything on hand to whip up this wintry comfort dish. If not, don’t make an extra trip to the store; substitute spices as you see fit (a few spoons of the liquid from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can substitute for the chipotle powder) or just leave it out.
Angerame tops her vegan chili with an avocado mash (mash an avocado with a thinly sliced scallion, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice and a pinch of salt); sour cream made with cashew cream, lime juice and salt; and toasted pumpkin seeds. I garnished mine with avocado slices, Tofutti dairy-free sour cream, and vegan cheese. The chili was satisfying enough without any of those toppings, but why not pile them on? After all, if it’s chili, it’s a party.
Four Alarm Three Bean Chili
Reprinted with permission from “Wait, That’s Vegan?!” by Lisa Dawn Angerame, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019.
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