I call it “Cheater’s Chili” because it seems almost like a cheat to make—it’s not a traditional chili in that there’s no meat to brown, and half the components come from the freezer or from cans. My other confession is that I really dislike cumin, so maybe that’s why this recipe appeals to me so much. Eat this with a dab of sour cream and some scallions, and then save your calories for a big bowl of pasta and pork sauce the next day.
Vegetarian Bean Chili (Cheater’s Chili)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Makes 6 servings
- 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 15-oz. cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 10-oz. bag frozen corn
- 1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 bay leaf
- Sour cream, tortilla chips, corn chips, cheese, scallions, minced red onion, or whatever chili garnishes float your boat
Pour the whole peeled tomatoes into a large bowl and gently crush between your hands. This can get just a little messy, so wear an apron. Set aside.
Melt the butter over moderate heat. Saute the onion, green pepper, celery, and garlic in the butter until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the crushed whole tomatoes, and simmer for 45 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf before serving so you don’t poison yourself or others. Top with your garnish(es) of choice and go to town. The leftovers are easily freezable so you can pull them out in a month or two when you get the chili craving once more.