I’m still craving fall and I hope this 3 Bean and Quinoa Vegetarian Chili will magically call down the rain. The list of ingredients, instructions, and total time is kind of intimidating, I know. But the first half of the recipe is just bean preparation, where the beans soak and you do whatever the heck you want.
When I have a weekend where I don’t have anything planned and there are lots of Halloween movies on television, I like to tackle meals that take time. You know, fire burn and cauldron bubble and all. Only no eye of newt and toe of frog.
I’m talking about SLOW food. Very slow. But this frees up time for you to space out watching Halloween classics and to snack on trick or treat candy while your cauldron bubbles away.
3 Bean and Quinoa Vegetarian Chili Tricks and Treats
- Soak the beans overnight. Or you can start early in the morning and soak for 6 hours while you watch Death Becomes Her, Hocus Pocus, or whatever else is on.
- You can do food prep while the beans are soaking. Microwave the dried chilies to make them pliable, remove the stems and seeds, and puree the chilies in a blender with the vegetable stock and canned chilies in adobe and put in the fridge. Watch more TV.
- After you’re tired of sitting down, cook the quinoa and dice the onion, mince the garlic cloves, and combine the spices. Watch more TV.
- Once the beans have soaked enough, drain and rinse them and put them on the stove along with wrapped and tied aromatics (bay leaf, garlic, onion, and carrot). This is important. I didn’t want to do this but ended up paying in the end. I had to painstakingly pick everything out of the beans. I didn’t want the mushy aromatics in the chili. They add great flavor to the beans and cooking liquid but you don’t want them in the final product. While the beans are simmering slightly for an hour-sit down again, WATCH MORE TV, and dream about eating your chili.
- The soy sauce and marmite. Weird right? I was wary as well but they have glutamic acid in them, which is the source of savory flavor or umami. All I have to say though after tasting the marmite by itself is I can’t believe the whole European world thinks we’re weird for eating peanut butter.
- Don’t go out and buy bourbon just because it’s on the ingredient list (unless you really want it). You can use whisky, tequila, or vodka too.
- Your chili might have a bitter taste to it. I was pretty panicked in the beginning when all I tasted was bitterness. It reduces a lot as it simmers for an hour and thirty minutes but there still might be a lingering taste. This is caused by the chilies and the way they are smoked and dried. I was able to get rid of the bitterness by just adding salt (about 1.5 teaspoons). But watch this quick video on How to Cut Bitterness in Chili if you’re curious. The information is from Barb Stuckey’s book “Taste: Surprising Stories and Science about Why Food Tastes Good” and it is on my wish list now.
- Chili actually tastes better the next day after sitting in the fridge over night. I did notice though that it was not as spicy the next day. It definitely mellowed out. If you like your chili really spicy, add one or two HOT dry chilies like Cascabels, Pequin, or Arbol.
Serve this 3 Bean and Quinoa Vegetarian Chili by itself, with chives and sour cream, on some crusty bread or artisan hot dog buns (you can even include a hot dog if desired), and a glass of cold beer. Nomnom and Cheers!!!
3 Bean and Quinoa Vegetarian Chili Recipe…
3 Bean and Quinoa Vegetarian Chili
- 1 cup dry kidney beans or 2 (15 ounce) cans
- 1/2 cup dry pinto beans or 1 (15 ounce) can
- 1/2 cup dry garbanzo beans or 1 (15 ounce) can
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 an onion roughly chopped
- 1 carrot roughly chopped
- 2 cloves whole garlic bruised
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 6 cups water or vegetable stock I actually used an equal mix of vegetable stock and water
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 whole chilies in adobo sauce reserve the sauce
- 4 dried ancho or pasilla chilies stems and seeds removed (I used pasilla)
- 3 dried New Mexico (or Costeno, Choricero) chilies stems and seeds removed
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes packed in juice
- Soaked and cooked beans + reserved bean cooking liquid
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1.5 tablespoons cumin
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon marmite
- 1 (16 ounce) package frozen petite sweet corn
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- Fine sea salt to taste
Soak the beans overnight (or 6 to 8 hours) in a large bowl with water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and leave on the counter or in the fridge. The next day, drain the beans from their soaking water and gently rinse them.
Transfer the beans to a Dutch oven. Wrap and tie the bay leaf, onion, carrot, and garlic in a thin layer of cheesecloth (I didn't do this and spent time picking out everything from the beans). Add salt.
Cover the beans with 6 cups of water or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook on a very gentle simmer (you should hardly see the beans moving) for 1 hour.
Skim off and discard any foam and add water if needed. Transfer everything to a large bowl (you are going to be using the Dutch oven soon again) and set aside.
Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Set aside.
Place the dried chilies on a microwave safe plate and microwave in 15 second intervals until the chilies are pliable, about 30 seconds total. Remove the stems and seeds and transfer to a high speed blender. Add 4 cups of vegetable stock and 2 whole chipotle chilies along with 2 tablespoons of the sauce from the can. Blend, slowly increasing to the highest speed. Blend until smooth-about 1 minute.
Pour the whole tomatoes and the juices into a bowl. Use your fingers to break up the tomatoes and combine with 1 cup of the reserved bean cooking liquid and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Once hot, add the onions and cook for 4 minutes, until soft and translucent.
Add the garlic, cumin, cocoa, and oregano. Stir constantly for about 30 seconds.
Add the pureed chilies, soy sauce, and marmite, stirring constantly for 30 seconds.
Add the tomatoes, tomato juice, and reserved bean cooking liquid mixture and stir to combine. Add the quinoa and beans and stir to combine. If the beans aren't covered, then add more of the reserved bean cooking liquid (I actually went ahead and added all of it anyway because it had such good flavor).
Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook at a small simmer for 1 hour with the lid partially on, stirring occasionally. Add more liquid if the chili becomes too thick or if it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
Remove lid and add one package of frozen corn and mix well. Replace the lid and cook for another 30 minutes. Add the bourbon and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt.
*Recipe adapted from Serious Eats.
If using canned beans, use 2-15 ounce cans kidney, 1-15 ounce can of pinto, and 1-15 ounce can of garbanzo. Make sure you save all the liquid from the cans and add vegetable stock to equal 4 cups. This serves as a substitute for the "reserved bean cooking liquid."
If you like your chile really hot, add one or two hot dried chilies like Cascabels, Pequin, or Arbol.
This is VERY IMPORTANT. To cut the bitterness in the chili, caused by how the chilies are smoked and dried, you MUST add salt. It will seem like you are adding too much but just keep adding in small portions until the bitterness is reduced and the chili tastes perfect to you. I had to add about 1.5 teaspoons to get the taste right.