Want a bowl of chili, but don’t want to spend a lot of time? How about a vegan chili that tastes really good — like, you’ll never miss the meat?
I call it Tin Can Chili, because almost everything is a pantry item. It’s not award winning or hand crafted or simmered for a day. But don’t let the simplicity fool you. The only tricky part is blending part of the mixture — but that step is very important. It will turn what looks like just a big pot of beans into a chili.
- One onion, chopped fine. About a cup or two. Not picky.
- 3 Tb chili powder.
- 1 Tb minced canned Chipotle chili in adobe.
- 2 tsp ground cumin.
- 1 Tb minced garlic (optional). I keep pre-minced in the fridge.
- 3 cans of Rotel (or similar — diced tomatoes & green chilies). Do not drain.
- 1 large can (27 oz) of Red Kidney Beans, rinsed until water runs clear.
- 1 large can (27 oz) of Black Beans, rinsed until water runs clear.
- Pepper to taste.
- Heat about 1 Tb oil in Dutch oven or large (at least 3.5 Qt) pot, medium heat.
- When oil is hot, add onion and cook about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. It will soften slightly.
- Add chili powder, chipotle, cumin, and garlic (optional). Stir and let cook about 1 minute. You should smell the garlic and chili.
- Add Rotel (with juice) and beans. Stir and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Using a Pyrex measuring cup, put 2 cups of chili mixture in a blender. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute. (You can also do this with a 4 cup measure and an immersion blender, but be careful of splatters. The blender avoids this. I usually don’t use blenders, but they work best for this recipe.)
- Return blended mixture to pot and stir well. Taste for salt and pepper. You probably don’t need salt, as the Rotel and canned beans are already salted.
Topping ideas: cheddar cheese, toasted bread, tortilla chips, raw onion, etc. Whatever you like on your chili. It’s fantastic “plain”.
Chili, like many soups, stores well, so this is a good make-ahead meal. Though, if you have everything on hand, it only takes about 30 minutes or less (including cleanup).
- I’ve used genuine Rotel and cheaper imitations. The imitations work fine.
- If you are cracking open a new can of Chipotle (find San Marcos brand in the “Mexican” section of your grocery), it’s super easy to store. Just put some dollops on a small sheet pan lined with waxed paper or parchment, freeze, and put frozen portions in a ziplock bag and keep in the freezer. I do this for Chipotle and Tomato Paste. You can always tell which is which by the smell (paste is sweet, chipotle smells smoky). Works great and saves time.
- You can easily adjust the heat by adding more or less Chipotle. I usually end up using about 2 Tb.