Football season is upon us, and I'm stoked. But it's also August in Atlanta and we're still roasting in the 90+ degree weather. For too long I've always said I don't want chili during the transitional months of late summer and early fall because my go-to chili is pretty heavy. It's delicious, but not my favorite thing to eat when it's hot.
Today I'm tackling the challenge of creating a chili that's got the signature notes of heartiness and robustness with bold flavor, but trying to balance that with something a bit lighter, brighter, and something that's a crowd pleaser, aka vegan and gluten free. Meaning I don't have to ask if anyone is vegetarian, vegan, doesn't eat red meat, gluten, dairy, etc. What's awesome about this chili is that it's so good it doesn't seem like it's hitting all that criteria. But alas - a winner and a crowd pleaser!
SECRET INGREDIENT: Hummus. As I was cooking the chili, it was a bit on the brothy side and I wanted to thicken it up, but I'm weird and I didn't want to use flours or corn starch, so I grabbed a tub of hummus from my fridge and threw some in. It's so great! It adds that little bit of creaminess that was missing.
As always, customize as you want. Don't add the spice. Do all mild chiles instead of hot. Swap out beans you don't like for corn or chickpeas. Add chicken if you want. Just have fun and enjoy!
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 3 hrs stovetop or 6 hrs crockpot
3 tbsp olive oil
2 Spanish onions, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced - yeahhhh, I told you I went bold with flavor
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (leave it out if you-no-like spice)
1 tsp salt
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup pickled jalepeños, chopped
3 cans green chiles (2 hot, one mild)
1 can white/northern beans
1 can chickpeas
1 can peas or beans of your choice (I used a bag of fresh pink eye peas from my CSA, but you can easily do lima beans, black eyed peas, field peas, or another can of white beans or chickpeas)
2 cans corn (whatever variety you want - I used fresh corn but cans are easier)
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (again, leave it out if you-no-like spice)
1/2 lime, squeezed
1/4 cup hummus (whatever flavor you have)
Salt as needed
Cilantro for topping, chopped (optional)
Note: I add 1/4 cup chopped cilantro to the chili if it's just me, but because it's a controversial ingredient, if I'm cooking for a crowd I leave it out, and bring chopped cilantro on the side.
Preheat a skillet over med-high heat. Prep your onions, celery, garlic, and bell peppers. Once the pan is smoking, add the oil. Then add the onions, celery, garlic, bell peppers, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt. Cook until the onions are translucent. Transfer to a crockpot or a dutch oven.
Add everything else. That's it. And see note above on my secret ingredient, the hummus.
Top with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. If you're not vegan or dairy-free, you can also top with Greek yogurt or sour cream. Party time! And Go Irish!