When winter rolls around, I like to bring out my crock pot. I am still in a soup mood, so I was torn between making a vegan Thai Tom Ka Gai soup or a spicy vegan black bean chili. I decided on the chili because a crock pot full of legumes is a great way to eat healthy during hectic weeks. The last few days have been very busy for Josh and I, so this chili has been incorporated into quick meals such as veggie packed tofu scrambles and burrito bowls. Plus, the chili itself is low-fat and full of protein and fiber.
I have made different variations of black bean chili, but the base has had the same ingredients and cooking methods. However, I like to make the chilis different every time, so I will try out flavor combinations such as lime and cinnamon, oregano with sundried tomatoes, etc. Legumes can pick up a lot of flavor and a majority of spices can compliment them. Also, the texture can be cooked to your desired preferences.Win-win all around.
I decided to make a spicy chipotle version with added garlic and thinly slice onions and poblano peppers. Although I have made chipotle chili before, I was inspired by my trip to Las Vegas last week. Josh and I ate at a vegan restaurant named VegeNation, which serves global, plant-based foods. I had ordered a delicious tofu scramble bowl. All week I have been thinking about the black beans and chipotle cream sauce that were in the bowl. I knew I could replicate the bowl throughout the week to make quick and healthy meals. Plus, I really wanted to use my Hutzler Pepper Saver for the leftover pepper piece, since I enjoy the 1970s gaudiness.
The chili is fairly simple to make although it does take time. I personally like to have food simmering away in a crock pot. Especially foods that I can make myself versus eating from a can. It is a great feeling to cook up an entire meal from scratch without very many processed ingredients.
- ½-1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 medium sized onion (cut onion how you desire—I did thin strips)
- 1½ medium sized poblano pepper (cut pepper how you desire—I did thin strips)
- 4-6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 4 cups dried black beans
- 6 cups water
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1-2 tablespoon of chipotle (depends on individual spicy tolerance)
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (optional)
- 1 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
- corn tortillas (optional)
Cooking and Softening Dried Beans
Place the black beans in a large bowl and rinse them for a couple of minutes. Drain and add enough water to fully submerge the beans. Add the baking soda. Let sit between 6-8 hours (overnight) so the beans will soften and cook faster in the crock pot. After the beans have softened, drain the water (Tip: to conserve water, save the water for your garden or house plants) and place beans in crock pot. Add 6 cups of water and turn your crock pot on to a low heat setting.
Spicy Vegan Black Bean Chili
In a medium-sized saucepan, add the coconut oil. Heat the pan over a medium-high heat and wait until the oil starts bubbling. Carefully add the onion and poblano peppers. Stir the onions and peppers together to make sure everything has a light oil coating. Add the garlic and a quarter of the chipotle, pepper, and salt spices. Sauté over a medium-high heat for about 10-15 minutes or until browning occurs.
Once the onions and peppers have finished cooking, you can add them to the crock pot. Then you can add the additional spices and soy sauce to the pot. Cook on a low heat for approximately 5-7 hours or until the desired texture is reached. Serve with corn tortillas and top with cilantro.