What makes Mollie’s Vegetarian Chili Amazing?
The recipe is a traditional chili without meat but with the addition of bulgur, which gives this chili a ground-meat-like texture. After tasting your first bite of Mollie’s Vegetarian Chili you may ask “are you sure there’s no meat in this chili?” Another reason Mollie’s Vegetarian Chili is amazing is the fact that this recipe is easy on the food budget! Dried beans may be used, and when bought in bulk they are quite economical.
- 2 1/2 cups dry kidney beans, soaked overnight -OR- 2 (15-oz.) cans kidney beans
- 1 cup tomato juice
- 1 cup uncooked bulgur wheat
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 6-8 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 1 medium stalk celery, diced
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons basil
- 2 teaspoons chili powder (more, to taste)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- Black pepper & cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 medium bell pepper, chopped
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- Optional toppings: finely minced parsley and grated cheese
- Dried Beans Method: Place the soaked beans in a Dutch oven or kettle, cover with water, and bring to a boil.
- Partially cover, turn heat down to a simmer, and cook until tender, about 1 1/4 hours. (Watch the water level during cooking, adding more if necessary.)
- Drain off any excess water when the beans are done.
- Canned Beans Method: Drain liquid off beans and rinse with water.
- Heat the tomato juice to boiling. Add it to the bulgur in a small bowl, cover, and let stand 15 minutes. Add this to the beans.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add onion, half the garlic, carrot, celery, and seasonings. Saute over medium heat about 5 minutes.
- Add bell pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender.
- Add the sautéed vegetables, tomatoes with juice, and tomato paste to the beans.
- Simmer over the lowest possible heat, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes or longer.
- After about 15 minutes, add remaining garlic.
- Taste to adjust seasonings, and serve hot, topped with parsley and/or cheese.
- If using canned beans you may wish to use 1 can of kidney beans plus 1 can of another type of bean, such as black beans or pinto beans.
Using dried beans soaked overnight is a great way to make vegetarian chili, but if you have limited time or decide to make this chili on the spur of the moment then canned beans work just as well. (As my Dad used to say to me “do you have more time or money?”) When I make Mollie’s Vegetarian Chili I like to use kidney beans with black beans, pinto beans or northern beans also. One type of bean seems boring to me when I could have two different kinds!
The tomato juice is boiled and the bulgur is added to it and allowed to stand for 15 minutes so the bulgur can soak up the moisture from the juice.
Then the bulgur-tomato juice mixture is added to the cooked beans.
The vegetables are sautéed in the olive oil. Finally, the sautéed vegetables, tomatoes with the juice and tomato paste are added to the bean and bulgur mixture which is allowed to simmer 30 minutes or more.
I determined that the chili needed more liquid at this point (it was thick) so I added more tomato juice, at least a cup, until the chili reached the desired consistency. (You may want to have some extra tomato juice on hand in case your chili is thicker than you desire.)
Serve Mollie’s Amazing Vegetarian Chili topped with finely chopped parsley and/or grated cheese!
A Bit About Bulgur
Commonly used in European, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines, bulgur is a grain with a light, nutty flavor which is high in fiber with a low glycemic index. Bulgur is used in pilafs, soups, and some bakery goods. Since it is a kind of dried cracked wheat it is not suitable for gluten-free diets. Used as a substitute for rice or couscous, bulgur is considered to have good nutritional value.
If you haven’t tried bulgur before, I hope you will try it because it is delicious, nutritious, and provides the ground-meat-like texture to this wonderful vegetarian chili. Vegetarian Chili is one of my favorite “meatless” meals!
Remember to Savor the Flavor!
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