If there were a beauty contest for chili, this rather odd-colored spicy pinto bean chili with corn and kale wouldn't make it to the swimsuit round. Don't be fooled by its rather modest looks, however. Hiding in this vegan chili are three -- yes, three -- types of chile pepper (fresh, dried and canned), and a whole six cups of antioxidant-rich kale. If that isn't sexy, I don't know what is! As with all chili, you can spice the recipe up even more, or tone it down, to your own taste. My non-vegan husband absolutely loved this chili, which would be a perfect main dish for Meatless Monday, and I'm confident you will love it, too. Make a pot today, and eat it or freeze it.
Slow cooker vegan spicy pinto bean chili with corn and kale
Adapted slightly from Slow Cooker Comfort Food, this recipe serves 6-8.
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Mexican oregano
4-oz can chopped green chiles
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
28-oz can chopped or diced tomatoes, with juice (I use POMI)
2 15-oz cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 dried guajillo chile peppers
1 jalapeño pepper, roughly chopped
10-oz bag frozen corn kernels
6 cups chopped kale
Optional toppings (not for vegan version): shredded Cheddar cheese or sour cream
Sliced lime, for garnish
In a nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook, stirring a few times, until the onions are soft, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, Mexican oregano, salt, pepper and green chiles, and stir for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
Transfer the tomato mixture to a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Add the beans, stir to combine, and cook on LOW for 6 hours.
Meanwhile, 1 hour before the beans finish cooking, heat 2 cups of water in the microwave until it boils, 2-3 minutes on HIGH. Soak the dried guajillo chile peppers for 30 minutes (you might need to put a small plate on top to keep the peppers submerged).
Tear the soaked peppers in pieces (save the soaking liquid), and add them to a small blender along with the jalapeño. Purée, and set aside.
When the beans finish cooking, stir in the chile mixture and the frozen corn. Add the kale in batches, stirring each batch to submerge the leaves as best you can in the tomato sauce. Raise the slow cooker heat to HIGH, and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the kale is tender.
Garnish individual bowls with shredded Cheddar cheese or sour cream (if not vegan), and a squirt of lime. Or, let cool completely, pack into airtight containers, and freeze.
More meatless chili recipes:
South End Deep Root Chili, from The Perfect Pantry
Chickpea and pinto bean chili, from Cook's Hideout
Veggie chili beans with cornbread dumplings, from Herbivoracious
Slow cooker two bean chili, from Domestic Divas Blog
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