Vegetarian chili is a comforting, warming and nourishing one-pot meal for which I never tire of exploring new ideas — nor do my husband and I hardly ever tire of eating, especially during the cold months. Despite the relative simplicity of chili, at times the infinite number of variations on the theme can be forgotten.
Chili is certainly a great practice dish because chili recipes usually yield a good amount, keep well, and are a great way to use up any vegetables nearing the end of their shelf life. But chili is also an edible canvas to dress up with whatever suits your fancy.
Now adding pumpkin is not an unheard of idea for vegetarian chilies, but this fall has brought about an especial indulgence for roasting and eating plenty of pumpkin, and I love the rich creaminess it lends to chili in addition to the extra nourishment. Red kidney beans are a staple of vegetarian and non-vegetarian chili recipes, but this time around I decided to use sweet little red azuki beans that go so well with pumpkin. Chewy nutty-tasting pearl barley included in the mix adds a terrific contrast in texture to the smoothness of the cooked beans and pumpkin and the crunchiness of peppers, carrots and celery.
I like my chili thick and creamy, and I like it hot and spicy, but it’s easy enough to add more water or stock to thin it out somewhat — especially keep this in mind the next day if reheating as the chili thickens up as it rests in the refrigerator overnight. The spices and seasonings can also be adjusted, added or discarded according to taste, but if you don’t already have liquid smoke on hand then I would suggest that a few drops does lend a wonderful depth and taste to this and almost any other chili. Red kidney beans or even black beans can certainly be used in place of the azuki beans for a bit more of a hearty chili experience. Really, this recipe is a document of a chili that I especially enjoyed making and eating, but it’s also meant as an inspiration — the possibilities for vegetarian chili are as endless as the imagination of the cook.
|Vegetarian Pumpkin Chili with Azuki Beans, Barley and Mushrooms|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner
Published on November 14, 2016
Warming, filling and nourishing colorful vegetarian chili loaded with red beans, barley, pumpkin, vegetables and a robust assortment of seasonings
Makes 6 to 8 servings
I’m sharing this with Jac’s Meat Free Mondays.
Other vegetarian chili recipes to try from Lisa’s Vegetarian Kitchen:
Vegetarian Three Bean Chili with a Cashew-Pistachio Sauce
Vegetarian Chili with Kidney Beans, Black Beans and Rye Berries
Kidney Bean Pumpkin Chili
Jamaican-Style Jerk Chili with Chickpeas and Quinoa
On the top of the reading stack: Food52 Vegan: 60 Vegetable-Driven Recipes for Any Kitchen