‘Black & White’ Vegetarian Chili Beans

Black & White Vegetarian Chili Beans
Black & White Vegetarian Chili Beans

CURIOUS, what inspires one to cook….

How about waking in the wee hours on a Saturday morning to a rare San Francisco Bay area thunder and lightning storm? I sat up excitedly in bed to watch… counting the seconds between flash and rumble. My younger son, Dave, who was enjoying a well earned 3-day weekend, after working 8 days straight, suggested later in the day how fun it would be to cook a family dinner together.

Dave & Mom, the Chili chefs
Dave & Mom, the Chili chefs

A dinner rich with fond memories for our family is hearty, stick-to-your-ribs Vegetarian Chili Beans & Buttermilk Biscuits or Sweet Northern Cornbread. That’s what Dave suggested we make, saying he’d be willing to buy whatever ingredients weren’t in the frig or pantry. An offer too good to refuse!

Vegetarian Chili Beans with colorful sweet peppers use basic ingredients, are a hearty quick-to-make meal, and adapt easily to improvisational cooking. And improv is exactly what Dave & I did for this meal.

Normally, I make these chili beans using cans of organic red kidney beans & ivory yellow garbanzos (for contrast). But much to my surprise we didn’t have either in our pantry. What we did have were plenty of organic black beans and Cannelloni ‘White Kidney’ beans. Dave and I chuckled and decided that combination was ‘perfect’ as a representation of our family’s mixed genetics ~ my WASP (white Anglo-Saxon & Swiss German) heritage, Bill’s (WASP-German) heritage, and Dave & Marc’s colorful ‘generically ethnic’ heritage (a blend of my genetics with their father’s Afro-American, Native American heritage with a bit of Chinese thrown in for global diversity).

Black & White Chili Beans, basic ingredients
Black & White Chili Beans, basic ingredients
Sweet Peppers, Onions, Muir Glen Roasted Tomatoes add flavor, color & chunkiness
Sweet Peppers, Onions, Muir Glen Roasted Tomatoes add flavor, color & chunkiness

~ 1-2 Onions, sliced (any color: white, red, or yellow)
~ 2-4 colorful Sweet Peppers, diced into medium-sized chunks (we used red & yellow, green or orange are nice too)
~ 3-4 Tablespoons of a richly flavorful American-style Chili Powder blend (NOT ground chilies) to taste
~ 1 Tablespoon smoked ground Chipotle Peppers (may replace one tablespoons of the chili powder blend for an extra bit of kick)
~ Olive oil for sauteing
~ 4, 15 oz cans of organic Beans, rinsed & drained
TIP: Use a contrasting combination: Black beans & Cannelloni ‘White Kidney’ beans or Great Northern beans, Red Kidney beans & Garbanzo beans, etc.)
~ 1 large 28 oz can of organic crushed or whole Tomatoes (if whole, cut into bite-size chunks)
TIP: Muir Glen Fire-Roasted Tomatoes add a depth of flavor you’ll really appreciate!
~ 1 can of ripe pitted black Olives, drained & cut into halves

Black & White Chili Beans with colorful peppers
Black & White Chili Beans with colorful peppers
Black & White Chili Beans, cooking
Black & White Chili Beans, cooking

Cooking Instructions:
~ Saute the onions over medium heat until they’re almost translucent.
~ Then add the sweet peppers and continue sauteing ’til onions are translucent.
~ Add the chili powder blend & ground chipotle pepper (if you’re using it), continuing cooking for a minute or two until the chili powders are smelling really good. (But don’t burn them!)
~ Add the drained beans combo, the canned tomatoes, the cut black olives and stir together.
~ Bring everything to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes to blend flavors while the biscuits or cornbread is baking.

Black & White Vegetarian Chili Beans with Biscuits
Black & White Vegetarian Chili Beans with Biscuits

Black & White Vegetarian Chili Beans are delicious garnished with sour cream or grated sharp cheddar cheese, fresh Pico de Gallo and a dash of smoked Chipotle powder, served with flaky buttermilk biscuits.

(Apologies dear readers for this last blurry photo. It was evening and I took a hand-held shot at a very low shutter speed. Should have gotten out my tripod, but we were all hungry and wanted to EAT, before our dinner got too cold.)

Dave & I heartily recommend giving our chili beans a try. They’re tasty, quick to assemble, full of protein & veggies, color and textural contrasts….our kind of family meal.

18 thoughts on “‘Black & White’ Vegetarian Chili Beans”

  1. Happy Cook ~ My son David works professionally in a food-related industry. He & his employees keep “his” store spotless. Can’t say the same of “my” kitchen…especially the sink, but I try.

  2. i don’t cook much these days but your pics make me very happy. this is one dish i’d love to try when i feel like cooking again.

  3. Bee ~ What better reason to post, than to bring you a bit of happiness!

    I don’t cook much either as can be seen from my few-and-far-between FWB posts this year. What I do cook are simple, easy-to-put-together dishes with basic, hearty ingredients. This is a wonderful meal for cold autumn evenings or a winter-time dinner by the fireplace. Makes enough for a small gathering of friends or to freeze for days, when you really don’t want to cook.

    Must make my ‘Sweet Northern Cornbread’ recipe for all of you, too.

  4. Oh my goodness! This looks amazing. I found your site through a google search for split pea soup recipes (I’m cooking a very slightly altered version right now – I’m potato free). Now I’m browsing around, and everything looks amazing! I’m definitely going to be trying this chili recipe in the near future – never had I thought of black olives in chili. Wow : )

  5. M ~ This chili’s REALLY good. Versatile and easy to adapt to whatever ingredients you have on hand. You can make the flavors intense or more subtle depending on your preferences. It can be thick like a stew (the way we usually make it) or thinner….more like a soup. Give it a try and come back to share with us, how you interpreted the recipe. Enjoy!

  6. It’s 10:30 a.m. and I’m dying for your chili! Looks tasty. I will try and make it – in fact, I MUST make it….;-)

  7. Hi Zuly ! So…..did you make it yet? Chili beans are one of my family’s ‘comfort’ foods. Really easy to put together and to vary as you wish. A nice, warming autumn-into-winter meal. We enjoy it with yummy cornbread or spooned over rice. A good crusty buttered slice sourdough bread would be a real indulgence. Tell us, what you think when you do get around to making your chili.

  8. I’m on a Daniel Fast (consuming Fruit, Vegs & Water only) and whilst looking for a chilli bean dish came across yours. It’s winter, windy and rainy in Cape Town, South Africa and I’m running out of ideas for dinner recipes that’s warm & comforting as well as compliant to the fast! This recipe is so perfect (substituting the chilli powder blend with fresh home-grown chillies and ommiting the buttermilk biscuits – which I will definitely try after the fast). Thank you so much, am looking forward making it tonight! God bless, Sam

  9. Sam ~ Glad you came across FWB. A hearty chili bean stew is one of our family’s fav comfort food meals. Fasting in winter….brrr! That’s a challenge. Wishing you success with the results you’re seeking. I’m attempting to lose weight over the next year (one of my least favorite endeavors…sigh). Come visit FWB again. One day I hope to visit South Africa.

  10. Made this dish last night, absolutely DELICIOUS, truely comfort food! Not only saying that because I was hungry, the whole family raved about it and couldn’t get enough! (fortunately I doubled up the recipe so I could save some for me for lunch). Served it with homemade wholemeal tortillas & avocado and cilantro guacomole on the side. Thanks for the wishes, my fast is more for spiritual reasons, but I empathize with your endeavors to lose weight, can’t be easy though, being a gifted cook and everyone expecting you to come up with the yummy stuff! :))

  11. Oooooh….so HAPPY your family liked it and the chili warmed your tummies!

    Sam, you may want to search FWB for hearty soup recipes as other simple dinner ideas. Since we’re vegetarian, I’ll bet several of them would fit the Daniel diet parameters. Possibly also other beans / lentils / legume dishes we have here would work, too.

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