By Cassie Johnston
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I’m gonna go ahead and put this out there: this black bean chili recipe is weird. Things tend to get weird when you’re trying to make something taste “meaty” only using vegetables. But you can trust me, I promise. You’re really going to love this.
I’m not a vegan (or even a vegetarian), but I do love the challenge of cooking meatless dishes. It really tests my cooking skills to try to take plants and make them taste rich and hearty like a meat dish would. I mean, I love veggies as much as the next gal, but I don’t love them because they are rich or hearty. Those aren’t words you usually associate with lettuce, you know? I think that’s why there are so many meat substitutes out there on the market—many folks want to eat a plant-based diet for one reason or another, but find themselves still craving that meaty depth.
I have two really great meat-based chilis in my arsenal—Turkey Taco Chili and White Chicken Chili are pretty much alternated each week from September through March in our house. They are both really awesome recipes that are 100% no-fail (I even heard from a reader that they won their office chili cook-off with my White Chicken Chili recipe last year). Mama can cook a mean pot of meaty chili.
Vegetarian chili is a whole other story. I’ve made a few vegan chilis in the past (there are even a few on the blog), and they all turned out well. But all of them seemed to be missing something. They were all delicious, and packed full of flavor, but none of them were good substitutes for regular, meaty, rich, hearty chili. They all felt light. I really like lighter fare sometimes, but when I’m craving a bowl of chili? That’s not when I want light.
So I’ve been working on conquering this meatless chili thing for a while now, and I figured I’d make another go of it for Pumpkin Week. My original plan was to make a pumpkin and lentil chili, which sounds great, and I should totally make that at some point—but when I was looking in my pantry for lentils, I saw steel cut oats, and the world’s biggest, meatless lightbulb went on over my head. And that’s when things got weird:
The end result is glorious, my friends. GLORIOUS. It’s thick, rich, hearty, and totally, 100% free from animal products. It even LOOKS like it has meat it in. I made a vegan chili that is as awesome as my meaty ones, and guys, I can die happy now (except not, because I really love my life, and I’m having too much fun to die, k?). Enjoy.
This Vegan Pumpkin Black Bean Chili is thick, rich, hearty, and totally, 100% free from animal products. You won’t even miss the meat!
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This seems so hearty and amazing! And also really interesting! I am vegetarian and I would never have thought of those ingredients! I also just love that bowl so much.
D you think I could make this in a slow cooker?
Sure could! Just go ahead and put everything except the oats in the slow cooker, and then cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4-6 on high. Add in the oats in the last 30-45 of cooking. :)
Thanks Cassie – I’m going to try making this on the weekend. I think it would be good using squash instead of pumpkin. Fresh squash is always available to buy but fresh pumpkin is seasonal (canned anytime).
Yup! Any winter squash should work just fine.
Huh, interesting, I’ll have to try this! I’m in the market for a new chili recipe since morning sickness put me off my previous go-to chili and I still can’t even look at the recipe four months later!
Morning sickness is such a jerk! I still get wigged out by bratwurst sometimes (it was the first meal I threw up—it’s how I found out I was pregnant). And Juni is over two!
It’s so crazy! There are some songs I listened to during my first bout with morning sickness that still make me nauseous when I hear them, and that was 2.5 years ago!
This chili looks bonkers awesome! I think I may wait a bit for the temps to cool down before I give it a go, but it is going on my fall to-make list for sure. I’m so intrigued by the steel cut oats and cornmeal slurry!
I laughed SO hard at your mushroom comment. I know in the States that depending on the region chili’s can be very different. I’m Canadian and chili in my opinion HAS to have mushrooms and kidney beans to be good. Non-negotiable. :)
WHAT?! I can’t believe that’s a normal thing!
I’m so excited to try this! I’m a longtime meatless reader who has mostly been plant-based this past year, and I”ve always appreciated how you include a lot of vegetarian and vegan recipes. I’m sure your ones with meat are just as stellar :)
Quick question, how would you anticipate rolled oats rather than steel cut working in this recipe? I know that rolled are more processed and can get more mushy. I have everything but steel cut oats on hand and don’t want to drive to the store, haha.
You know, I’m not quite sure. I’m afraid that the rolled oats might plump up a little too much have make it taste like chili-flvaored oatmeal? Which isn’t necessairly a bad thing. :P
I made this today and had to comment because it was so good! Super filling too. I used a butternut squash in place of the pumpkin because I had one from this week’s CSA. It was the perfect meal for the rainy day we had and even though I’m still full from dinner, I’m already excited about leftovers for lunch tomorrow! My husband raved about it and my three year old loved it too. Will definitely make again!
Woohooo! So glad your family loved it, and YES, it is super filling. I sometimes struggle with veggie dishes leaving me feeling empty, but this isn’t one of them.
Please excuse my silly question, but I am from Australia.
What size is a ‘pie pumpkin’ in grams?
Thank you in advance
They are also called sugar pumpkins, and are typically 2-4 pounds (900-1800 grams-ish). They are also sweeter and less stringy than other varieties of pumpkin.
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