Chile Bean Chili (Oil-free Vegan Chili)

Chile Bean Chili (Oil-free Vegan Chili)

October 1, 2017
Chile Bean Chili (Oil-free Vegan chili) in a red bowl topped with "tangy bites" in a red bowl. Extra toppings include red onions and lime wedges.

Peppers take the front stage for this oil-free vegan chili. A mix of sweet and piquant peppers, fresh and dried, this chili is all about the chile peppers. Chili is one of our favorite dishes and I make it year round in many ways with an variety of ingredients depending on what’s in season and what is available. 

Fresh and Dried Peppers for the Chile Bean Chili (Oil-free Vegan Chili)

During late summer and early fall, I like to focus on using the fresh ripe red peppers in dishes. Ripe red peppers give a fresh brightness and is complimented by the depth of the dried chiles. It is really fun to experiment with all the wonderful ripe red peppers available at this time of year. This oil-free vegan chili recipe is kept simple with just two kinds of fresh ripe red peppers and only the anchos for the dried. Anchos are the dried version poblano peppers, the kind typically used for Chile Relleno. Once the poblano peppers are fully ripe they are harvested and dried. Anchos are usually fairly mild with a sweetness, spiciness and a little kick. 

Fun with Toppings

This Chili lends itself to fun toppings and garnishes. It is really good garnished with diced red onions, lime wedges, diced avocado and tangy bites (a homemade treat reminiscent of queso fresco). The garden salsa fresca is a natural choice as it is a refreshing topping to this somewhat piquante Chile Bean Chili. For a nice crispy addition, enjoy this bowl of Chile Bean Chili with our Light & Crispy Oil-free Tortilla Chips.

Flavor-building Oil-free Technique

The Chile Bean Chili, which is an oil-free vegan chili recipe, uses an effective and easy oil-free technique for building flavor that can be applied to many other sauces and dishes. The video below shows all of the steps in about a minute. Below the video are step by step photos followed by corresponding detailed written instructional steps.

Chile Bean Chili (Oil-free Vegan Chili)

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Category: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican

  • 2 ancho chiles
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 red jalapeno
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tbls garlic, grated (4–6 cloves)
  • 1 tbls ground cumin
  • 1 tbls ground coriander
  • 1 tbls paprika
  • 2 tbls tomato paste
  • 3 cups of homemade vegetable stock or store bought vegetable stock (preferably with no added salt)
  • 1 tbls miso (optional)
  • 4 cans black beans, drained and rinsed or 6 cups cooked black beans
  • 2 cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed or 3 cups cooked kidney beans

    Tools I Use: cutting board; kitchen scissors; hand blender and blender cup (stick blender); chef knife; 1 cup size jar with lid; grater; heavy bottom braiser pan or dutch oven (tri-clad and enameled cast iron cookware work great for this type of dish); flat cooking spatula; rubber spatula or spoon
  1. Rinse the ancho peppers, then remove the stem and seeds from the anchos. Cut off the stem part, then cut vertically, then cut the membrane, the seeds will usually all fall off with the membrane.
  2. Cut the ancho peppers into smaller pieces, place in a jar and add hot water to cover. Set aside and continue with the next step.The anchos will soften enough to blend in about 10–20 minutes.
  3. Remove the stem and seeds from the ripe red bell peppers and jalapenos, then cut them up into pieces about 1in x 1in so the blender can easily break them up.
  4. Place the red bell and jalapeno peppers in the blender cup or blender. If using a blender cup, wrap a paper towel around the top so the liquid doesn’t spatter out. Continue blending until you get a pretty smooth consistency. Set aside.
  5. Heat the pan to medium-high. Test the pan heat by putting a few onion pieces. The pan is ready if you hear a sizzle, the color changes quickly and the onions will jump about the pan.
  6. Put the onions in the pan and let cook a few minutes until they start to show color and even stick a little to the bottom of the pan, then stir a little to let more of the onions stick and pick up color. Sticking is a good thing at this point, just watch, stir and adjust heat if need to make sure the onions don't burn. (3–5 minutes)
  7. Make a space in the center of the pan and add the grated garlic. Using the edge of the spatula push the garlic down to make a layer. As with the onions, cook until it picks up a little color and starts to stick to the bottom of the pan so that it caramelizes a little and becomes fragrant (about 1–2 minutes).
  8. Clear an area in the pan and sprinkle in the coriander and cumin. Let the spices cook until they just start to smoke and become fragrant. This step brings out a toasty, smoky flavor especially in the cumin. Sprinkle the paprika next on the onions.
  9. Add in the tomato paste and stir around the pan jut until it starts to change color. (1– 2 minutes)
  10. Pour in the fresh red bell and jalapeno pepper mixture into the pan and stir. The onion and garlic that stuck to the pan earlier should lift easily, if not rub a little more with the spatula.
  11. Put the ancho peppers and liquid in the blender or blender cup and blend until smooth. No need to clean the blender cup before adding the ancho peppers.
  12. Add a tablespoon or so of the ancho paste to the pan and stir. Taste the mixture and continue to add more ancho and spices to your taste. Add the miso or salt if using. If using miso, i's best to mix with about a 1/4 cup of vegetable stock in a small bowl first to make a slurry and will mix in with the rest of the sauce. Just adding in, miso sometimes just stays in a single clump.
  13. Slowly pour in the vegetable stock, stir well, put the lid on and simmer for at least 20–30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  14. Add in the drained cooked beans, stir to coat. simmer with the lid on for another 10–30 minutes to heat through, stirring occasionally.
  15. Garnish with your favorite chili toppings. Limes, onions, chopped tomatoes, cilantro, salsa fresca are all good choices. (Pictured above with Tangy Bites, red onions and limes)

SOS free version: Omit the miso. This Chili is a naturally bright, full-flavored dish. The optional toppings also add lots of flavor.

Prep Time: 20 minutes - Cook Time: 40 minutes Yield: 10
Serving Size: 1 cup
Nutrition label for Chile Bean Chili (Oil-free Vegan Chili)
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