Chili is one of my favorite staples. I’m sure it comes as no surprise since it’s a stew and brown – two of my favorites when it comes to slow cooker dinners. Well, maybe some of my favorite foods just happen to be brown…
Of course, it’s great as is or with a sprinkle of vegan chez but that’s just a blank canvas for you to work with. There’s the classic chili mac that only requires you to boil up some pasta and then mix in your chili and a touch of vegan cheez if you’d like. You can bake the finished recipe under a layer of cornbread to create the perfect casserole and it’s great in quesadillas or tacos too.
I always have a few cans of vegan chili in my pantry for the nights that I’m too tired to make dinner. My favorite default dinner is chili chez dip with micro thin tortilla chips. It can cheer me up after a hard day and it goes great with a margarita.
Cans are great for dinner emergencies, but I’d rather grab something homemade from the freezer. The grains in this recipe really mimics the meaty texture that is usually made from some type of soy. This chili is soy free and as a bonus has no added oil. You can even make it gluten-free by using quinoa or more millet in place of the bulgur.
Working on my bean book last year I acquired a pantry full of beautiful heirloom jewels. I dug a few out for this chili (alubia blanca, arikara yellow beans, sangre de toro,) but honestly it would taste just as good with navy, pinto and black beans. It can be a inexpensive or fancy as you want it to be. Well – maybe fancy isn’t’ the best word since even with my pricey heirlooms it looks like a plain old bowl of chili!
**Please note this recipe uses a 1 1/2 or 2 quart slow cooker. You can double or triple it and use a larger slow cooker.
Lots of Beans and Grains Slow Cooker Chili
serves 3 to 4
- 2 cups assorted dried beans (any but kidney beans*)
I used 3 heirlooms in equal amounts (alubia blanca, arikara yellow beans, sangre de toro)
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups water
- 1 can (15.5 ounce) diced tomatoes or tomato puree
- 1/4 cup bulgar (use quinoa or more millet to make gluten-free)
- 1/8 cup millet
- 1 tablespoon dry veggie bouillon (with nutritional yeast or chickeny flavor) or 1 cube
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili spice mix
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle or ancho powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- salt, to taste
The night before:
Add the beans and water to the slow cooker and cook on low at least 7 or 8 hours.
In the morning:
Carefully drain the beans and rinse them. Then return them to the slow cooker with the fresh water, grains, tomatoes, and all the spices except for the salt. Cook on low 7 to 10 hours.
Salt to taste before serving.
* Kidney beans need to be boiled 10 minutes before you cook them in the slow cooker due to a toxin they contain.