Award-winning, traditional, vegetarian-style chili everyone will love. Lightly adapted from America's Test Kitchen's Ultimate Vegan Chili (previously called Best Vegetarian Chili).Gluten-free and oil-free options.
½ouncedried shiitake mushrooms(adds savory, depth of flavor)
½ cupwalnut halves(adds body and fat for richness and mouthfeel)
1(28 oz) cancrushed tomatoes
2largejalapeños, stemmed and seeded
¼cup soy sauce, shoyu or tamari (use tamari for GF)
5 to 7clovesgarlic
2Tbspoil (omit for oil-free; replace with water or broth during sautéing of onion and spices)
scant ⅛tspfreshly grated nutmeg, optional
1(15 oz) canpinto beans, drained and rinsed
1(15 oz) canred kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) canblack beans, drained and rinsed
5cups plus 1 cupwater, divided (or sub homemade broth and omit bouillon listed below)
1 ½tspBetter than Bouillon veg variety or equivalent bouillon cube (omit if using broth)
⅔cupbulgur (sub quinoa and/or serve with cooked rice)(bulgur adds meaty texture and thickens)
½cupred quinoa (optional)(can be used in addition to the bulgur or in place of)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Arrange walnuts and chiles on a baking sheet and bake 8 minutes or until the chiles are fragrant. Transfer all to a plate to cool for a few minutes.
Remove stems and seeds from chiles. Add toasted chiles, mushrooms, and oregano to a food processor or coffee/spice grinder and process until finely ground. *Be cautious of chile dust as it's quite an irritant!* Transfer spice mixture to a bowl.
Add walnuts to the empty food processor and process until finely ground. Add the nutritional yeast and smoked salt and pulse to incorporate. Transfer mixture to a separate bowl.
Add 1 cup of tomatoes, jalapeños, soy sauce, and garlic to empty food processor and process until pureed, about 30-45 seconds.
If using bouillon, combine it with 1 cup hot water in a bowl and stir to dissolve.
Heat oil in stock pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, stir in ground chile mixture and cumin, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the 5 cups water and 1 cup broth, beans, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil.
Stir in the bulgur and/or quinoa, ground walnut mixture, tomato mixture from food processor, and the remainder of the can of tomatoes. Return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover, stir well, and let stand 20 minutes before serving.
Like most soups and chilis, this tastes even better the next day, after the flavors have time to mingle and develop. Refrigerate leftovers up to 5 days. Chili can also be frozen for up to one month.