outer top shadow
Spicy Vegan Chili shim John & Kristie

inner bottom shadow inner corner shadow
projects :: Friday, January 27, 2006
Spicy Vegan Chili
FREMONT, SEATTLE, WA :: I make this chili for Kristie about once a month. It's her absolute favorite recipe. Despite being vegan, the chili is thick, hearty, spicy and very delicious. It's very easy to make and doesn't need to be stewed for hours like a conventional chili. The peppers and corn remain sweet and crunchy, but the soft beans and savory brown rice serve to balance a perfect mouthful of tastes and textures. Even to a carnivore such as myself, it is dangerously yummy. The regulating factor is the chili's spicy hot kick. Don't say I didn't warn you!

This recipe makes about 14 cup-size servings.

2 cans of black beans (15 oz cans) 4 bell peppers
2 cans of kidney beans (15 oz cans) 3 medium onions
2 cans of diced green chiles (7 oz cans) 6 cloves of garlic
1 large can of diced tomatoes (28 oz can) 1 cup of chili powder
1 small bag of frozen yellow corn (16 oz) 4 tablespoons of cumin powder
1 large can of tomato paste (12 oz can) 4 tablespoons of coarse black pepper
2 cups of brown rice (measured dry) 1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
2 cubes of vegetable bullion 1 tablespoon of Johnny's seasoning or salt
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil  

1.  Cook the brown rice. Add the two cubes of vegetable bullion to the water to allow the rice to absorb the flavors.
2. Dice the bell peppers and add to a very large pot with the frozen yellow corn.
3. Dice the onions and saute over medium-high heat with two tablespoons of vegetable oil until soft and carmelized. About 8 minutes. Add the sauteed onions to the pot with the diced bell peppers and corn.
4. Peel and press the garlic and saute with a tablespoon of vegetable oil for just a minute. Add to the pot.
5. Add the diced chiles to the pot. Do not drain the cans of chiles.
6. Thoroughly drain the can of diced tomatoes and add with tomato paste to the pot.
7. Transfer the pot to the stove over medium heat. Stir in all of the spices.
8. When the brown rice has finished cooking, add it to the pot.
9. Thoroughly drain the cans of beans and add to pot. Stir completely and continue heating chili until just warm enough to eat. Do not overcook. This chili is much better when the peppers remain crunchy.

The leftovers can be kept in airtight containers in the refrigerator for a couple weeks.

This entry has been viewed times.
Share ::
on Saturday, January 28, 2006 at 8:02 PM

Sounds tasty. I might have to try it.

Photos look a little over saturated though or maybe too much contrast.

on Sunday, January 29, 2006 at 9:54 AM

The chili is good stuff, and good for you!

I selectively intensified the colors in these images by adjusting the color balance, and fine-tuned the contrast by adjusting the output levels.

In my opinion, most food photography can benefit from a subtle color boost, otherwise the food looks bland and unappetizing. Perhaps the phosphors in my old monitor are worn out and I'm overcompensating. I'll take a look on Kristie's LCD to see how the photos look.

An image becomes too contrasty when highlights and shadows get blown out and clipped - basically when the histogram curve resembles a sharp cliff or wall on either end. In this regard, I think you're right - the images are contrasty. I usually try to avoid this, unless I intentionally want a high key or moody effect, like in the Rialto Beach photos.

I used the EF 50 f/1.4 for these photos. It's the sharpest lens I have, and the colors from it are suprisingly vivid without any adjustment. I also used a 100 watt full spectrum CF bulb and bounced the 420EX off of walls and white poster board to light the scenes. The kitchen resembled a little photo studio and the chili took twice as long to cook between shots, but I'm happy with the images!


on Tuesday, January 31, 2006 at 3:16 PM

John - is there some reason you're not a professional photographer? Your work is better than all that crap parading as art out there.

And yes, the chili looks cool, but I'm glad I know you did all your photographic fancywork to it. Otherwise I probably would have made it, looked at my version (not nearly so bright and shiny) and felt sad. :)

on Tuesday, January 31, 2006 at 6:20 PM

Thank you, Cheri, but who would buy an over-saturated, super-contrasty photo of a bowl of chili? I would have had better luck selling the actual chili.

Although I think I blew that opportunity by posting the recipe! Drat.


on Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 3:59 PM

So basically the recipe for a "Vegan" chili is to skip the meat, replace the word "vegetarian" with "Vegan", and voila!

I think though if you really wanted to market it, you'd have to call it "The South Beach Diet Spicy Chili".
"Vegan" is so...late 90's.

on Thursday, February 2, 2006 at 5:14 PM

It's not rocket science, but this vegan recipe differs from traditional chili on a couple notable points:

First of all, real chili should not contain beans, and it certainly shouldn't contain rice.

Second, real chili is usually stewed for hours, so that the sauce develops and everything gets all soft and mushy. This chili is fresh and part crunchy.

I don't know what the glycemic impact of this recipe is, but I assume with the complex carbohydrates present in the brown rice and beans, it could easily qualify as a "South Beach Diet" recipe. But a "South Beach Diet" does not preclude meat, so more specifically, it is a vegetarian dish. And more specifically than that, it is a vegan dish, which is very important to those wishing to avoid ALL animal products in their diet, whether it is 1990 or 2006.

But thanks for being the first to finally post a comment about the food and not the photos! ;)


on Friday, February 3, 2006 at 8:46 AM

I would LOVE a bowl of oversaturated vegan chili. Except, I would probably put ground turkey in it...but then it wouldn't be vegan...oh well.

on Friday, February 3, 2006 at 1:16 PM

Looks like an ad for Henckels Knives and Zojirushi rice cookers. Are they sponsoring you? :) Love the pictures, though.

on Friday, February 3, 2006 at 2:53 PM

I'd love to be sponsored by Zojirushi! Just because it's a fun word to say. Zojirushi!

Jym, I haven't tried adding meat to this recipe yet. Honestly, it's not missed. I sometimes add some cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream, but then of course, it's no longer vegan - it's lacto-vegetarian. =)


on Thursday, February 9, 2006 at 2:40 PM

I agree with Jayson about the main picture. I love the effect of the light on the bowl and the plate but for some reason the color of the chili seems off. Its just feels that way on an instictive level.

On a positive note my two favorite photos of the series are the staged ingredients (it does look like something you would see in a magazine) and the carmelized onions (I just love effective depth of field photos).

I can just see you there taking pictures and telling Kristie, "See this is why I needed this camera".

on Thursday, February 9, 2006 at 4:34 PM

Hey Matthew!

Thanks for the critique! I agree, there is something wrong with the chili bowl photo. When I view it on Kristie's LCD, it's a frightening red. But when I view it on my CRT's at home and at work, the colors are much more mellow. I'm going to rework it.

Just curious, is your monitor an LCD? I may have to get one of those calibrators, or maybe just a new monitor.


on Thursday, February 9, 2006 at 5:57 PM

I have an LCD screen.


on Tuesday, February 14, 2006 at 10:18 PM

Maybe we are the ones whose monitors need calibration.

on Monday, December 17, 2007 at 1:19 PM

Hallo, I linked in from The Kitchn where they spotlighted your autumn leaves cookies (http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/inspiration/holiday-baking-top-5-cookie-decorating-ideas-037892). I wanted to see if there were other food posts in your blog, and the few I've seen (Halloween cookies, panda cake, and this chili ... especially this chili) look wonderful! Are these the only you have? I also really enjoy all the shots from cultural performances (Teiko drummers, Korean dancers) and the shots from your recent Hawaiian vacation. I alwas knew Hawaii was beautiful, but I never imagined it was THAT beautiful. I've always wanted to walk through a bamboo forest! I think I just watch too many martial arts movies, though ... Best to the two of you--can't wait to see what more you post in the future!

on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 9:46 AM

Thank you, Julie!

I'll try to photograph more recipes soon. As I'm sure you know, it takes much more prep time to make sure everything is adequately lit and neat for the camera.

I definitely had in mind the bamboo forest scene in "House of Flying Daggers" as we hiked the trail to Waimoku Falls!


on Monday, January 19, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Heather: I have been cooking big batches of chili for 25 years and I have NEVER seen a cup of chili powder in any recipe. It is extremely hot and that is about 600% more than most recipes....is that what you meant?

Cynthia: I have never cooked chile before and stuck to your recipe - less the corn and rice - veggie ground was used. I like it and think that your l cup of chili powder was intended

Solve this for the old cook and the new cook - did you mean one cup of Chili Powder?
Old Cook asks: Do you have shares in a Chili Powder Company?

on Monday, January 19, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Hi Heather and Cynthia,

This is a large recipe, so you'll need *at least* a cup of chili powder. We often sprinkle in quite a bit more!

So, no we don't own Chili Powder Company stock, but Costco might be in our portfolio. They sell huge containers of the stuff.

I'm glad the recipe worked out for you!


on Monday, February 16, 2009 at 10:42 PM

Hi all,

I just wanted to let you know I recently tried your chili recipe, and it was amazing! It was so delicious, and so filling, and provided me with many snacks and lunches throughout the week.

As a non-vegetarian, who enjoys eating vegetarian a couple of times a week (at least) I have commonly come to conclusions that some dishes would taste better with meat. Not to offend, but some vegetarian recipes have simply taken meat out of the equation, without substituting anything else in. In the case of your chili, I can honestly say it could more than hold its own; nothing felt missing.

Keep up the good work!

on Saturday, May 2, 2009 at 2:49 PM

Just finished making my first batch. I couldn't find 7-oz. cans of green chiles, just the 4-oz. size - so the choice was between 12 and 16 ounces. Hey, I figured, it's called chili for a reason, don't skimp on the chiles! Next decision - mild or hot chiles? I compromised with half and half.

Hoo boy! This is GOOD stuff! I add hot sauce - and we're not talking kiddie stuff like Tabasco, but things like Dave's Insanity Sauce or Endorphin Rush - to everything. Make that almost everything! One taste of this and I knew it didn't need a thing. By the time I finished the first bowl, I could feel the sweat breaking out on the top of my head. Yeah, baby!

on Monday, December 14, 2009 at 9:27 PM

As a fellow vegan and also a Northwesterner I am so pleased to have found your site! I found you by looking for vegan sugar cookies for my kids' homeschool group to make together and have now looked through almost all of your project posts! I'll be back after we're done with the cookies to see what else I can find! Enjoy your vacation...it is pouring here (shocking I know...) Kim

outer bottom shadow