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Kidney bean–brown rice chili

April 16, 2010

I will admit that most of the time, when a recipe calls for dry beans, I substitute canned. (So far on this blog there has only been one exception.) Despite the fact that 99% of the prep is hands-off, cooking beans from scratch still requires me to remember to soak them the night before. Even the quick-soak method means I need to start the recipe over an hour ahead of time. My point is, I understand if you choose to use canned beans in this recipe (which is, like the skinny bitchtastic brownies, from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch), BUT I do highly recommend going the dry bean route. The firm bite and chewy texture of freshly cooked beans is just so different, and so much better, than canned. That said, I’d estimate you could replace the dry beans with three 15-oz. cans of rinsed and drained kidney beans if you’d prefer.

2 cups dry red kidney beans
1 Tbsp coconut oil (or canola oil)
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chili powder
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried sage
Pinch cayenne pepper
15-oz. can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup medium-grain brown rice
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
4-6 corn tortillas, cut into strips (optional)

In a large stockpot, combine beans and enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Cover and let sit for 8 hours or overnight. (Alternatively, bring to a boil over high heat, cover, remove from heat, and let sit for 1 hour.)

Drain the beans, return them to the stockpot, and cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 4 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, sage, and cayenne and sauté for 1 more minute.

(Sorry for the blurry pic!) Add the onion mixture to the beans…

…along with the tomatoes and rice.

Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bell pepper and cook for 15 more minutes. Add the carrot and cook for 5 more minutes, or until the beans and rice are tender.

Serve with homemade tortilla strips, if you wish: while the chili is cooking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray, and arrange the cut-up tortillas in a single layer. Mist the top with cooking spray, and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 3-5 minutes, or until just beginning to brown. Set aside to cool until the chili’s done.

I LOVED this chili; in fact, I think it gave my three-bean chili a run for its money! I’m convinced that using dry beans made all the difference, since the chewy texture they lend (along with the rice) is the highlight of the dish. It’s quite mildly spiced, but feel free to add a minced jalapeño or more cayenne to kick up the heat if you wish. The crispy baked tortilla strips added a fun crunch and pulled the whole thing together nicely. If I’d had any cilantro, I would have stirred some in at the end. This would also be great served with guacamole or vegan sour cream. It’s low-fat, super-filling, and even better leftover!

Yield: 6-8 servings.
Per serving (6): 338 calories, 4.2g fat (2g sat), 61g carbs, 20g fiber, 17.6g protein.
Per serving (8): 253 calories, 3.1g fat (1.5g sat), 45.8g carbs, 15g fiber, 13.2g protein.

If you like this, you might also like…
Chickpea lentil slow-cooker stew
Dal makhani: a refresher
Three-bean vegan chili

8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 16, 2010 10:35 pm

    I love the steamy shot of the onion mixture going into the beans – I can almost smell the spices and yumminess.

    I, too, tend to use canned beans in my meals, and I think that’s because I like to decide on the day what I feel like for dinner. However, I guess that’s not a very good excuse, as you can cook beans then freeze them for later, can’t you? Hmm.

    Still, nice to know even you in your awesomeness opt for canned sometimes 😀

  2. April 17, 2010 9:08 pm

    This recipe looks delicious! I must try it.

  3. Cheryl permalink
    April 18, 2010 11:23 am

    Delicious looking AND healthy! Good question, CAN you freeze beans after cooking for later use?

  4. April 19, 2010 4:32 pm

    chili looks great and thanks for your comment today. I prob wont decease the pics amt b/c most ppl love them but I appreciate you taking the time to type out a thoughtful comment 🙂

    I hope you have a stellar week, amber!

  5. April 23, 2010 10:11 am

    Hannah—::blush:: Oh, you flatter me so. Undeserved as it may be (seriously, I almost never cook my own beans!), it’s much appreciated :]

    Meaghan—Thanks for reading! Please let me know if you do try the chili.

    Cheryl—It’s true, you can freeze home-cooked beans for later. I really ought to do that…

    Averie—Thanks for responding. I admit, I tend to do my blog-reading at work, so it probably doesn’t bode well for my productiveness when I’m drooling over your photos all afternoon! 😛

  6. Brett permalink
    April 23, 2010 12:48 pm

    That’s a great looking chilli. The photo of the finished product is lovely.

  7. July 5, 2010 9:51 pm

    I am the only vegan who has never, ever made my own beans. I am SCARED! there are soooo many diff ways, recipes, and frankly vats of boiling and simmering water for HOURS scares me!

    “Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer.” — ok that part, how long to simmer?

    and then after you add the rice, red pepp, carrots, that’s 50 mins. So basically you soak the beans and bring to a quick boil. Reduce to simmer (for how long?) then add the other stuff so beans are basically cooking for close to one hour on a simmer, AFTER the bring to boil/soak 8 hrs part

    This is why i never make them…there are so many ways to do it and i am overwhelmed…seriously though this looks amaizng and chewy homemade beans ARE wayyy better. I eat my friend’s homemade ones 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      July 6, 2010 6:28 am

      Averie—I hear you! That’s why I didn’t for the longest time. But the good thing is, dry beans are very forgiving, and hard to overcook. I agree that “bring to a boil and then simmer” is very vague. Basically though, you just simmer them for however long it takes you to prep all the other stuff, cook the onion mixture, etc. That ends up being probably between 60 and 90 min, and even if it wound up closer to 2 hours, I bet you’d still be ok. But I completely understand why it’s intimidating! I made things from dry beans three times in the last two weeks, though, so I feel like I’m finally getting the hang of it. And they are SOOOO much tastier!

      I just made a huge double batch of this last night (which is why the post popped up in your feeder; I went ahead and updated the links while I had it pulled up), and it was as delicious as the first time! Leftovers for me AND the boyfriend allll week :]

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