By Rose Kaplan, "virtual intern:" It’s November. There’s a cool, crisp feel to the air, and the sound of crunching leaves underfoot., It means that Thanksgiving is right around the...
If you know me, you know that I am pretty crazy about beans of all kinds. So when Kathy Hester first told me about her bean book last year, I got excited. I am still excited because The Great Vegan Bean Book has just been released and it covers everything that you need to know about beans, choosing them and cooking them. Kathy is an incredible recipe developer who manages to use beans in a huge variety of ways in very inventive recipes from breakfast through dessert (think bean pancakes and fudgsicles). And the best part: all the recipes are vegan and include substitutions for how to make them gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free and oil-free. Kathy covers it all.
I chose to make Vaquero Bean Tempeh Chili. One little issue is that currently there are no Vaquero beans available from one of my favorite bean sources, Rancho Gordo. So I substituted these beautiful Black Calypso beans. Here are some shots of what they look like dried, ready to be soaked and then cooked. You can see that the color gets muddy but I can tell you that their taste is still incredible. (You can substitute pinto or your favorite bean.)
Since I shared my pressure cooking wisdom with Kathy for this book I, of course, pressure cooked these beans. It took 7 minutes at pressure for the presoaked beans with a natural pressure release. (They probably cook in about an hour on the stove top after being soaked.)
For your information, one bag of beans is about 2 ½ cups of beans. I ended up with 7 cups of beans. I tell you, there is no other protein source that offers as much as a bean. Even if you buy heirloom beans at more than five dollars a pound, you get a lot for your money.
I used a Five Grain tempeh from Turtle Island, a can of organic tomatoes and organic tomato paste. I already had a few kinds of chili powder and used those to make this dish. I made it oil-free.
Some people might call me a hothead and indeed it might be true. It is especially true when it comes to chili. This chili was too mild for me but would be great for anyone who doesn’t want much heat. Even my husband who doesn’t care much for hot food requested hot sauce. The hot sauce made the chili sing which is likely what many recipes in this book do.
I really liked that the recipe is very easy to make and does not require a whole list of ingredients. Regarding the number of servings, I ate at least 2 servings and my husband ate 1, and I am sure that I have enough chili for another 6 meals. I think that this dish makes chili for 8 to 12 people. It will be a great dish to serve at a potluck or big party. (And I will now have some stashed in my freezer to enjoy on a day when I just don’t want to cook.)
Kathy likes to serve it with vegan sour cream or cashew cream but I like just a bit (or a lot) of cilantro to call it great.
If I had any of Renee Comet’s wonderful photos you would see how incredible Kathy’s recipes truly look.
Vaquero Bean and Tempeh Chili (recipe reprinted with permission)
Note: I was given a complimentary copy of this book to review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.
gluten-free, oil-free option*, soy-free option**
This chili has a very rich, dark flavor from the combination of chiles. If you decide to buy heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo, be sure to order some of their yummy chili powders.
2 tablespoons olive oil (*use water or broth)
1/2 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces (225 g) soy tempeh, diced (**use seitan)
6 cups (1500 g) cooked Vaquero beans or 3 cans (15 ounces, or 420 g each) pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup (235 ml) water
1 can (14.5 ounces, or 406 g) diced tomatoes or 1 1/2 cups (270 g) chopped fresh
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon pasilla chile powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
Salt (smoked or plain)
Vegan sour cream **or Cashew Cream, for serving
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and sauté for a few more minutes.
Add everything else except the salt and sour cream. Cook over medium heat and turn to low as soon as it starts to simmer. Cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until piping hot. Taste and season with salt. Serve topped with vegan sour cream.
Yield: 6 servings
Per 1 ½ cup serving (not including vegan sour cream): 347.3 calories; 8.4 g total fat; 1.4 g saturated fat; 20.0 g protein; 51.0 g carbohydrate; 15.9 g dietary fiber; 0 mg cholesterol.
Total Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Cooking Time: 40 to 50 minutes