Best Vegetarian Chili

Published November 1, 2012. From Cook's Illustrated.

Why this recipe works:

Vegetarian chilis are often little more than a mishmash of beans and vegetables. In order to create a chili—not a bean and vegetable stew—we’ve found replacements for the different ways in which meat adds depth and flavor to chili. Walnuts, soy sauce, dried shiitake mushrooms and tomatoes add… read more

Vegetarian chilis are often little more than a mishmash of beans and vegetables. In order to create a chili—not a bean and vegetable stew—we’ve found replacements for the different ways in which meat adds depth and flavor to chili. Walnuts, soy sauce, dried shiitake mushrooms and tomatoes add hearty savoriness. Bulgur fills out the chili, giving it a substantial texture. The added oil and nuts lend a richness to the chili, for full, lingering flavor.

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Serves 6 to 8

We prefer to make this chili with whole dried chiles, but it can be prepared with jarred chili powder. If using chili powder, grind the shiitakes and oregano and add them to the pot with 1⁄4 cup of chili powder in step 4. We also recommend a mix of at least two types of beans, one creamy (such as cannellini or navy) and one earthy (such as pinto, black, or red kidney). For a spicier chili, use both jalapeños. Serve the chili with lime wedges, sour cream, diced avocado, chopped red onion, and shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese, if desired.

Ingredients

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