Three-Bean Miso Chili
This is not your traditional chili–it’s got unconventional ingredients and is vegan adaptable–but the taste and comfort factor are 100% all-American classic .
We’re still a few days away from the big Christmas meal and a week or so from toasting the new year but it’s not too early to start organizing the lighter menu plan, right? Funny I’ve never been that person who goes to the gym on January 1 or drink smoothies all January long. If I did either of these things it was because they had been part of my routine all along.
My husband and I have tried to stick to a fairly healthy lifestyle and for years greeted the new year with a big bike ride up Mt. Hamilton, one of our local hills. It’s an 18-mile climb that took me almost two hours to conquer, even at my fittest, my husband always reaching the top with a healthy margin. It was a fabulous way to spend the first day of the year, followed by a Japanese new year feast hosted by a friend.
Somehow this tradition has dropped off. While my husband continues to be in great riding shape I can’t say the same. My fitness routine has fallen by the wayside over the last few years and this year simply indulged too much–I’ve got the extra pounds to show for it.
So yes, on January 1, 2019 I’ll be on a new program with everyone else and the plan is to stick to it and return to the lifestyle I once enjoyed.
For starters, I’m collecting some new, lighter recipes. Soups are an easy way to eat lighter and healthier and I found a gem of a recipe in my stack of old issues of Cooking Light magazine.
This Three-Bean Miso Chili is warming, filling and satisfying like a traditional bowl of chili but if you check out the ingredients this soup is anything but traditional. Peanut butter and miso paste? And as if that wasn’t enough breaking with tradition I decided to add kale to the mix, along with taking a few other liberties with the recipe.
But it works. The miso and peanut butter aren’t obvious but they do give this simple soup depth considering the short cooking time. It tastes like a cross between white chicken chili and enchilada soup…without the meat. The ancho chili powder and cumin provide the base flavors and the beans are plenty hearty without being heavy.
Now, I don’t know if adding kale to this soup disqualifies it to be called chili but I do like it here–the beans just needed something else to go with them. I also made it thinner by adding more broth but prepare it the way you wish. I’ve included my version as well as the original recipe from Cooking Light. You’ll find a winner in whichever version you choose. Me, I’m secretly hoping this soup takes me one step closer to returning to our Mt. Hamilton tradition. But even if new traditions are to be made, this soup is here to stay.
Three-Bean Miso Chili
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large shallot (or small onion)
- 2 Anaheim Chiles, diced
- Pinch kosher salt
- Ground Black Pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons natural creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1 /2 teaspoons ancho Chile powder (or regular chili powder)
- 2 cups chopped kale (or chard)
- 1 15-oz can unsalted Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15-oz can unsalted chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 15-oz can unsalted kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 5 cups vegetable stock (See Note)
- Yogurt or sour cream for serving (omit if vegan)
- Avocado slices for serving
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a pot. Add the shallot, Anaheim chiles, salt and black pepper and cook until the vegetables have softened, three to four minutes. Stir to prevent burning. Add the garlic, peanut butter, miso paste, cumin and ancho chili powder and cook for one minute, stirring constantly.
Add the beans, kale and stock and turn up the heat to high. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Adjust for seasoning, ladle into bowls and add your toppings serve.
Stock: The original recipe is vegan but I use a combination of Swanson’s Low Sodium Chicken Broth and Imagine Organic Free-Range Low Sodium Chicken Broth for this recipe. Use your favorite vegetable stock.
Original Recipe: The original recipe from Cooking Light uses one cup less stock, has no kale, uses 2 tbsp poblano chiles instead of the two Anaheim chiles here, chili powder instead of ancho chile powder and 1 1/2 tablespoons miso paste. Adjust to suit your taste.