Gustavore: Black Bean Chili Mix

Easy, tasty, versatile and vegetarian.

I originally created this dish to serve over rice for a vegetarian week meal. This makes quite a bit, so I always had leftovers and not wanting to have the same thing twice in a week, I usually froze the remaining mix.

Then I started thinking of other possible uses … but I get ahead of myself. Here’s the basic recipe, with the less-than-inspired name of Black Bean Chili Mix.

1 onion, chopped

1 , chopped

2 poblano peppers, chopped

1 ear corn, kernels cut off (optional)

1 jalapeño, minced

1 teaspoon salt

6-12 cloves garlic, chopped

¼ cup chili powder (or more if you like)

¼ cup tequila

1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes

1 can black beans

¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped roughly

  1. Sauté onion, red pepper, poblano, corn (if using) and jalapeño in some oil until onion is translucent. Stir in salt. Stir in chili powder and garlic, cooking 1 minute more.
  2. Deglaze pan with tequila (or lime juice) and simmer a minute or two. Add tomatoes with their juice and simmer until sauce thickens and vegetables are tender. Add beans and cilantro, cooking until beans are heated through.

One of the things that really make the flavor deep and rich is the chili powder, which I make myself. Since that recipe is going to remain secret for the time being, I recommend trying a good quality chili powder from Your DeKalb Farmers Market, or online from Penzeys Spices.

Stew with Rice

As mentioned above, this is pretty good over rice and you can add beef, chicken or vegetable broth to thin the consistency. If you want to add tofu, crumble it so it looks like dry cottage cheese and add it with the salt in step 1. Cooked shredded (or ground) beef, , or turkey is also very nice.


I love nachos for all the flavors, but I have been consistently dissatisfied with what always seemed limited to one of two extreme outcomes: crisp chips with scant toppings or soggy chips with heaps of toppings. The remedy? Nacho dip. I put some of the Black Bean Chili Mix into a shallow baking dish, top with cheese and bake at 350° until chili mix is bubbly and the cheese is melted. Top generously with cilantro and green onion. Serve with sour cream, salsa, pickled jalapeño slices or any other nacho topping on the side. Load up your crisp chip with the composition of your choice. Perfect.

Stuffed Peppers

Slice poblano or red bell peppers lengthwise, removing stem, seeds and ribs. I prefer the lengthwise cut to the stand-up removal-of-the-top style because they cook quicker and are more manageable to eat. Oil a baking dish, lay the peppers cut side up in the dish and ladle in the Black Bean Chili
Mix. I don’t concern myself much with the neatness of this operation but I generally do try to ensure most of the mix ends up inside a pepper shell. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake at 350° until chili mix is bubbly, the peppers are softened and the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.

On another occasion, I cooked the stuffed peppers on individual beds of rice, wanting that crusty rice edge like you get with . I heat up my super excellent cast iron Lodge Mini Servers (available at Cook's Warehouse) in a 400° oven until hot.  Carefully, remove from oven and brush with olive oil. Spoon in a cup of cooked, salted rice. (If you like, you can mixed the cooked rice with a diced fresh tomato before spooning it into the cast iron servers.) Top with poblano or red bell pepper shell and fill with Black Bean Chili Mix. Return to oven until rice is crisp and pepper is softened. Slide a heatproof spoon or spatula around edge and ease onto a plate. Top with a dollop of sour cream (or Greek yogurt) mixed with chipotle in adobo.


Preheat oven to 350° and oil a baking dish. Lay out 8” tortillas and spread each one with ¼ cup or so of cooked rice. Top with ¼ cup or so of Black Bean Chili Mix. Roll and place side by side in the baking dish. Top with enchilada sauce and cheese and bake until heated through, exposed tortilla edges are crisp and the cheese is melted.

I used this enchilada sauce recipe from Martha, making only a few modifications. The market didn’t have long fresh red chilis that week, so I got a two orange-ish Serrano peppers and a few dried ancho chilis. I toasted the anchos in oil then proceeded with the rest of recipe, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the fresh tomatoes. This produced a right nice little sauce. It made more than I needed for my enchiladas, but the frozen leftover sauce favorably influenced a batch of goat chili a week later.

Nicki Salcedo November 13, 2011 at 11:28 AM
This looks delicate and hardy. How do you do that? Since the chili mix is a secret, I think you should start writing your own cookbook with brief videocasts. I would buy it! And I'd even keep spare lamb in the fridge for emergencies.


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