Spicy vegetarian black bean chili, gluten-free of course.
In Chicago, it’s almost the end of chili season, when we turn from heartier soups and chilis to lighter summer fare. In winter, this vegetarian black bean chili is one of our favorite gluten-free meals. With plenty of toasted cumin, chipotle chili powder and smoked paprika, the flavors are strong and smoky, lingering long on your tongue with a spicy spike. I’ve made this several times and have dialed down the heat until I got to this version — spicy but not numbingly so. The recipe was inspired by “Lisa’s Superior Vegetarian Black Bean Chili,” a recipe handed down from a co-worker 20 years ago. This gluten-free black bean chili makes a satisfying entree, accompanied by a side of gluten-free cornbread.
Once a few years ago, I toasted the cumin in our toaster oven at a higher temperature and for a longer time than I now recommend (the amount listed in the following recipe is fine). The cumin started smoking ferociously. When I opened the toaster oven’s door, pungent smoke curled outward, singeing our noses and throats and setting off the smoke alarm. I handed my kids baby wipes, told them to put the wipes over their faces and yelled at them to go out into the hall. We all left our apartment, leaving the windows open (killing the plants by the windows, because it was a freezing wintry day) and went to a museum and out to dinner so we could vacate the apartment. At the museum, we quickly noticed that everyone was looking at us funny. That’s probably because the pungent burnt cumin scent lingered on our clothing and smelled like the worst-ever stinky feet.
Lesson learned: Toast spices at low temperatures and watch them carefully!
Smoky, Spicy Black Bean Chili
(gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan)
By Gluten-Free Nosh
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin (don’t skip this!)
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onions, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cans black beans and 1 can cannellini beans, as in photo)
- 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed whole tomatoes
For serving (optional):
- Green onions, chopped
- Plain, nonfat Greek yogurt or soy yogurt
- Heat cumin, chipotle chile powder and smoked paprika in a small skillet over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until spices are fragrant; stir constantly to make sure spices don’t smoke or burn. Set aside.
- In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and sauté the onions over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions become soft and translucent. Add salt and spices and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- Stir in black beans and crushed tomatoes. Bring mixture to a boil, then turn heat down to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
- Serve hot with side dishes of cilantro, green onions and Greek yogurt. Leftovers taste great and freeze well.
Yield: About 8 to 10 servings
This post is linked to Slightly Indluglent Tuesdays.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble: Even Easier Than Pie
One of the best parts of summer is fruit that bursts with juice, dripping with sunshine. Or a fresh pie, with fruit that becomes even sweeter and more fragrant with baking. But, to tell you the truth, I’ve always been intimidated by pie crust, let alone gluten-free pie crust. So this summer I took a classic strawberry rhubarb pie and turned it into a gluten-free strawberry rhubarb crumble, with no crust and a sweet crisp topping that everyone loves. Plus, if you substitute margarine (I like Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks) instead of butter, it easily becomes a delicious, would-never-believe-it vegan, gluten-free dessert.
The crumble topping uses pure gluten-free oats. For a discussion on gluten-free oats, please see a story I wrote, Feel Your Oats, for Living Without magazine, a great magazine for people who are gluten-free or have food sensitivities.
Click for the recipe for Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
My father is violently allergic to sesame seeds. When I was a kid, my brother and I — well, I like to think it was mostly me — would sit at the kitchen table, scanning the bottoms of bagels for hitchhiking sesame seeds. We knew from ugly experience that eating even one sesame seed could send my father into scary gagging spasms.
Back then, it was a highly unusual allergy — whoever heard of being allergic to tiny sesame seeds?! Recently, however, I started hearing of more kids being diagnosed with sesame allergy. One doctor even called it the new “hot” allergy.
I wrote a story about the increase in sesame allergy for the June/July issue of Living Without, a national allergy magazine. If you’re not familiar with Living Without, it’s a great resource for people with food allergies and sensitivities, especially for those on a gluten-free diet. The story included my recipe for sesame-free hummus, which is also naturally gluten-free.
Not that Dad would eat hummus anyway, even if I swore up and down that it was sesame-free. But my husband and kids eat hummus, so I made it for them and served it with gluten-free pitas from Rose’s Wheat-Free Bakery. (FYI, Rose’s pitas are flat; they do not open like pocket pitas.) We were grilling out that day, so we brushed the gluten-free pitas with olive oil and heated them briefly on the grill — perfection!
Click for the recipe
Homemade strawberry jam
I haven’t posted in a while, because it’s been kind of crazy and stressful here. Within the past month, we’ve put our condo on the market (hasn’t sold yet), put an offer on a single family house in the city, and decided to switch our kids from their excellent but pricy private religious school to a highly regarded public school. Whew, that’s a lot of changes!
My kids have learned so much this year, it’s amazing. In second grade, my older daughter learned about pioneers. As part of the unit, they wrote a newspaper called “Pioneer Times.” She was so proud to be working on a newspaper just like her Mom did, and she was thrilled to test the recipe for strawberry jam.
The class recipe for “Yummy Jam” comes right in time for peak strawberry season, and, of course, it’s naturally gluten-free. Strawberries are plentiful now (Costco even has huge containers of organic strawberries), so you won’t be breaking the bank to use four cups of berries for this recipe.
“Do you want to hear about a deeeeeeeeeelicious strawberry jam? Here’s how we do it,” the Room 204 pioneers write.
Click for the recipe
Colorful Quinoa Salad
Now, I love overcooked Jewish food as much as any good Jew. I look forward to Passover seders full of Eastern European food that my family has made for generations: brisket, turkey, gefilte fish, kugel, tzimmes. But I have to admit that after a few days of all that heavy stuff, I’m ready for some lighter fare for the rest of Passover, an eight-day holiday.
Quinoa has been a more recent addition to our Passover repertoire. Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is an ancient South American grain that’s high in protein and nutrition. Grown in the Andes mountains in South America, quinoa bears no relation to chametz grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt), making quinoa kosher for Passover and gluten-free.
Ancient Harvest says that its quinoa is grown in the high Andean Altiplano regions of Bolivia at 12,000+ foot elevations where the arid conditions will not support traditional gluten-bearing grain production. So there’s no possibility of cross-contamination in the fields.
The ancient Incas revered quinoa as sacred. It’s not only high in protein, calcium and iron, but it’s a complete protein, since it contains all eight essential amino acids.
I make the following gluten-free Colorful Quinoa Salad during the year, but it can also be a refreshing addition to a Passover table. Chock full of healthy quinoa and antioxidant-rich veggies, fruit and nuts, it’s particularly good to pull out for a brunch buffet, since you can make it in advance and serve it at room temperature. The recipe is adapted from “Let’s Dish,” a cookbook from my kids’ school.
Click for Colorful Quinoa Salad recipe
Filed under Recipes, salads