Cornmeal-Crusted Kidney Bean and Black Bean Chili

Cornmeal-Crusted Chili

When I first became a vegetarian, I didn't eat the most balanced and varied meals like I do now. I relied on rice, pasta, cheese, bread and vegetables for the most part. I've since learned the art of vegetarian meal combinations. The first lesson is to always eat a healthy breakfast consisting of eggs and toast or a grain such as oatmeal or spelt along with some fresh fruit. For other meals throughout the day, as a rule of thumb eat plenty of vegetables and take care to balance a legume with a grain component to ensure you get your complete proteins.

Cornmeal-Crusted Chili

One of the earliest healthy staples I incorporated into my diet was vegetarian chili. I've become more creative in the kitchen over the years and have now expanded upon my repertoire of chilies, which include some oven-baked variations. This Mexican-style baked cornmeal chili is a meal onto itself. I used kidney beans and black beans here, but feel free to use chickpeas and or/ pinto beans if desired.

Cornmeal-Crusted Kidney Bean and Black Bean ChiliCornmeal-Crusted Kidney Bean and Black Bean Chili
Recipe by
Cuisine: Mexican
Published on March 9, 2008

Simple spicy bean and mushroom chili baked with a soft and delicious golden cornmeal and buttermilk crust

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  • 2/3 cup dried red kidney beans (1 2/3 cup cooked)
  • 2/3 cup dried black beans (1 2/3 cup cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 6 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 2 to 3 jalapeƱos, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 3 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
Cornmeal crust:
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Prepare the kidney beans and black beans separately if you prefer to keep the colors from bleeding into each other. Rinse each bean and soak in several inches of water for 8 hours or overnight, in separate bowls if desired. Drain and rinse, then transfer to medium saucepans and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are tender. Drain and set aside.

  • Preheat an oven to 400° and grease or butter a 13 × 9 baking dish.

  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. When hot, add the onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onions are translucent and soft. Add the carrot and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Now add the garlic, jalapeƱos, spices adnd dried mustard, and stir for 1 minute.

  • Add the cooked beans, tomatoes, chopped parsley, salt and black pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the chili is thick. Transfer the contents to the prepared baking dish.

  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk, cheese and sour cream. Stir into the dry ingredients until just combined.

  • Pour the batter over the vegetables, spreading it evenly with a spatula. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

  • Serve hot or warm.

Makes 6 to 8 main servings
Cornmeal-Crusted Chili


Peter M said...

Lisa, a great title for this dish would have been "chili sans carne"!

Laura said...

Ooh, yum, this looks great. And I could not agree with you more. Although I am not a vegetarian, I do try to incorporate vegetarian meals into my regimen, and nothing drives me more nuts than one pot vegetarian meals consisting of mostly pasta. Your website is a great source.

LisaRene said...

Wonderful idea to bake the cornbread on the chili, my husband will love this! It's a beautiful presentation and makes chili much more special.

test it comm said...

That chili sounds really tasty! I really like the idea of putting the corn bread on top of the chili!

Johanna GGG said...

I identified with a lot that you said Lisa - chill non carne is what I made a lot of when I was first vegetarian - I went vegetarian partly because I loved vegetables more than meat but I think that recently I have learnt how to incorporate more vegetables and less rice pasta and potatoes.

Your cornbread on chilli looks fantastic - I have a similar favourite recipe which is called mexicale pie that I have made many times over the years!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

This is a chili that even the most die hard carnivore would love Lisa:D Chili is such a versatile dish, filling and stick to your ribs good:D

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

This is a chili that even the most die hard carnivore would love Lisa:D Chili is such a versatile dish, filling and stick to your ribs good:D

Anonymous said...

Yum, that chili recipe sounds really delicious! Thanks for coming by my blog, Vegetarian Cuisine.

eatme_delicious said...

Yum! I am so intrigued by things that are baked and topped with biscuit like things. I really must try this! And I need to make an even more conscious effort to make sure I'm eating beans or tofu or something like that everyday. I'm just starting to like beans more.