Peanut and Cashew Pinto Chili with Corn and Avocado Salsa

southern-style chili

There's nothing quite like a bowl of chili when you are chilly, and I often am because my apartment is on the upper flour of an old drafty house. I call it the igloo.

Not only is this dish warming, but it is especially appealing because of the multitude of perhaps surprising flavors that go into the pot. It's nice and thick with plenty of texture from the beans and nuts, and lots of spicy and salty goodness from the chipotle, paprika, tamari, Worcestershire, vinegar and tomato. The chili even includes coffee and beer, lending additional layers of flavor to the bowl. And then there is the corn and avocado salsa that proved to be an ideal and refreshing topping to the chili — actually quite delicious even on its own, I'll be keeping the salsa recipe on hand for snacking with tortilla chips. Surely this is one vegetarian meal that won't fail to impress your family, especially if you serve it up with some homemade biscuits such as these classic Southern-style buttermilk biscuits.

vegetarian chili

This chili is adapted from The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook by Justin Burks and Amy Lawrence. I admit to receiving a fair amount of new cookbook releases for possible review and it's a challenge to keep up with them all at times, as I have had an extensive collection of cookbooks and recipes for many years. This book really caught my attention, though, because it's a Southern-style approach to cooking and it's all vegetarian. Starters, sides, mains, desserts, even drinks are covered and the book is lavishly scattered with photos throughout. I suspect most of us don't think vegetarian when we think of Southern cooking, nor necessarily as the most healthy way to eat, but this book will change your mind with its fresh approach.

corn avocado salsa

The serving suggestions that go along with many of the mains and appetizers recipe are really unique and with a little extra fuss, you will be turning out gourmet looking dishes with inventive homespun flavors in hardly anytime at all once your prep is done. This book now occupies a privileged spot on my bookshelf. Previously, I have tried and adapted Southern-style pinto beans with rice and fried eggplant from the book. After cooking from this book, you won't think of Southern food the same again. And you won't miss the meat.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for possible review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Peanut and Cashew Pinto Chili with Corn and Avocado SalsaPeanut and Cashew Pinto Chili with Corn and Avocado Salsa
Recipe by
Adapted from The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook
Cuisine: Southern
Published on December 2, 2013

Warming, hearty and delicious Southern "baked bean" style pinto bean and peanut chili topped with a tangy and zesty avocado, lime and corn salsa

Print this recipePrint this recipe

  • 1 1/4 cups dried pinto beans (4 cups cooked or 3 14 oz cans)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 to 3 jalapeƱos, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chipotle powder, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 cup beer (preferably a good quality ale) or water
  • 3/4 cup unsalted peanuts
  • 1/3 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tamari (soy) sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee
  • 5 1/2 oz (160 mL) can tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons coconut or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • corn from 2 ears (2 cups frozen)
  • 2 medium avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  • juice from 1 lime (2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Rinse the beans and soak in several inches of water for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a large saucepan and cover with several inches of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes or until the beans are just tender. Drain and set aside.

  • Meanwhile, roast the peanuts and cashews in a small unoiled skillet over medium heat until browned a few shades. Set aside.

  • Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes or until softened. Now add the garlic, jalapeƱos, and carrot, and continue to stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Toss in the spices and stir for another minute. Pour in the beer or water and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.

  • Add the roasted nuts, red pepper, tomatoes, tamari sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vegetable stock, coffee, tomato paste, vinegars and sugar. Simmer uncovered until the mixture thickens, stirring often — about 15 minutes.

  • Add the pinto beans to the pot, cover, and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes, adding more water if necessary to achieve your desired consistency. Stir in the salt, taste for seasoning, and adjust to taste.

  • While the chili is simmering, prepare the salsa. If you are using fresh corn, roast it in the oven at 400° for 30 minutes. Let cool and remove the kernels from the cob. Alternately, you can use defrosted frozen corn.

  • In a medium bowl, toss all of the salsa ingredients together. Chill in the fridge until ready to use with the chili.

  • Serve the chili hot in bowls, topped with a generous spoonful of salsa.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

southern-style vegetarian chili

Other comforting pots of goodness you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Kitchen:
Kidney Bean Curry (Rajma)
Potato and Chickpea Curry with Tomatoes and Tamarind
Vegetarian Three Bean Chili with a Cashew-Pistachio Sauce
Indian-Spiced Squash, Pear and Adzuki Bean Soup with Lightly Braised Mixed Mushrooms

On the top of the reading stack: Gogol

Audio Accompaniment: Erot


lubnakarim06 said...

This is bundle of goodness recipe....

Joanne said...

I love Southern food but don't often get to eat it because it's so meat heavy! This chili sounds fabulous. Big on flavor and totally toothsome.

Unknown said...

Mmm, Lisa, this will go down really well with our partied out Xmas period Nachos xx

Simona Carini said...

If I visit your igloo, will I get a bowl of this chili? I looks great and I would like to taste it, regardless of the temperature outside. A cheerful contribution to MLLA: thanks! And Happy New Year!