Northeastern Championship Chili
The dining staffs at Boston’s top colleges took part in a chili cook-off earlier this year. The challenge: create a championship vegan chili. This version from Northeastern University won the competition with its combo of four bean varieties and an unexpected creamy ranch sauce made with almonds and cashews.
2 tbsp. olive or coconut oil
1 med onion, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
2 med. carrots, diced
1 lb. cremini mushrooms, quartered
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cans (14 oz. each) fire-roasted tomatoes
11 oz. cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
11 oz. garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
11 oz. pinto beans, drained and rinsed
11 oz. black beans, drained and rinsed
3 ears corn, charred and removed from cob
1 to 2 cups vegetable broth
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. tarmarind paste
½ cup cayenne pepper hot sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cashew-almond ranch sauce
½ cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4 to 8 hours
½ cup blanched slivered almonds
1 cup unflavored cashew milk
1 tbsp. pickled jalapeno juice (from garnish)
½ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
¼ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup chopped dill
¼ cup chopped scallions
¼ cup chopped pickled jalapenos
Tiny chili peppers
1. For chili: In large saucepot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions, celery, carrots, mushrooms and garlic. Saute about 10 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.
2. Add tomatoes, all four beans, charred corn, broth, cumin, chili powder, tamarind paste and hot sauce; stir in combine the ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste
3. For ranch sauce: In blender, combine cashews, almonds, cashew milk, jalapeno juice, onion powder and garlic; cover and blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down as needed.
4. Add parsley, dill and scallions to blender; pulse until incorporated.
5. To serve, ladle chili into bowls. Garnish with a few kernels of charred corn and pickled jalapenos. Top with a dollop of ranch sauce and tiny peppers.
Photo courtesy of Bush’s Best Beans