2 Husbands With the Same Name and Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

by Sarah on April 26, 2011

I married two guys with the same name. First and middle. I swear. Not the same last name, or that would be too weird. They are both Gemini too.  And both play the guitar.  But their likenesses stop there.  They look completely different for one thing.

For another thing, BMG is an avowed meat eater.  I think he’d be happy on the Atkins Diet.  Just meat.  Nothing else.  BMS, however, is a vegetarian.  Not while we were married, mind you.  Anyway, BMS was in town, visiting our children and having a little vacation so I invited him to dinner.

And then I remembered he was vegetarian.  What to make?  I often make meals that are meatless but I don’t give much thought to it—there may be chicken stock in the recipe for instance…..or even a little bacon occasionally sneaks it’s way in…just for flavor, of course.

And then I remembered this chili.  I had it recently at a book club meeting (a food book club, natch) and it was from the old Cafe Beaujolais cookbook.  A book that I inherited from Nana’s cookbook collection.

I made it the night before for two reasons.  1)  I didn’t have time after work to put it together and let it cook long enough; and 2)  It would taste better after it sat overnight.

It’s an easy enough recipe but the dried beans just take a little while to cook.  You understand.

Every recipe that includes dried beans tells you to sort through them and discard the rocks.  ROCKS!  Really?  Has anyone in modern times ever found a rock in their bag of dried beans?  I have not.  Anyway, you’re supposed to give them a quick rinse too, then put them on to cook.  It will take about 2 hours to get them tender.

Which gives you plenty of time to chop up all your vegetables.   I have onions, garlic, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and jalapeno.  I took the seeds and ribs out of the jalapenos because I wasn’t sure about BMS’s heat tolerance.  It ended up being a little mild and I put in some hot sauce at the end.

After the beans are tender, you need to reserve about 2 cups of the liquid from the beans.  Then drain the rest.  In the pot, add some oil and toast the spices.

Next in are the veggies–just toss them all in and saute until soft.  They don’t need to be browned or anything.

Dump the beans, tomatoes and liquid into the pot and let cook until everything is tender and the flavors become one with each other.  It will be a beany-veggie-spicy match made in heaven.  Add a lot of salt and pepper and hot sauce to satisfy your heart’s desire.  I really used a lot of salt.  Beans are pretty bland.  But again–put in enough so that it tastes good to you.

BEFORE YOU EAT!  This part is the most fun because you can doll your chili up however you like it.  I put cheese, sour cream, cilantro, pickled jalapeno, avocado and lemon on mine.  Lime is probably better but I ran out.  Hot sauce is good, as is guacamole if you are that ambitious.

It’s really good.  You don’t miss the meat whatsoever and it’s very healthy.  This recipe nearly fills my 7-qt Le Creuset—I was able to give some away, feed 5 for dinner and have a bit leftover for lunches.  The cookbook says that it freezes well too.

Adapted from the Cafe Beaujolais cookbook

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili


  • 2 bags dried black beans (approximately 5 cups)
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes (32 oz)
  • 2 large yellow onions, brunoise (1/8" dice)
  • 1 green bell pepper, brunoise
  • 1 red bell pepper, brunoise
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, minced (remove ribs and seeds if desired)
  • 2 Tbsp cumin seed
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1-2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsp oregano
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • hot sauce of your choosing (I used some El Pato)
  • salt, pepper
  • For garnish:
  • cilantro, chopped green onion, chopped yellow or red onion, pickled jalapenos, grated cheese, sour cream, chopped avocado or guacamole, small wedges of lemon or lime


  • Sort through beans, looking for rocks or other undesirables. Rinse and put in a large, heavy Dutch oven. Cover (by a couple of inches) with cold water. Put on the stove and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and cover. Let cook until the beans are tender, approximately 2 hours.
  • Meanwhile, cut all the vegetables and set aside.
  • When the beans are just tender, reserve 2 cups of the liquid. Drain the rest of the beans and leave them in the colander. Return the pot to the stove.
  • Over medium heat, add the olive oil then the spices and oregano. Stir until toasty and fragrant. Add the vegetables and saute until soft. Add the tomatoes and the beans. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Add more cayenne, chili powder or whatever else you like at this time too--I added the hot sauce now to taste. Stir and let cook another 20-30 minutes until the flavors are melded.
  • Serve in individual bowls with all the garnishes on the table for everyone to help themselves.
  • Excellent served with tortillas or with Nana's Golden Cornbread Supreme.

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