Posted by: njbrown | January 5, 2011

The Not So Humble Chickpea and “The Best Vegetarian Chili in the World”

For most of my life I ignored what were then called “garbanzo beans.” A bland color and my complete unfamiliarity with them gave me no desire to explore them as an ingredient. Furthermore, I didn’t recall Julia ever making anything with them (although she might have). However, like a number of previously humble ingredients, the garbanzo bean has had an image change and become known as a chickpea, or as Mario Battali refers to it, a “cece.” Actually, it was seeing Mario create a number of delectable dishes in Battle Chickpea on Iron Chef America that motivated me to rethink my prejudice. In the fall as I was looking for a really good vegetarian chili recipe, I found one that included chickpeas and decided to give it a try. It turned out to be excellent (see recipe below). Visits with my daughter to a Middle Eastern restaurant exposed me to hummus and falafel – different but quite similar in their reliance on chickpeas. Last night, I made hummus from scratch and found it couldn’t be easier and was quite delightful along with the falafel I made. I may be the last person in the world to make hummus, but here is the recipe:



  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 – 15 ounce can drained chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leafed parsley
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. tahini
  • 1/4 c. water


  • Process garlic and oil by pulsing.
  • Add all remaining ingredients BUT the water and process until essentially smooth.
  • With processor running, add water until desired smoothness is achieved.

The recipe for “The Word’s Best Vegetarian Chili” follows:

The Best Vegetarian Chili in the World

The Best Vegetarian Chili in the World
By: calead910

“Break out your soup pot and fix up a batch of this delicious, spicy vegetarian chili today! It’s ready in no time, and packed with vegetables, beans – and flavor!”

Feel free to adjust amount of chili to achieve desired heat.

Prep Time: 15 Min
Cook Time: 1 Hr
Ready In: 1 Hr 15 Min
Servings    Original Recipe Yield 8 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chile peppers, drained
  • 2 (12 ounce) packages vegetarian burger crumbles
  • 3 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
  • 1/4 cup chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn


  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt.
  • Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and green chilli peppers.
  • When vegetables are heated through, mix in the vegetarian burger crumbles. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.
  • Mix the tomatoes into the pot.
  • Season chilli with chilli powder and pepper. Stir in the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes.
  • Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.

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