Vegetarian Chickpea Chili

Vegetarian Chickpea Chili

I’m not even pre­tend­ing any more. Did you get that? I’M NOT EVEN PRETENDING! I’m so tired of win­ter that I can no longer try to be chirpy about it. (Was I ever and, speak­ing of, don’t you miss the birds?) I’ve lost the abil­ity to see beau­ti­ful, peace­ful purity when look­ing out my win­dow at freshly fallen snow. Same with the nest­ing thing. My sil­ver lin­ing of being able to stay inside to cud­dle and play board games–because it’s far too cold to go outside–has been tar­nish by just too many damn board games. I am fan­tas­ti­cally over winter.

What’s worse? I feel like I’m the only one. My Insta­gram and Face­book feeds are full of smil­ing friends sled­ding, tub­ing, run­ning through ice mazes and ski­ing. There is the usual moan about shov­el­ling or a heinous com­mute but every­one is still rev­el­ing in their winter-dom and proudly tag­ging their pho­tos with the country’s Olympic hash­tag wearewin­ter. I real­ize those social media sites are where our lives are fool­ishly perfect-looking but still, in my head, all I can think is “hash­tag I’msonotwinterexclamationpoint.” Instead #Iambright­sun­shine­and­sticky­hu­mid­ity. #Iamwarm­sand­be­tween­my­toes. And I love being #ice­cream­be­cau­seit­stoo­st­ick­in­hot­toeatany­thin­gelse. I can’t believe I had the nerve to com­plain, in a post ear­lier this year, about the ice cream truck and how he lures our chil­dren to his win­dow with day-glo treats and pre­tend milk prod­ucts. Gosh, I’d eat my snow shovel now just to see that annoy­ing snake (#tooharsh) cir­cling our schoolyard.

The only thing I’m still enjoy­ing and find­ing any solace in is com­fort foods. I guess it’s why dishes like chili have earned the very suit­able moniker of “comforting”–they calm the tired, winter-bedraggled soul into a feel­ing of hyp­notic peace. Either that or some­one is putting Ati­van in my chili. The ulti­mate com­fort dish has been a sta­ple in our home this polar vor­tex sea­son. After a long run­ning eat-a-thon of my sig­na­ture Turkey, White Bean and Bar­ley meal (get the recipe in our book How to Feed a Fam­ily), Scar­lett begged me to cre­ate a new pot of cornbread’s best friend. And so here we have Veg­e­tar­ian Chick Pea Chili. I know there are car­ni­vore lovers out there who have just lobbed a hard, icy snow­ball at me for sug­gest­ing they replace their ground beef with veg­gies but it can be done (and done delight­fully I may add). Besides, haven’t we already dis­cussed the proven health ben­e­fits of meat­less meals a few times a week? No? You missed that post because you were shov­el­ling? Oh, I get it, then try the chili and remem­ber #weareinittogether.

Photo by Maya Vis­nyei

Veggie Chili-1

Vegetarian Chickpea Chili


  • 2 table­spoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves gar­lic, minced
  • 1 medium yel­low onion, chopped
  • 1 large car­rot, chopped
  • 1 stalk cel­ery, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pep­per, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tea­spoon dried oregano
  • 2 tea­spoons ground cumin
  • 2 table­spoons chili pow­der
  • 1/4 tea­spoon cin­na­mon
  • 1 1/2 tea­spoons salt
  • 1 can (28-ounce) can diced toma­toes, with their liq­uid
  • 1 cup pearl bar­ley
  • 1 can (16 oz) gar­banzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (16 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed


Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Add gar­lic, onion, car­rot, cel­ery and pep­per and cook for 12 to 15 min­utes, or until veg­eta­bles are soft­ened, not browned.

Add oregano, cumin, chill pow­der, cin­na­mon and salt and stir to blend.

Add toma­toes and 4 cups of water.

Stir in bar­ley.

Gen­tly sim­mer over low heat, uncov­ered, for 45 min­utes.

Add chick peas and black beans. Allow to sim­mer another 30 minutes.

If desired, serve indi­vid­ual bowls with gar­nishes of shaved ched­dar, sour cream and fresh, chopped cilantro.



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