Easy Black Bean Chili

Now that the holidays are over I’m craving something simple, light but nourishing and that won’t be too much of a strain on the budget.  After all that rich food, I’m opting for vegetarian.

Easy Black Bean Chili with Brown Basmati Rice

Black Bean Chili







  • 2 16-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil or vegetable broth
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 14-oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro


In large nonstick fry pan or sauce pan, heat onion, bell pepper, jalapeño and garlic in the oil or vegetable broth.  Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to
soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add spices, tomatoes, beans and water, and simmer 15
minutes. Stir in corn and cook 1 minute. Stir in cilantro and serve with Brown Rice and  Loaded Corn Muffins (see below).

Loaded Corn Muffins

  Vegetable Corn Muffins

This is a really delicious way to pack in some more vegetables and the kids will love them, and since I’m taking the easy way out here, I’m using up that box of corn muffin mix I had sitting around.  Prepare the mix as directed.  Stir in 1 cup of frozen mixed vegetables, and spoon into a muffin pan.  This recipe makes about six giant muffins.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. It just doesn’t get much easier.


Texas Beans and Corn Meal Dumplings

Spicy Beans and DumplingsFall has arrived and with the crisp weather and lower temperatures, something hearty and full of flavor seems like the perfect choice.  So, I’m making Texas Beans with Corn Meal Dumplings.  I found the original recipe for this as a soup on Cooks.com.  However, being from Texas originally, I know that beans and soup are two different things. Neither of them are chili, and there are NO CARROTS.  So, of course I had to “improve” on the basic recipe.  Ordinarily, I would make corn bread in the cast iron skillet, but since I’ve never met a dumpling I didn’t love from the first mouthful, I thought I’d get the best of both worlds. 

My first consideration is always to make a healthy meal.  This dish is extremely low fat and nutritious.  An added bonus is that it’s also really economical and feeds a lot of hungry mouths, and that’s a big consideration these days. 

I recommend using a Dutch oven for this dish.  The slow cooker takes too long and when you’re using canned beans it’s kind of a waste of time and electricity.  I’m getting hungry, so let’s get started.


  • 1 (15 oz.) can red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pinto beans or chili beans rinsed & drained
  • 3 c. vegetable, beef or chicken stock (fat free, of course)
  • 1 (14 1/2 oz.) no salt added diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup mild or hot salsa
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • 1 small potato, peeled and diced
  • 1  jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (if you’re really brave, use canned chipotle pepper)
  • 2 instant bouillon cubes (for depth and richness)
  • 1-2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1-2 tsp. cumin
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine onions, garlic and pepper in a Dutch oven with a couple of tablespoons of stock and sweat until onions are translucent.  Add the stock and all other ingredients.  Cover and cook over low heat for 2-4 hours.

 Half an hour before serving make and add the dumplings.

 Corn Meal Dumplings:

  • 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Dash of salt (optional)
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 beaten egg white or 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tbsp. cooking oil

 In a small mixing bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, combine egg white, milk and oil. Add to flour mixture; stir with a fork until just combined. 

 Turn to medium heat and drop teaspoonfuls of dumpling mixture into the beans to make mounds atop the beans. Cover, cook for 30 minutes more. (No peeking! Do not lift cover.)

If you try this recipe please let me know how you liked it.