Every time we think winter’s almost over, it pulls us back in with another freezing blast or ice storm. As much as we love skiing and snowball fights, it’s tough to find new ways to warm up. Luckily we can’t get enough chili. Whether you’re sitting inside watching the snow fall or coming in from ice skating, it’s the perfect thing to thaw numb fingers and warm you from the inside out.

Chili can often be heavy, but it doesn’t have to be. Our pinto bean chili recipe relies on our light vegetarian bean base, a make-ahead combination of creamy beans, tangy sun-dried tomatoes and dried mushrooms. This gives an incredible depth of flavor without relying on greasy meat. We further lighten things up with fresh serrano peppers for a fresh kick of heat.

But the secret ingredient in this dish is anchovy paste. No, it won’t taste fishy–we promise! Anchovy paste gives a blast of umami, or savory, salty, rich deliciousness. While we think it adds a lot, by leaving it out you can make this an entirely vegetarian dish.

Serve up steaming bowls of this chili and serve with traditional accompaniments like oyster crackers, onions and shredded cheese, or do what we did and pile on some sauteed mushrooms to give you meaty texture without actual meat. Stay warm, stay dry, and let us know what you think of this chili!

Hearty Chili


Hearty Chili with Pinto Beans

1 red onion, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1 Vidallia or sweet onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 Serrano pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 tbs ground cumin
2 tbs chili powder
7 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp anchovy paste (optional)
4 tbls olive oil
2 1/2 cups Hearty Vegetarian Bean Soup Base (click here for the recipe)
6 cups low sodium vegetable stock
2 cups Randall Pinto Beans
1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and peppers and saute until vegetables are softened. Puree the bean soup base with vegetable stock until well incorporated and thick, set aside. Add the minced garlic, chili powder, cumin and anchovy paste to the vegetables and cook until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer. As with most soups, the longer the flavors meld together, the better this chili will taste. You can make the chili ahead of time and reheat it for a quick weeknight meal.

Great Northern Beans are an important part of a healthy diet