Three bean vegetarian chili and low-fat cornbread

Today I am squeezing in another recipe that I wanted to make this winter season: chili and cornbread. I first had a really good chili and cornbread two years ago in the Curry Village dining lodge at the Yosemite valley. We love to visit Yosemite National Park during winter rather than spring or summer. During summer the crowd at the park is just so unbearable; you won't believe but I have actually been stuck in a traffic jam inside of that national park! Sure in winter its freezing out there and some parts of the park are closed but still the park is just so pretty and pristine with the fresh snow, alpine glow and colorful skies -- best hiking weather I say!

Anyway, one such winter evening we went to curry village lodge exhausted from hiking (mist trail). Needless to say our appetites were raging. We were served a simple chili and cornbread meal with a side of mashed potatoes. I am not sure if its the fact of being worked up and starving, but that chili-cornbread was one of the most satisfying meals I have ever had! My dad always says that the meal on a farm after a hard day of farm-work tastes the best, he may be right, because simple though it is, since then I have been craving to make this chili cornbread again and again..
I adapted the basic three bean vegetarian chili from the latest Cooking Light recipe. I had a can of fire roasted green chilis sitting on the shelf which I added for some extra sour-chili-smoky flavor. My other addition was some soy granules, I really wanted to simulate the meaty texture and happy to say soy granules were perfect for the job. Smoked paprika is a new addition to my pantry and I must say I have been extremely happy with it. It sure imparts a wonderful smoky flavor to the chili like if the ingredients were individually roasted/smoked and cooked for hours. 

Cornbread recipe is pretty much as is from one of my all-time favorite cookbook How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. I just substituted reduced fat buttermilk for regular, reduced the sugar quantity (don't like sweetish cornbread) and added only an egg-white instead of full egg. The bread wasn't as moist as I would have hoped (may be because of the low-fat changes I made), but I very much enjoyed eating it dipped it in the rich chili! 

Recipe: Three bean vegetarian chili
Source: adapted from this Cooking Light recipe
1 small onion - finely chopped
1 red pepper - finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic - minced
2 tomatoes - chopped (fire roasted canned tomatoes would work beautifully here too)
4oz can of fire roasted green chilis (otherwise use regular chilis)
1/4C soy granules (optional)
1.5C cooked beans combo (I used kidney beans, pink beans and cannelloni beans)
4C water
1tsp smoked spanish paprika
1tsp paprika
1tsp cumin powder
1tsp sugar
red chili powder (per taste)
lots of lime juice
fresh cilantro for garnish
olive oil

  1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add onions, red peppers, garlic and cook for few minutes until onions start to brown slightly.
  2. Add fire roasted chilis (rinsed and water squeezed out) and cook for few more minutes.
  3. Add paprikas, cumin powder and chili powder and cook for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add soy granules and cook on medium high heat for few minutes. 
  5. Now add chopped tomatoes and cook until tomatoes start to fall apart.
  6. Add cooked beans, water, salt, sugar and cook uncovered for 20-25minutes.
  7. Take off heat, add lots of lime juice and taste. Adjust the seasonings per taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve warm!
Recipe: low-fat cornbread
Source: Adapted from Mark Bittman's cornbread recipe and from How to Cook Everything recipe.
(See note above about my moistness effect of my reduction of fat -- go with regular buttermilk and a full egg if you prefer)
1.5C medium grind cornmeal
1/2C all purpose flour
1.5tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
1tsp sugar
1egg white
1-1/4C reduced fat buttermilk
2Tbsp olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Keep a 9" inch circular baking pan in the pre-heated oven for 10minutes or so.
  2. Meanwhile mix all the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients one by one. Mix well.
  3. Remove the hot pan from oven. Add oil to the pan and spread the oil so it coats the entire surface of the pan evenly.
  4. Add the cornbread mixture to the pan and place the pan back in the oven.
  5. Bake for 30minutes or so until the top starts to brown and the sides start to pull apart.
  6. Remove, cool on a rack and cut into brownie sized pieces.
My motivation for making this chili cornbread was surely increased multi-fold when Pari announced her combo event. She is just such a sweet person and has an extra-ordinary blog with wholesome yummy recipes at Foodilicious. I don't think weather in North India is as cold right now, but I am sure sending a steaming hot bowl of this veg chili and a few cornbreads her way as my entry to the combo event.
Now, some award time! Rujuta from the awesome blog The World According to Rujuta was kind enough to bestow me this creative blogger award. Do visit her blog which is filled with lots of delicious recipes and wonderful writeups! Thanks Rujuta, I have previously shared my seven secrets here.

I don't know how I got so lucky but the same week Vanilla Strawberry Springfields showered me with another bald faced lier/creative writer award :D No, you read it correctly, read her photolicious blog for the full history of this award. Now as part of the award I have to list 7 things about myself, 6 lies and a single truth and you get to guess which one is the truth... so let the guessing game begin!

1) I have a massive sweet tooth and a meal isn't complete without some sweet thing (atleast a cookie).
2) Baking is my biggest passion in cooking, I love to bake and it comes to me oh so very naturally.
3) I learnt french in high-school and can coverse fluently in french now.
4) Many people in US confuse me to be of greek or mediterranean decent.. atleast until my accent gives me off.
5) I hate working out in gym, its one of the chores I like the least.
6) I am a control freak... need each and everything in my life to be controlled, precise and calculated.
7) Reading books is so boring, can't finish a single one that I pick up.

Okay, may be some of them were too easy, but have fun guessing. See you next time!


Urmi said…
Vegetarian chilli looks delicious and tempting. Very interesting and new way of preparing it.
ruchikacooks said…
Goodo. Veg chili is my fav. Dont worry PJ, everyone has crazy days. Catch up when you can.

Now I love reading too and I take the time to read the end of the posts by everyone when I visit (I read fast as well).

The last one is a lie PJ. For sure I know you love reading. Now what is my gift for correctly guessing it?
Unknown said…
That was something special PJ, nice look for your space, with these excellent chillies...humm the corn bread has come out nice & soft...about one lie..I agree with Ruchika, you sure are a reader.
Preeti Kashyap said…
I lovvveee Chilli and have been hunting the "right" recipe for sometime. But now, I got a the "right" recipe right here! (sorry for the pun and alliteration together, got carried away! :P)

The pics and the recipe is awesome. Never thought of adding soya chunks.A great way to add meaty texture as you suggested. Thanks so much for posting this one!

Thanks so very much for taking time to read my post and commenting even though you had too many things going on. It means so much to me. Someone who takes time to read what you have to rant and encourage you is something very touching and special :).

I know you are quite a reader (cmon girl, I knw u a tad!) and u don't make precise measurements while you are cooking, so baking doesn't come naturally!!!gee...Now I gotta stop ranting in other's comment space as well...sorry:P
I feel like only 5 and 6 are a lie honestly.....ur list is absolutely adorable PJ and love ur creativity with the award though the little i know of ya feels like all are truth except the 2.....

DElicious goodies here u have as usual....

Delicious days are here sweety-have got 3 awards lined for u my sweet happy pal,do stop by and pic 'em up coz they are topped with loads of love,yeah valemtines=love@365......

Hope u love 'em as muc as i do!!!!!
Preeti Kashyap said…
Oh btw..loved the mist trail! wish my hubby was into hiking!
Priya Suresh said…
Fantastic dish, three beans chilli with cornbread makes me already hungy.. Enjoyed reading about, hey glad to know that u know french..happy to cross a blogger who talks french,which is almost my mothertongue now:))..
Hayley said…
Superb dish, three beans chilli with cornbread making me hungry..looks delicious and tempting..lovey post!!next on trial this dish at mine..
indosungod said…
True peasant meals are always the best. But this one would be fit for a king. Love the look of that chili and corn bread and a taste would be greatly appreciated ;) I am trying to figure the lone truth. Is it 1?
saumya said…
Love your blog.

As for the quiz, the number 4 is the truth, rest are lies.
PJ said…
Babli, thanks! I am so glad you liked the chili recipe.

Ruchika, thanks! Veg chili is my favorite too.. I'll divulge in next post what was the truth, but I can safely say you got one lie right :)

A2 vegetarian cuisine, thanks! yeah, I loved eating this cornbread, though a bit not too moist due to reducing fat, it still was delicious.

Preeti, lol, loved the pun! I always look forward to a new post from you, Preeti! yeah, and I think you got both the lies sorted out correctly.

VanillaStrawberrySpringfields, heh heh, thanks so much for this award.. I had a lot of fun coming up with these 'lies' :) Sort of like imaging what you would be otherwise.

Priya, thanks! I am so glad you liked the chili and the cornbread! Wow, girl, you know french that well!

Jagruti, thanks! I am so glad you liked the dish.

Indo, so true, after the hardwork a simple onion zunka and bhakri meal (Marathi peasant meal) seems so much rewarding and satisfying! Look forward to the 'truth' in the next post :)

Saumya, thanks and welcome to my blog! I am so glad you liked it, now I am off to visit yours.
hey dearie nice reading lie and truth about you... wonderful post and congrats on ur award. Corn bread looks amazing with yumm chilli.. u know first i should say same pinch cos i too make chili with soy granules ..I almost substitute meaty things with soy cos I am eggetarian... Fatless corn bread now making me drool and i am almost flat seeing this wonderful combo. Just have look at my corn bread post when you find time. Good day!!!
amita said…
Chili with cornbread.. wow! Invite me for dinner!!
Pari Vasisht said…
Dear PJ, I am glad that u posted such an awesome combo. I have not had this but the look of it makes me drool and the smoky paprika will be surely in my shopping list if I can get a one here..
Congrats on the the guessing game..
u are a gym freak, an avid reader, u seem to be a control freak I have a feeling that people confusing u as greek might me true.
PJ said…
Pavithra, thanks, I am so glad you liked it! I just stopped by your blog and looked at your bell pepper cornbread, that looks awesome! Such a nice idea to add bell pepper and such veggies to pure old cornbread. I am sure gonna give it a try next time I make cornbread.

Amita, sure! You are welcome anyday :)

Pari, thanks for hosting this wonderful event.. because of this I got the extra motivation to cook up the cornbread which I had been hoping to for some time :)
Wow the combo sounds excellent....Cornbread looks very soft and nice...
Parita said…
Thats one awesome combo PJ! I am a vid reader my self, baking is my passion too, cant go a week without baking :)
s said…
great combo PJ..and the pic makes me drooollllll
PJ said…
Pratibha, thanks! I am glad you liked it. This was my first time making cornbread, very much loved the sour taste of it.

Parita, thanks! You sure are a wonderful baker.. I so much drool on your delicious baked creations all the time.

s, thanks! I am so glad you liked the combo and the pics. :)
Sushma Mallya said…
Lovely dishes,loved the corn bread and the chilli, both look so perfect with each other...wonderful entry to the wonderful event...beautiful clicks pj
Deepa G Joshi said…
an awesome combo..great the bread usual great clicks.. you know I have got some cold..feel like grabbing a bowl and some bread..and it will be all vanished in seconds ( both my cold and the yummy combo..)

About the truths I am still weighing between the 1st and the 3rd one..Havent come to a conclusion..lets wait till tomorrow..
PJ said…
Sushma, thanks! I am so glad you liked the combo and the photos.

Deepa, oh, how I wish I could send you some hot chili with cornbread right now :D Take care. I hope you feel better soon.
shahana said…
Today I was looking for some bean recipe and now I got it.Thanks for sharing!!!Will let you know after after cooking.
shahana said…
Today I was looking for some bean recipe and now I got it.Thanks for sharing!!!Will let you know after after cooking.
Sayantani said…
adding soy granules is indeed a ggreat idea Pj. love the picture and the combo as well. i never had corn bread but it seems very healthy and tasty. will try to find some corn meal here.
between guess that french language fact is true. am I right???
Namitha said…
what an awesome combo...chili has a lovely tempting color. Love corn bread and will try out this combo sometimes. Hope you had a beautiful V day, PJ :-)
PJ said…
Shahana, thanks! Glad you liked it, do let me know how it works out. You can always add fire roasted tomatoes or fire-roasted chili or chipotle peppers to simulate the smoky taste if smoked paprika is not at hand.

Sayantani, yeah, soy granules really made me feel it the the 'chili' like the meaty one :) Glad you liked it. Look forward to the truth in the next post!

Gulmohar, thanks, v-day was great, hope you had a wonderful day too.
Sarah Naveen said…
awesome click and chili looks mouthwatering
Siddhi Shirsat said…
wow pj this vegetarian chilli n corn bread luks damn yummy...superb combo meal...healthy recipe...nice pics
Radhika said…
That looks so inviting! I have been dying to make a vegetarian chili so am happy you posted this!
PJ said…
Sarah, thanks! I am glad you liked the chili and the click :)

Siddhi, thanks! I am so glad you liked the meal.

Radhika, same here, I have been meaning to make veg chili for a while until this event pushed me to just make one! Hope you do try it and let me know how it goes :)
Padhu Sankar said…
Wow! Seeing your pics makes me hungry.
Thanks for sharing a nice recipe.
Love this combo it's really superb, not bad at all for the first made it, PJ....the corn bread turns out so lovely.....
Joanne said…
Wow this dish is fantastic! Perfect post-hiking dinner (although I could eat it any day and be very very happy). The photos are absolutely beautiful!
Sunitha said…
It's good reading your post and all your experiments with different kinds of cuinse. I especially like chili and corn bread ofcourse I make the chili with sausage and your addition of soya chunks I am sure will help.
PJ said…
Padhu, thanks! I am so glad you liked the recipe and the pics.

Treat and Trick, oh, I so much enjoyed making this chili and cornbread.

Joanne, thanks. I am so glad you liked the recipes and the pics.

Nostalgia, chili with sausage is perfect! I add soy chunks mainly to feel in on the meat and give some meaty texture.
ruchikacooks said…
Yeah, I left the others some to find out more about you. No point in guessing all of them correctly (ahem):D

I can give info about gardening only and only if you tell me how to knit. I have made three messy caps so far, so...Deal or No Deal?
This looks perfect and tempting. Nice click. Do visit my blog when time permits.
Rahin said…
Hi PJ we were in SFO and were planning to visit Yosemite too, but dint had enough time, may be next time...

As for your guessing game i think no. 4 should be true , thts my guess

the chili n corn bread both look perfect
PJ said…
Ruchika, deal oh deal!!

Shanthi, thanks, I am so glad you liked it! I am off soon to visit your blog.

Rahin, you need to make another SFO trip now to visit Yosemite.. its just so very pretty! You wont regret the second visit a bit. Thanks, I am glad you liked chili and corn-bread :)
Cham said…
Hehe been CA never peeked yet Yosemite! Got to make one day! A southern specialty, u have made it beautifully!
lubnakarim06 said…
Wow...that's an delectable are tempting....
ruchikacooks said…
Great Deal we've tied up. How about this, I got your email id so I will send some tips on growing a garden with pix. You can get my id from that and we can start the sharing of knowledge.

I guess you are either on west or east coast(he he)..Im in the south, will see which ones will work.
Cool Lassi(e) said…
I stumbled into your site from one other blog your blog. Following you. Please pick up your awards from my site.

-Cool Lassi(e)
PJ said…
Cham, thanks! Oh, you should totally visit Yosemite then.. any regular weekend will also do actually. For the first visit I suggest spring or summer definitely :)

Kitchen Flavours, thanks! I am so glad you liked the recipe and the pics.

Ruchika, sounds like a plan for sure :)

Cool Lassi, welcome to my blog! I am so glad you enjoyed your visit here, now I am off to see yours.
Preety said…
love the click and great recipe too
Yasmeen said…
A sure appetizing meal after a long hike.The roasted chillies flavor must really taste super good :D
PJ said…
Preety, thanks! I am glad you liked the click and the recipe.

Yasmeen, yeah, roasted paprika really gives it that slow roasted flavor which is so great.
Meena said…
PJ, Hi!!

Landed on your blog for the rirst time...interesting set of recipes...saw your Ethiopian posts...very out-of-the-box.

Will definitely follow your recipes...
ruchikacooks said…
Thankie Thankie.

I was so irritated and wanted to shout thorough email and there it was...Ta-da..What do you know..Mellowed down like a marshmellow.
PJ said…
Meena, thanks and welcome to my blog! i am off to visit yours now.

Ruchika, he he, mellowed like marshmallow for sure :)
Dolly Sharma said…
DEar PJ, What an awesome combo- three bean chili with cornbread. LOve it. DElicious and healthy. Superb presentation and beautiful clicks. Glad to know that u njoy hiking too..I too love to hike and drag my poor husband as well... Congratulations on the award. I've been away for some time but bake hopefully will comment regularly..But seriously i really marvel how so many people do it so well, giving their feedbacks to their blogpals as well as post awesome recipes. Its time management I guess.

Also I guess #4 is the truth..people in Us think ur from greek or mediterraenean descent..But the others sound just as true..
ARUNA said…
Hey PJ, the recipe looks delicious and the pic looks tempting,the very mention of fire roasted chillies is making me crave for this dish.
Use of soy granules is a new twist.
PJ said…
Dolly, hey, no problem, stop by whenever you can.. we all do this blogging more as a hobby and have to juggle with our day-time jobs :) Glad you liked the bread and chili, after-all it is a texan speciality :)

Aruna, thanks! glad you liked it.. yeah, fire roasted chilis pulled the dish together for me too :)
Latha said…
Hi PJ,

First time here. Chilli looks awesome. By looking at your picture, #4 is definetly true. You look beautiful.
perfect combo.. and chili looks so delicious... beautiful post
R said…
i alwayz wanted a recipe for veg chilli this one looks super yummy, a must try - Rupali.