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!