Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pinto Bean Chili

This entry is my praise for beets. No, keep reading! Most people who dislike beets have based this judgment on their experience with canned beets, which are far removed from the actual fresh root vegetable. Fresh beets, when cooked, taste a lot like carrots - they are a touch sweet and taste lovely with a little salt. 

I've never seen golden beets in the store, but regular beets are just as beautiful, with deep purple rings inside. The beets really make this recipe stand out, so I encourage you to include them if you can find them at your local farmer's market or farm stand.

Included are a few photos of the gorgeous golden beets I used in this chili recipe!

I must thank Sarah + Ryan, my friends who sent me a beautiful shipment of fresh organic fruits and veggies after my surgery. It really inspired me to cook again, especially since the shipment came with a recipe to use the vegetables included in the package! I worked from this recipe, which came from the Fruit Guys.

olive oil
1 Vidalia (yellow) or white onion, chopped
2 tsp chili powder
2 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into small pieces
2 medium beets (golden or regular), peeled and cut into small pieces
2 medium tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped (I used vine ripened)
1/2 cup salsa
1 medium zucchini, ends removed, quartered lengthwise, and chopped into small pieces
1/2 bunch collard greens, stems removed and roughly chopped
2 cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
zest of 1/2 orange, grated
salt and pepper, to taste
sour cream or cheddar cheese for topping, optional**

**Leave this ingredient out for a completely vegan meal.

  1. Heat olive oil in stockpot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and saute until onion starts to brown, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add chili powder and stir for another 1 minute.
  4. Add broth, yams, and beets. Cover pan and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until beets and yams are almost tender.
  5. Add zucchini, collard greens, tomatoes, and salsa. Recover pot and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
  6. Add pinto beans. Simmer, uncovered, until chili starts to thicken a little and yams and beets are very tender, about 15 minutes.
  7. Add orange peel, salt, and pepper.
  8. Serve topped with a dollop or sour cream or sprinkling of cheddar cheese, if desired.

This turned out to be more like a ratatouille than a chili, in my opinion. However it was delicious, not too spicy, and tasted great with the marble rye bread we served with it. I'm sure you could spice it up by using a hotter salsa or letting each guest season it to their taste with Tabasco sauce.


  1. Yay! I am making a similar chili from their website this week, and this post totally got me all excited for it. I am glad you and the veggies are having fun :)


  2. I am the only one in our house that LOVES beets. Harry says the only good beet is a dead beat... or beet... Please let me know if you run across a good borscht recipe Al. love you