Ooh baby, you know it’s love when I break out the special heart-shaped bowl.
When I saw this recipe for Vegetarian Chili with Peanut Butter posted by Lee Zalben of Peanut Butter & Co, I knew the writing was on the wall. Peanut Butter… Chili?! I was intrigued… *shocked*… awed! I needed to know what peanut butter chili tasted like – stat!
While my blog is dedicated to all things chocolate and peanut butter, I rarely experiment with them in savory form. In fact, I can only think of two posts that have focused on savory items- that’s 2 out of 331 to date. Clearly I have been overdue to give it another go.
There are a couple of unique ingredients in this chili recipe; the peanut butter being the obvious one and the other being smoked paprika. If you’ve never had it, smoked paprika is totally different than regular paprika. It’s kind of like if paprika became friends with barbecue sauce. Yeah – it’s good.
One benefit to this meal is that it comes together pretty quickly. Since everything is done in stages (cook this for 4 minutes, cook that for 10…), you can prep the next set of ingredients as you go, cutting down on the overall prep/cook time.
Another benefit (at least in our eyes) is the fact that it’s vegetarian. Taste Tester and I are carnivores, but lately we’ve been trying to do our bodies and the environment a favor by eating more frequent vegetarian meals. As much as we love PB&J or PB&C, this chili is a wonderful way of incorporating a new tasty vegetarian meal into our rotation that includes our beloved peanut butter.
I have also been trying to cut back on my dairy intake. While perusing a health food store recently, I picked up a block of almond milk cheddar cheese. Shh – if you listen carefully you might be able to hear my Italian ancestors rolling over in their graves. (“Almond cheese? Whatsa matta wit you?”) It’s definitely not your normal cheddar but for someone with special diet needs, it would get the job done, I think. And since this chili already has a nutty undertone, the nutty cheese actually goes pretty well with it. So if you’re a vegan, go ahead and do a little happy dance.
It’s safe to say that this meal was a savory peanut butter success! The combination of rich peanut butter, the sauteed onion, the sweet tomatoes, the kick from a nice array of spices and fresh chives – it all goes really well together. And if you’re scared, there’s really not an overwhelming amount of peanut butter in the recipe – just enough to, as Lee mentions, give body and a little extra protein to the chili. Plus, I think there’s something about making and enjoying a recipe with an unexpected ingredient that makes eating just a little bit more fun.
Get the recipe on Serious Eats. I made some very minor changes including using 1 can of kidney beans instead of 2, only because I misread the recipe when making my grocery list. The chili is so hearty though that 1 was plenty. I also used frozen corn instead of canned because I had some on-hand.
If you’re making your own grocery list, don’t forget to add Peanut Butter & Co’s tasty peanut butter to it. Yum. Enjoy!