All the flavor of chili in a fraction of the time
It’s cooling off in our part of the world. And chilly means chili!
But what if you don’t have time to make a big pot of the hearty stuff? Enter this Chili-Spiced Vegetable Stir-Fry. It has all the ingredients you’d find in vegetarian chili. Minus the liquid — and the simmering time.
Chili you can eat with a fork? Works for us.
Recipe: Chili-Spiced Vegetable Stir-Fry
This isn’t classic stir fry (though it’s pretty similar and equally quick). You could also call this dish a sauté. Or a skillet dinner. Different words, somewhat different techniques. But the general idea is the same.
Our recipe produces a moderately spicy dish (but you can adjust that to your own taste). And feel free to substitute other vegetables for the ones we suggest. Whatever looks appealing to you will probably work.
Prep time for this dish is 10 to 15 minutes. Cooking time adds about another 15 minutes.
This recipe makes 3 to 4 main-course servings (depending on how hungry you are). Leftovers keep for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container.
- 1 medium onion
- 1 bell pepper (any color, although we favor red)
- 3 garlic cloves (or to taste)
- 1 jalapeño pepper (or more to taste; we prefer 2)
- 2 yellow squash or zucchini (or a mix of the two)
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil (olive or a more neutral oil)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (to taste; see Notes)
- 1 tablespoon mild or spicy chile powder (we like to use dried Hatch chile powder; see Notes)
- 1 teaspoon dried cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried coriander
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 15-ounce can kidney or pinto beans
- Peel the onion and cut it into ½ inch dice. Set aside.
- Wash and dry the bell pepper. Core the pepper, then cut it into dice of an inch or so. Set aside.
- Peel the garlic and mince it finely or slice it thinly. Set aside.
- Wash and dry the jalapeño pepper(s). Cut off the stems, then cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds (it’s the seeds that carry much of the heat). Mince the jalapeño finely (you may want to reserve some slices for garnish). Set aside. Then wash your hands with soap and water to remove the hot jalapeño oil from your skin.
- Wash and dry the yellow squash and/or zucchini. Cut off the stem ends of the squash, then slice each one into halves (or quarters) lengthwise. Then cut each length into half- or quarter-moon slices. Set aside.
- Place a large frying pan (preferably nonstick) over medium stovetop heat. When it’s hot, add the cooking oil. When the oil is heated (about 15 seconds; it’ll shimmer), add the chopped onions and diced bell pepper. Salt to taste. Cook for about 3 minutes, then add the chopped garlic and jalapeño. Cook for one minute. Add the squash pieces, then stir in the spices (chile powder, cumin, coriander, oregano). Stir to combine. Add the can of diced tomatoes.
- Pour the canned beans into a colander or strainer, rinse them off, then add them to the stir fry. Stir again to combine. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until the veggies are sufficiently soft (we prefer ours a bit firm). Taste the dish, adding more salt if necessary.
- Plate the stir fry. Garnish if you wish (see Notes) and serve.
- You can garnish this dish with sliced or diced jalapeño, chopped cilantro, chopped onions, shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, whatever – let your imagination run wild. Or just serve it neat, as we often do.
- You can also add chopped cilantro to the dish for extra flavor. Just stir in several tablespoons a minute or so before serving.
- Want to add meat to this dish? Leftover cooked beef or chicken would work well. Just chop it into dice of about ½ inch, then add it to the dish when you add the tomatoes and beans.
- That said, we really like the veggie version of this dish. It has loads of flavor and is pretty healthy. We really don’t miss the meat at all.
- We like to use a medium-hot chile powder in this dish. We particularly like Hatch chile powder (which can range from mild to very hot). If you want to use something mild but with good flavor, try ancho chile powder, which is available in most supermarkets.
- Chile (with an e) powder is made from dried chile peppers. Chili (with an i) powder contains chile powder plus other seasonings (usually cumin, coriander, oregano, and loads of salt).
- You can substitute chili powder in this recipe if you prefer. If going that route, use about 2 tablespoons. Omit the cumin, coriander, and oregano (which are already incorporated into the chili powder) and maybe reduce the salt.
- Kosher salt is less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger, so they pack a measure less tightly). If using regular table salt, start with about half as much as we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
“Yum,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Stick a fork in it.”
“So you’re happy to have chili today, hot tamale?” I said.
“Yup,” said Mrs K R. “You’re a zucchini Houdini.”
“And no spoon required,” I said. “That’s the real magic.”
“Oregano have seconds?” said Mrs K R.
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Simple and Quick Vegetable Stir-Fry
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