Happy bean day! Oh yes it is. I wonder why Bean Day doesn’t get as high billing as Christmas?
Fortunately our freezer is stacked with enough bags and containers of chili (some labeled, most not) to keep us fed until Thanksgiving. I keep making large batches of practical, freezable, beany things like chili to stash away for mealtime emergencies at a rate that does not at all sync with the number of mealtime emergencies there actually are in this house. I suppose when I’m completely unorganized in all other areas of my life, it makes me feel totally on the ball to be making dinner ahead of time.
I eat vegetarian black bean chili because I love it, not only because it’s the new year and good for me. I added a ballast of mac & cheese partly because I still had leftover cheese stubs from our polyester & cheese Christmas party, and partly because I adore church supper-style chili, which is traditionally served on a bed of mac & cheese. If you haven’t tried it this way, you should. Isn’t anything better served on a bed of mac & cheese?
Also, my friend Lauren is hosting this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free (GAHIGF) – a monthly online event for which a theme is chosen, and bloggers create gluten-free dishes based on the theme. Lauren’s theme of choice: Follow the Calendar. As in, check out all the food-related Official days of the month, and pick one. January 6th happens to be Bean Day. (It’s also Shortbread Day. Whomever assigned that one kind of missed the mark.) Beans are totally my bag, baby.
The beans are kind of a no-brainer in terms of gluten-free-izing a recipe, but mac & cheese – I would miss that if I couldn’t eat gluten. There had to be some sort of a challenge here. There are gluten-free pastas out there – some made of quinoa, some corn – I’m a particular fan of brown rice pasta, which has a smoother mouthfeel than whole wheat pasta (which of course isn’t gluten-free, but we can eat it in our house) – be warned that it will make the cooking water much muggier than your regular pasta.
If you want to skip the pasta, this chili would also do just fine over a baked potato. Still, I’d likely add a dose of cheese on top. Or a blob of sour cream to offset the heat of the chili.
Note: just before I took this, as I was heating up the chili in a small pot on the stove, I opened another can of beans for something else, and got the 7 bean blend by mistake, and so dumped half the can into the chili. Which is why you see more than just black beans and chickpeas in the photo. Really, you could use any beans you like here.