This hearty vegan chili gets bulk and texture from farro simmered in spicy tomato sauce with tender summer squash and red kidney beans.
You guys are probably going to want to kick me for saying this, but I’m so glad fall is almost here! Summer is exhausting. And itchy. Did I mention how much biting insects love me? My backyard is filled with biting insects, which I thought I’d avoided this year until just a few weeks ago, when they found me out in the backyard picking veggies one day and decided to turn me into a human snack bar. The air conditioner seems to be breaking again too, so my work from homes days are sticky and itchy.
I’m very excited to think that a month or so from now we might just have an evening where it’s warm enough for me to curl up by the fire with a bowl of hot veggie goodness and not feel the least bit itchy.
For now I’ll take the hot veggie goodness. The forecast says it should be cooling off over the next few days, so maybe I can hang with the neutral temperatures and and stay in the house to avoid hungry mosquitos.
This bowl of hot veggie goodness is the ultimate transitional recipe. On the one hand, it’s loaded with late summer zucchini and yellow squash, which are two of my favorite things about summer. On the other hand, farro makes is super hearty and perfect for dinner on cooler September evenings.
My intention in throwing farro in there wasn’t just to bulk this chili up (which farro does a fine job of), but also to add something with a little crumble and chewiness, like you might get with a meat-based chili. I had some farro on hand (thank you, Bob’s Red Mill!), so I decided to give farro chili a go. It worked out brilliantly.
Farro Chili with Summer Squash and Red Beans
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2-14 oz. cans diced tomatoes
- 3/4 cups uncooked farro
- 1 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. ancho chili powder, use more for more heat
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste, or more, if you like very thick chili
- 1 tbsp. agave, or sweetener of choice
- 1-14 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 small zucchini, chopped
- 1 small yellow summer squash, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- Chopped scallions
- Fresh cilantro
- Cashew cream
Coat the bottom of a large pot with oil and place over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more.
Add broth, tomatoes, farro, cumin and chili powder. Raise heat to high and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and allow to simmer until farro is tender, 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add remaining ingredients and stir to incorporate. Bring back to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini and peppers are tender, about 5 minutes.
Divide into bowls and top with toppings of choice. Serve.