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Vegetarian Chili with Barley, Quinoa and Beans

Zoe Nathan makes this healthy and not-at-all-spicy chili with grains, carrots, mushrooms and beans for tons of great texture. She serves it with classic chili toppings: cilantro, sour cream and shredded cheese.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6 to 8

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  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium leeks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 6 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 2 pounds cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup pearled barley
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • One 28-ounce can whole peeled Italian tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Two 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Chopped cilantro, thinly sliced scallions, shredded Monterey Jack cheese and sour cream, for serving


  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, leeks and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, thyme, ancho powder, paprika, cumin and chipotle powder and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are softened and the spices are fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the barley, quinoa and wine and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the wine is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and the grains are tender, about 45 minutes. Stir in the beans and simmer for 10 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with chopped cilantro, thinly sliced scallions, shredded cheese and sour cream.

Make Ahead

The chili can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Reheat gently before serving.

Suggested Pairing

Bold, spice-scented Rioja red.

Contributed By Photo © Brigitte Sire Published July 2014

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