If you’re ever looking for a good starter vegan cookbook that has over 400 recipes from around the word, pick up a copy of Robin Robertson’s Vegan Planet. As I noted in a previous post, there’s a new up-to-date version out if you’re looking to one-up me in the vegan cookbook collection department, and there are even a few sample recipes posted here. I reference it again tonight because we decided to dig in to one of my favorite recipes, Black Bean Chili with Cilantro Pesto. This recipe stews together onions, celery, garlic, tomatoes, cumin, and chili powder with black beans and lemon juice (which always gives a black bean soup/stew “zing”), then combines a rich pesto of cilantro, almonds, garlic, salt, and olive oil. I know some of you are pulling a face because you don’t like cilantro – to those of you I say phhhfttt, more for me!
The pesto is absolutely what makes this chili – I left a little out for garnish, but I could probably eat it with a spoon. Once mixed in with the olive oil and almonds, the cilantro takes on a much milder personality, which well compliments the smooth black bean and pungent chili/cumin flavors. Seriously, this is good eats – excellent over brown rice, with a little jalopeno hot sauce, or sprinkled with vegan cheddar.