This chili has been a work-in-progress for quite some time. It all started a few months back, when I happened to be scanning Susan of The Fat Free Vegan Kitchen’s “Stews and Chilies” section. I just couldn’t choose: smoky refried bean soup, or black-bean pineapple stew? And suddenly, inspiration struck: I’ll make both! In one pot! It’ll be the sweet, smoky lovechild chili to end all chilis! So I enthusiastically got to work, adjusting measurements here, subbing veggies there and generally putting everything that sounded tasty that day on one long grocery list. And that first attempt? It was absolutely…mediocre.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a disaster. There was just something…missing. A passable amount of flavor, definitely not enough texture. A vague sweetness lost in a sea of pureed beans, a mouthfeel that called for more chew, more crunch, more something.
So I gave it another go—swapping in diced pineapple for crushed, trading some of the beans for mushrooms—and got closer. Still, though, there was a missing ingredient.
Then a coworker of mine made a suggestion: “It needs starchiness,” he said. “What about potatoes?”
But potatoes, in my opinion, are such a bore of a vegetable. I know I probably lost a lot of fans with that statement, but there’s just nothing to them. Very little flavor unless drowned in butter, salt, cream or ketchup, and not nearly as pretty as their sweet orange relative. So, in a move that shocked no one, I took a chance with one of those “mock” recipes that’s been circling the interwebs lately. No butter, no cream, more protein—a win-win-win, right?
And he was right. This chili and these mock potatoes? A match made in weird, unconventional, sweet-savory-smoky-garlicky comfort food heaven.
Get the full recipe for smoky pineapple three-bean chili + garlic mashed "potatoes on Eat Well. Party Hard.
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