Bean and Barley Chili

Serves 8 to 10.

Note: Pearl barley gives this chili a hearty texture, while spices — including a hefty dose of chili powder — add a nice kick. Serve with your choice of accompaniments, including green onions, crushed tortilla chips, avocado, chopped tomato and/or fresh cilantro. Adapted from “I Can Cook Vegan,” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 2 green bell peppers, chopped (about 2 1/2 c.)

• 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 c.)

• 3 bay leaves

• 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, or more as needed

• 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 3 tbsp. mild chili powder

• 1 tbsp. ground cumin

• 2 tsp. dried oregano (preferably Mexican)

• 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

• 1 c. light-colored Mexican beer, such as Tecate or Modelo

• 3 c. no-salt-added vegetable broth

• 3/4 c. pearled barley

• 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes

• 1 (25-oz.) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed, or 2 1/2 c. cooked kidney beans

• 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice

• 1 tbsp. agave nectar, optional


In a 4-quart pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Stir in the green peppers, onion, bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, to toast the spices, about 1 minute.

Pour in the beer and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Cook for about 2 minutes, then stir in the vegetable broth and barley. Partially cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar to let steam escape, and turn up the heat to bring the chili to a gentle boil. Boil until the barley is almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and beans. Increase the heat to medium-high to bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot again with the lid slightly ajar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender and the chili is thick, 20 to 30 minutes. Add a little water, if necessary, to thin the chili to your liking.

Stir in the lime juice and agave, if using, then taste and season with more salt, if needed. Remove the bay leaves, if you can find them. Serve hot, with your choice of accompaniments.

Nutrition information per each of 10 servings:

Calories 200 Fat 4 g Sodium 520 mg Carbohydrates 33 g Saturated fat 1 g Total sugars 7 g Protein 7 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 9 g