Cheesy White Chili with Cauliflower
This pale vegetarian chili is both pretty to look at and delicious to eat. Add the cream cheese if you prefer a thicker, cheesier sauce, and the mild green chilies for a flavor boost. Serve with hot crusty bread and a salad of sliced tomatoes in vinaigrette for a great meal.
Serves6 to 8
Cooking MethodSlow Cooking
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe CourseMain Course
Dietary ConsiderationEgg-free, Gluten-free, High Fiber, Low Carb, Peanut Free, Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegetarian
Taste and TextureCheesy, Creamy, Hot & Spicy, Savory, Spiced
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) dried oregano leaves
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) chili powder
- 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
- ½ tsp (2 ml) cracked black peppercorns
- 1 can (14 to 19 oz/398 to 540 mL) white kidney beans, drained and rinsed, or 1 cup (250 mL) dried white kidney beans, cooked and drained
- 3 cups (750 ml) vegetable stock
- 3 cups (750 ml) cauliflower florets, cooked for 4 minutes in salted boiling water and drained
- 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups (500 ml) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 4 oz (125 g) cream cheese, cut into ½-inch (1 cm) cubes and softened (optional)
- 1 can (4.5 oz/127 mL) chopped mild green chilies (optional)
- Finely chopped green onions (optional)
- Finely chopped cilantro (optional)
In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, cumin seeds, oregano, chili powder, salt and peppercorns and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer mixture to slow cooker stoneware. Add beans and stock and stir to combine.
Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High for 4 to 5 hours, until hot and bubbling.
Stir in cauliflower, jalapeño pepper, green pepper, Monterey Jack cheese, and cream cheese and chilies, if using. Cover and cook on High for 25 to 30 minutes, until green peppers are softened and cauliflower is heated through. Ladle into bowls and garnish as desired.
If you prefer a thicker chili, mash some or all of the beans or purée in a food processor before adding to the recipe.
If you are assembling this chili the night before you plan to serve it, for convenience, chop the peppers and cook the cauliflower, as well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to add to the recipe in Step 3.
Make ahead: This chili can be partially prepared the night before it is cooked. Complete Step 1. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, continue cooking as directed.
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2004 Judith Finlayson