This Vegetarian Chili with Spinach also is known as Rajma is hot, healthy, delicious and protein packed. They’re practical in that you can make large batches and enjoy for days on end. This can be made with very simple ingredients and stays well for couple days for you to enjoy as left overs. When you add the right spices, everything tastes exceptionally good and so is this Vegetarian Chili. And the best part is this Vegetarian Chili with Spinach dish is not only Vegan but also Gluten Free.
For me, Rajma or Chili was an acquired taste. I didn’t eat a lot of Rajma/Chili while growing up. I did develop a taste for it when I started making it for my husband who loves this dish a lot and always complains that I don’t make this frequently.
The way, I prepare the Rajma is slightly different than the chili you get here. I don’t add minced meat in it nor do I add stock in it. I keep it simple and the taste doesn’t vary vastly from the famous chili that you get here.
The red kidney beans are loaded with protein and make a healthy and filling dish. I went another step up and added chopped spinach in my rajma/chili. It was delicious. I still made the beans to be the star though and the spinach just added to the flavor.
This thick, satisfying, spicy rajma/chili’s creamy texture is comforting.
If you are not using canned beans and want to prep your beans from scratch then follow the following steps.
- 3 cups rajma/red kidney beans soaked overnight and boiled (Alternatively, you can use canned red beans)
- 4 TBSP oil
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1-inch ginger minced
- 3 TBSP chili powder
- 1 TBSP ground lightly toasted cumin seeds
- 3 big tomatoes pureed
- 1 TBSP tomato ketchup or pasta sauce (this will give a very rich red color to your chili/rajma)
- 1 cup spinach (I used Costco’s organic spinach mix)
- Salt to taste
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 TSP Turmeric
- 2 green chilies sliced (optional)
- Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy nonstick skillet
- Add the onion and stir, until they are tender and beginning to color, about 8 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and ginger, and stir together until the raw smell of garlic is gone, for about a minute.
- Add the ground chili, cumin, chopped green chilies, chopped tomatoes, turmeric, and salt
- Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, until the mixture begins to stick to the pan and the oil starts to separate from the onion-tomato masala
- Stir in the tomato ketchup/pasta sauce. Simmer for about another 10 minutes until the mixture is thick and fragrant.
- Add the boiled/canned rajma/red kidney beans and add the desired amount of water
- Cook for another 40 to 45 minutes on medium to low heat
- Add the chopped spinach into it and cook for another 10 minutes covered. With a wooden spoon mash the beans a bit to thicken the gravy.
- Shortly before serving stir in the cilantro and simmer for 5 minutes
How to Pressure Cook Dried Red Kidney Beans
Soak the beans overnight.
Wash off kidney beans and add to pressure cooker with enough water.
Bring kidneys beans to a boil.
Turn heat to medium and place cover and stopper on top.
Once the stopper starts to rock, cook kidney beans for 20-25 minutes.
Turn heat off.
Only after the pressure has completely released from cooker, should you open it (~25 minutes and as a check, make sure the pressure valve is no longer raised).
Check that beans are cooked and if not, boil for a bit more with lid off.
Then follow the method to make the Chili.
Crock Pot Method:
- Combine all the ingredients in a crock pot or slow cooker and give them a quick stir.
- Cover and cook on your crock pot’s low setting for about 6 to 8 hours.
Insta Pot Method:
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