Four-Bean Chili Bake With Polenta Topping

Black beans, white beans, and yellow corn kernels provide the basis for this protein-rich vegetarian chili. The cheesy polenta topping really makes it special.

Number of servings : 6

Prep time: 15

Cooking time: 50

Type of meal : | Main Courses | Main Courses

Special diet : | Vegetarian


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes in puree
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
5 cups water
1 1/2 cups polenta or yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese


1. In large nonstick saucepan or pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in garlic. Cook 30 seconds. Add carrots. Cover and cook 2 minutes. Add zucchini, chili powder, and cumin. Cook 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, partially covered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Stir in black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, and chickpeas. Heat through. Remove half of the bean mixture and refrigerate or freeze in airtight dish to use for another meal.

3. Preheat oven to 400°F. In medium saucepan, bring 4 cups of the water to a boil. In medium bowl, stir together remaining 1 cup water, the polenta, and salt. Gradually stir polenta mixture into boiling water. Gently simmer, stirring constantly, until the polenta is no longer gritty, 5 minutes.

4. Spread half of the polenta over bottom of 8 x 8 x 2-inch square baking dish. Spoon the remaining half of the chili mixture over polenta. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese over chili. Spread remaining polenta over top. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons cheese.

5. Bake until filling is bubbly and top is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes. Cut into rectangles and lift out with a spatula.

Nutritional information: