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Vegetarian Posole with Pinto Beans and Poblano Peppers

Vegetarian Posole

Much of my fall-cooking mentality involves having as many soups and stews as possible bubbling away on the stove at all times, so that come winter when I’m too cold to leave the apartment or need something warm when I come in from outside, I have a freezer stocked with all sorts of cozy comfort foods.

Unfortunately, my significant other is not as enamored with the mentality that soup is all you need in life. So while I’m totally okay with making a meal out of a loaf of bread and a warm liquid to dunk it in, he refuses to call something dinner unless it requires you to chew. I can’t really say that I understand this approach to eating—hello, ice cream for dinner!—but I am occasionally open to compromise. Especially if it comes in the form of a big bowl of hearty, richly spiced vegetarian posole on a brisk fall night.

Vegetarian Posole with Pinto Beans and Poblano PeppersPosole is typically not a very vegetarian-friendly dish, as it often relies on the roasting and braising of large cuts of meat to create layers of flavor. However, when you really get down to the nitty gritty of what makes posole posole, it’s the hominy—not the lamb shank or the pork butt. Hominy is essentially maize kernels that have been dried, soaked and boiled until tender, in a manner similar to how you would prepare dried beans. Though you can buy it in dried form, it is most readily available as a canned good (look for it in the section of your supermarket that sells Goya products) and requires only a quick rinse before using.

For this meatless posole I’ve kept the hominy, which is great for adding lots of bulk and staying power, and added in a few cans of pinto beans for the same purpose. Chipotle chili powder and poblano peppers give the stew a smoky, spicy umami flavor, while coriander, cumin and cinnamon are added into the mix for an extra layer of warmth. In terms of heat, I kept it fairly mild because not everyone in my household likes it spicy, but adjust the amount of chili powder to your liking.

Because I can’t eat soup or stew without throwing in a few veggies, carrots, tomatoes and zucchini are used to flavor the broth and infuse it with a bit of sweet-tartness. The result is a stew with a mix of textures and flavors in every bite, to satisfy both the most ardent of soup enthusiasts and those that are a little bit more reticent in conceding their soup love.

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Vegetarian Posole with Beans and Poblano Peppers

Vegetarian Posole

A full-bodied Mexican soup that gets its rich flavor from peppers, warm spices and lots of hominy. Typically meat-filled, we’ve replaced the meat with pinto beans and veggies so it’s still hearty and delicious. Adapted from Food & Wine.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 poblano peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 zucchini, quartered and sliced
  • 4 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground chipotle chile* (plus more to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans hominy, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Instructions

  1. To a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil. When hot, add the onion and salt. Sauté until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add the poblano peppers, zucchini and carrots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon stick, oregano, ground chipotle chile, cumin and coriander. Cook, stirring constantly, until spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the hominy and beans to the pot. Stir to warm through and then add the tomatoes and vegetable broth. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove cinnamon stick, then stir in the lime juice and season to taste with additional salt and ground chipotle chile if desired.

Notes

*May also be called chipotle chile powder or chipotle chili pepper, depending on the brand.

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42 Comments

  • Reply
    Alissa
    October 1, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    I’ve never had posole before – I guess that might have something to do with the whole “large cuts of meat” thing. This looks amazing though. I’m all about having soups simmer away through the autumn too, and this is going on top of my list of new ones to try. 🙂

    • Reply
      Joanne Bruno
      October 5, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      It will make your kitchen smell SO good! Be warned you might eat your hand off while waiting for it to simmer. 😛

  • Reply
    Leslie
    October 1, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    I pinned this. Man that looks good! I think i’d keep it as a meatless soup. Yum! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Joanne Bruno
      October 5, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      No problem! Hope you enjoy it!

  • Reply
    Millie | Add A Little
    October 1, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    This looks so comforting for fall! Yum!

    • Reply
      Joanne Bruno
      October 5, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks! It definitely is pretty warm and cozy.

  • Reply
    Courtney @ The Fig Tree
    October 1, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    This soup looks incredible! I’ve been looking for a good veggie posole recipe. So many of my favourite ingredients in one bowl. I cannot wait to try this! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Reply
      Joanne Bruno
      October 5, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      So glad we could help! Hope you enjoy it!

  • Reply
    Traci | Vanilla And Bean
    October 2, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    Hi Joanne! You had me at pablano! Although I’ve never tried vegetarian posole, the ingredients made me say, Yes Please! This will help me incorporate more of my zucchini from my CSA too! Thank you for this eye catching meal!

    • Reply
      Joanne Bruno
      October 5, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      I hope you like it! It is definitely a great soup for using up lots of CSA veggies.

  • Reply
    mjskit
    October 2, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Oh how I love posole! It’s my comfort food. It starts when you start cooking it and that unique posole smell starts to penetrate the house, but then I am talking about fresh posole which is widely available where I live. Canned hominy is a great alternative. I love your vegetarian version of posole! Great seasoning and talk about a meal in a bowl! Great recipe!

    • Reply
      Joanne Bruno
      October 5, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      I’ve cooked with fresh posole before also and it is AMAZING but it is pretty hard to find here unless you go to a specialty store.

  • Reply
    Trang
    October 7, 2014 at 1:47 am

    I absolutely love Posole! I’ve always made the pork variety, but recently my household is undergoing a new diet change so this one looks like it’s going to be a great substitute for when the weather gets colder here!

    • Reply
      Joanne Bruno
      October 13, 2014 at 8:16 am

      You won’t even miss the pork, I promise!! Hope you enjoy!

  • Reply
    John G
    October 14, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Made this tonight and it was delicious. I did substitute 1 can of garbanzos for 1 of the cans of pintos which was great. Also worth mentioning if you have little ones to probably cut way back on the chipotle as they found it a bit spicy (although I loved the kick!)

    • Reply
      Joanne Bruno
      October 21, 2014 at 10:44 am

      I’m so glad you liked it! Sorry about the spice…my fiance who can’t handle ANY spice thought it was okay, so I didn’t realize, but everyone has a different level of tolerance!

  • Reply
    Samantha
    October 16, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    So mad right now…. I go to open my can of hominy and its empty except for a little bit of water !!! Guess I am going to have to put this back on recipe list and get another can lol

    • Reply
      Joanne Bruno
      October 21, 2014 at 10:45 am

      Oh no!! That’s awful! Hopefully you can return it to the supermarket where you got it. Boo on them.

  • Reply
    Stefanie
    October 19, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    I was unable to locate the chipotle powder however I replaced it with a small can of chipotle in adobo sauce. Since this would be fed to my children, used mostly the sauce from the can and added the chipotle separately for the husband. This dish was an instant hit with my family. My 6 year old wanted it for left overs!

    • Reply
      Joanne Bruno
      October 21, 2014 at 10:45 am

      I’m so glad you guys enjoyed it! The chipotle in adobo sauce is a great substitution…gives that same smoky flavor. 🙂

  • Reply
    Sue
    October 28, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    I’m based in the UK and have never heard of hominy before and don’t recall seeing it in our supermarkets. What could I use instead?

    • Reply
      Joanne Bruno
      October 28, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      You could probably substitute just about any chewy (cooked!) grain – barley, brown rice, etc. I would also add in some frozen or fresh corn so you still get the corn flavor that hominy brings to the stew.

  • Reply
    Caroline
    October 29, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Wow…I’ve been searching for a vegetarian posole forever! This is GORGEOUS and exactly what I was looking for! Making this right now for dinner tonight!

  • Reply
    Caroline
    October 29, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Just had to follow up and let you know I made this for dinner tonight and it is DELICIOUS! My whole family loved it! It was just the right amount of spicy for us!

  • Reply
    Jodi Davis
    April 28, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    I made this and it was delicious! I will definitely make this again!!!!

    • Reply
      Joanne Bruno
      April 28, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      Great! So glad to hear you enjoyed this!!

  • Reply
    Claire
    September 6, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    This was amazing! The seasoning is absolutely perfect, and the chunky vegetables so satisfying.

  • Reply
    Christina M
    September 29, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    I can’t tell you how happy I am to find a vegetarian posole recipe!! I used to LOVE posole back when I was a meat-eater. One question – do you think this would hold up in a crock pot?

    • Reply
      Joanne Bruno
      October 14, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      I’m not sure how well the hominy would hold up in a crockpot, but it’s worth a shot!

  • Reply
    Autumn
    November 1, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    does this soup freeze well?

  • Reply
    Pk
    December 7, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    When do I add the water?

    Instructions were unclear, I added only oil instead. Oil soup was horrible 🙁

    • Reply
      Joanne Bruno
      December 7, 2015 at 6:37 pm

      Hi Pk, I’m not sure what you’re referring to as no water is called for in this recipe, just vegetable broth and canned tomatoes. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  • Reply
    Dan
    December 19, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Pazole is all about the toppings not mentioned…radish, chopped onion, shredded cabbage, cilantro, a dollop of sour cream…mmmmmm

  • Reply
    Diana
    January 26, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Searched for a veggie posole recipe after seeing it on a meal delivery site; it looked like something that a diner would want more than once. This recipe totally hit the spot, and I would definitely make it again. If you’re in northern CA like me, fresh poblano peppers are sometimes mislabeled as pasilla peppers, so google that if you have trouble finding them. Poblanos kind of look like pointy dark green bell peppers. I did use powdered cinnamon instead of a stick since I didn’t have one, and added some chopped up chipotle peppers in adobo sauce out of a can instead of ground, since it’s what I had on hand. Turned out so delicious and full of flavor! I love the chewy aspects of the hominy and the slight spiciness of the peppers. Initially I used frozen corn but after adding the hominy the spice level went way down to a tolerable level, redistributing all that capsaicin. (Did I mention I used the entire can of chipotle peppers? Yeah maybe don’t do that.) This recipe does make a lot so if you’re not sharing, you can do like I did and freeze half of it for later. I’ve been having this for breakfast for the past week; way more tasty than a plain ol’ egg on toast. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  • Reply
    Cherelle
    March 12, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    How many calories are in the recipe?

  • Reply
    Ivette
    May 29, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Vegetarian pozole, what a treat! I have been looking for a vegetarian recipe for this since I changed over to a plant-based diet. And believe it or not I was just thinking about pozole before I went to bed last night, and then, whamo, I find this in my email. Thank you so much, I can’t wait to try this.

  • Reply
    Michele
    October 9, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it last night with a few mods. I had to work all day, so I sautéed onions and peppers, then put everything into the crockpot. Instead of pinto, I used black beans, added a can of garbanzos and a bottle of corona beer…served it with polenta and it was a hit with the omnivores!

  • Reply
    Wendy
    December 19, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    This soup was really good and easy to make! Even my teenager – who hates anything new – said I should make it again. If I do, I’ll probably throw in some garlic and maybe reduce the chipotle powder by a third. It was a hit, thanks for sharing this!

  • Reply
    Jen
    February 11, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    I love this recipe! Like some of the others, I used the canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce instead of the powder. I also decided to add 8 oz baby bella mushrooms (quartered) and 4 chopped new red potatoes. It’s so yummy and hearty!

    • Reply
      Katie Trant
      February 12, 2018 at 4:51 am

      Sound like some great additions, Jen!

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