An amazing chipotle and black bean chili and zucchini fritters with a bright lime flavor? Yes, please! This is a fantastic go-to recipe, and it's great for lunches or dinners. The chipotle chili powder adds a wonderfully smoky flavor to the chili that helps it stand apart from the fritters. Meanwhile, the bulgur wheat gives the chili a meaty texture while keeping it vegetarian.

Adapted from a recipe by Kelly Rossiter.

black bean chili fritters

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Black Bean Chipotle Chili with Zucchini Lime Fritters

Ingredients (including fritter ingredients, starting with the grated zucchini)

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1/3 cup bulgur wheat
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs or more if necessary
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Cooking Directions

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil and add the onion. Cook the onion for about 5 minutes or until it turns translucent. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add cumin, chipotle chili powder, thyme, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir to coat the onion and garlic in all the spices.
  2. Add in the corn and tomato, and cook for about 5 minutes or until the tomato softens. Then add the black beans, bulgur wheat and vegetable stock. Stir to combine everything. Bring the chili to a boil, stirring often, then reduce heat to low and let it simmer while you make the fritters.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, salt, egg, pine nuts, lime zest and breadcrumbs. Stir the mixture thoroughly. You want the mix to be moist but not wet, just enough so it sticks together well. If too wet, add in additional bread crumbs.
  4. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add a large tablespoon of the zucchini mixture, flattening it slightly with a spatula. Repeat until you have several fritters, evenly spaced, in the skillet. Cook the fritters until the zucchini is browned on one side, about 5 minutes, then turn and cook until it has browned on the second side. Remove them and place them on a plate lined with a towel. Repeat until you have used up all the batter.
  5. Add the lime juice to the chili, stir, and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Ladle the chili into serving bowls and top them with a fritter. Garnish the whole thing with chopped tomatoes if desired, and serve with lime wedges.

black bean chili and fritters

Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.