As promised, I write today to share with you my scrumptious recipe for some vegan/vegetarian chili. I mentioned before that I look for recipes that are quick and simple, but I forgot to mention that I really try to make an effort to make things healthy and add in veggies where I can (because, let’s face it, I am horrible at eating veggies and fruits throughout the day . . . even though I am a vegetarian).
In addition to this, I am budget conscious and try to keep that into consideration when preparing meals. I have to admit that we do tend to shop at Whole Foods and try to purchase organic when feasible, but I mostly buy produce that is on sale (for example, if I need tomatoes, I look for the cheapest organic ones that I can get and buy those) and we often choose the Whole Foods 365 brand over the others as it is more budget friendly for our pocket books.
A few disclaimers before we begin:
· I am not a perfectionist, so often times I have slightly different amounts of ingredients (I sometimes throw in additional ingredients that are in the fridge that need to be used up).
· This recipe is adapted from multiple chili recipes we have used in the past so it has not been directly taken from any particular website or cook book.
· You can expect that this recipe yields about 6 adult-sized bowls of chili. Need more? Just double the recipe. (If you are making this for more than 2 adults and a small child, definitely double the recipe.)
To start, I want to give you the shopping/ingredient list that you will need to make this dish. I would also like to preface this post by saying, if you like meat in your chili, go ahead and prepare your meat as you would normally and add it to the dish. Or if you are vegetarian and not vegan, feel free to top off your chili in the end with some cheese or sour cream. I’m not biased; I just want you to enjoy a good bowl of chili!
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 carrots, chopped
1-2 bell peppers (you can use any color or do a combo of each), chopped
1 can of tomatoes (diced w/chilis) or 1-2 small, freshly diced tomatoes & 1 small can of tomato sauce
2 cans of 365 Ranchero Beans
1-1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
1-1 ½ teaspoons cumin
1-1 ½ teaspoons oregano
Salt and Cracked pepper
½ box of 365 Cavatelli Pasta Shells
Now that we have the ingredients set aside, let’s get to putting this dish together. I use my food processor to chop my onion, carrots and bell peppers, but if you don’t have one or prefer to cut by hand, I would chop everything into really small pieces (a.k.a. dice ‘em). As you prepare the veggies, you can just throw them into the crock pot.
Next, I add my cans of chili and tomatoes (if you are chopping fresh tomatoes, I dice them into small chunks for a thicker consistency).
Then add your seasonings: chili powder, cumin, oregano, a splash of salt and a few cracks of pepper.
Stir well and set your crock pot to High. You can leave the chili in there for about 4-5 hours to cook and occasionally, I come back to stir and let the savory aromas fill the house.
Alternatively, if you are afraid of using crock pots or don’t have the time to deal with it, you can easily prepare this on the stove. I must admit that I ran out of time this weekend to prepare it in the crock pot and threw this together on the stove. To prepare on the stove, start by heating a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a pot and then add the onions. Sautee the onions for a few minutes, then add the carrots and bell peppers. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on these sautéing veggies and after a few minutes, toss in the beans and tomatoes. Follow that up with the spices and let it stew at a low-medium heat for about 30 minutes. It’s that easy and whether you use a crock pot or a pot on the stove, the chili is delicious.
About 20 minutes before we serve, I put on a pot of water and boil our pasta shells until they are al dente (perfect . . . which for us means, really soft).
When the chili and pasta shells are ready, we each grab a bowl and begin by spooning the shells into our bowl (I usually put in a few spoonfuls to cover about 1/8-1/4 of the bottom of the bowl). Now please do not miss this next step . . . grab the butter (we use the vegan Earth Balance brand, but whatever brand you have in the house, be sure to use) and add a teaspoon full, then mix it around so that it melts amongst your shells. Ladle as much chili as you like on top of the noodles for the perfect bowl of chili.
To top it off, you can add whatever fixings you like such as cheese, sour cream, chives, or whatever floats your boat. On occasion, I like to add cheese, but most nights I enjoy it as it is. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about the melted butter over the noodles mixed with the goodness of the chili that is really unbeatable.
And that’s how you make an easy vegan/vegetarian chili dish.