Fall is upon us, which means the temperature is perfect to enjoy a hearty, warming bowl of chili. Since October is Vegetarian Month, try making your chili without the meat but with more veggies to make it extra healthy.
There are hundreds of recipes online for vegetarian chili, but the best way to approach this dish is to begin with a basic recipe and doctor it to your taste. Start out with this spicy vegetarian chili recipe from Whole Foods Market:
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotles in adobo
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 can diced tomatoes with their liquid
3 cups cooked red kidney beans, drained
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained
Take advantage of seasonal veggies by adding cubed sweet potato, pumpkin or butternut squash to your chili. This will help bulk up the recipe so you can enjoy leftovers, or share it with a larger group of friends.
Add a cup or two of cooked quinoa to the chili to help boost its protein value and give it sticking power. If you prefer, you can add wheat berries, faro, millet or any grain you happen to have on-hand.
Add a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to your chili for a slightly sweet flavor that’ll help highlight the smokiness of the chipotles.
Use fewer chipotle chilis if you prefer your stew on the milder side, or substitute regular jalapenos if you prefer a less smoky flavor.
Add less water if you prefer a thicker chili; more if you like yours on the soupy side. If you’re not sure, add the water in stages as the chili cooks until you find a consistency you like.
Heat the oil in a large pot (cast iron is preferable if you have it) over a medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery and bell peppers and sauté until the vegetables are softened, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the chipotles, oregano, cumin, chili powder and salt, stirring well to combine. Mix in the tomatoes, along with four cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 45 minutes.
Add the beans to the mixture and stir to combine. Simmer for 30 more minutes or until the chili reaches your desired consistency.
Distribute the chili into bowls and top with your favorite fixings—green onions, sour cream, cheese or anything else you can think of.
There’s nothing that screams “fall” like a heaping bowl of chili. Make yours meatless this month, and enjoy in front of a roaring fire while rooting for your favorite football team.
This article is presented by Perkins Motors in Colorado Springs, Colorado.