As soon as we got back from Hawaii I challenged myself to eat vegan six days a week. I hoped it would boost my energy, help me slim down, and improve my diet. In case you didn’t know, we Americans consume way more meat than we need. I’m not saying meat is bad; I’m just saying we don’t need it at every meal. Cutting back on meat is not only good for our health, but also the environment, so to me there’s a lot of incentive to try it.
The first week was a breeze but now I’m starting to struggle. I don’t miss meat very much, but avoiding cheese and eggs is tough- especially as a baker! Still, I’ve managed to come up with some decent vegan meals. For example, this veggie chili is so hearty that I don’t even miss the meat. But I do miss the cheese and sour cream on top. It’s like eating cake without icing: good, but incomplete.
If you’ve never made chili before, then you don’t know how easy it is. All you have to do is throw it in a pot and stir. It’s practically impossible to mess up. So that’s a good reason to try making this recipe even if you’re not trying to eliminate meat from your diet.
Here are the ingredients:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1-2 cloves garlic (diced)
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- about 10 fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 3/4 cup frozen corn
- 1 small can french cut green beans (or about a cup of frozen beans)
- 1 can kidney beans (rinsed)
- 1 can black beans
- 3 cans petite diced tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp oregano
Pro tip from my mom: using frozen ingredients instead of canned eliminates unnecessary sodium from the meal. That’s why I used fresh/frozen shrooms, carrots, and corn, although canned would have also worked fine.
Start by pouring the olive oil in a large pot and turning the heat on medium high. Add the garlic, chopped onion, pepper, and carrots. Since they’re all firm to start with, they need a little special attention. Sauté them together, stirring, until softened (5-10 minutes). This step smells really good!
Then dump everything else in and stir. Cook for at least 30 minutes.
Ta da! Chili. Chili for days, because it makes a big batch. Serve it on a bed of Fritos, topped with cheese and sour cream if you want it to taste good. Eat it plain if you’re trying to slim down.
Looking for something a little beefier? Check out my bison chili recipe here.