Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday: Easy Vegetarian Chili!

My apologies for the bad photo - it was dark and I was hungry!
Today I thought I would diverge from the normal Monday posts of progress reports and share with you a great recipe that is so delicious and easy (and fast! It takes about 15 minutes of prep, and an hour of cooking that only needs stirring every 10 minutes) that everyone should really do it. Meat eaters can add ground beef or chicken, but I like it vegan style, with 3 different beans, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and lots of goodness. Did you know that the original chili was actually vegetarian? With the combination of brown rice and beans, this chili packs a protein punch that is pretty easy to digest.

This is my take on my family's version, and I sort of add as I go, a dash of this, a dash of that, but I've tried to be as accurate as possible. I probably added quite a bit more of the spices, as I like my chili incredibly flavorful and make-your-nose-run spicy. Given that everyone has their own tastes, I've put recommended amounts of items, so please take the recipe and run with it! Add more or less of the ingredients I listed here, add your own ingredients to your own tastes, and Enjoy!

Meghann's 3 Bean Vegetarian Chili (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Corn Free, Soy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian)
Main Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 med-large sweet onion, chopped
1-4 cloves garlic, minced (add more or less, depending on your tastes)
1 10oz can organic sliced mushrooms, well drained and rinsed (or fresh if you prefer)
1-2 cups brown rice (add as much or as little as you like, just change the liquids to suit)
chili powder to taste (2-5 tbsp, depending on how spicy)
ground cumin to taste (3-6 tbsp, depending on your love of it - I LOVE cumin, so I add lots!)
1-2 tbsp dry oregano
4 tbsp dry parsley
2 tsp paprika (or to taste)
1-2 tsp dried chili flakes (to taste)
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
dash cayenne pepper (to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 28oz can chopped tomatoes
2-3 cups broth
2-5 tbsp tamari sauce, to taste
1/4 cup organic ketchup (yes, it sounds weird, but it makes the chili thicker and more delicious)
1 15oz can navy beans, well drained and rinsed
1 15oz can black beans, well drained and rinsed
1 15oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), well drained and rinsed
1 small can chopped chilies

freshly sliced avocado
sour cream (vegan or not)
cheese (I use Daiya Mozzarella and it is DELICIOUS!)
tortilla chips on the side
OR soft tortillas for wrapping
OR chopped romaine lettuce for a healthier version

In a large pot over medium heat, saute the onions until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until onions are soft and starting to brown, about 3-5 minutes.

Add brown rice, herbs and spices, stir until onions, mushrooms and rice are coated with seasoning mix and toast until the rice is starting to get fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.

Add tomatoes, broth, tamari sauce, ketchup and stir, making sure to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot (That is where the flavor is!). Add the beans and as much of the chopped chilis as you dare! I added the whole small can (it's about 1/4 cup), as the huge amount of beans, rice and vegetables take up the chili flavor and mellow it quite a bit. Stir and make sure everything is combined.

Bring to a slight boil, turn heat to lowest setting (1 or Low), cover and let lightly simmer for about an hour. Stir every 10-15 minutes to keep things from settling too much on the bottom. Make sure you scrape the bottom so that nothing burns on the bottom.

Add more liquids if necessary, to achieve your desired chili consistency. I added a bit more broth towards the end as it was getting too thick for the rice to cook properly.

When the rice is cooked, turn off heat and serve!

This is great with tortilla chips with your desired toppings, is also amazing wrapped in a soft tortilla. For a lighter dinner, I put mine on a bed of lettuce, topped with avocado, salsa and Daiya cheese.

This is incredible the first day, but it keeps getting better each day (don't let it sit in the fridge for more than 3 or 4 days though, or you risk food poisoning. Obvious, I know, but you can never be too careful).

This also freezes well! Make a large batch, put individual servings in your freezer-safe containers of choice, and you'll have a quick lunch or dinner that is healthy whenever you don't feel like cooking :)

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