Quick Vegetarian Chili

We love chili in our house.  We’re spice addicts, what can I say?  However, we’re also busy with our lives so it is not always possible to make a slow-simmering, flavour-packed chili that cooks on the stove all day.  For days like that, when I want to give my family a tasty, healthy chili meal, I use this quick chili version.

Some of the ingredients are canned, which we tend to avoid but to balance the fact that the ingredients are canned, we choose no-salt added canned food whenever possible.  Also, when ever practical (i.e. it doesn’t work so well for diced tomatoes), we drain and rinse canned food well to remove additional sodium that may be added to the canning liquid.

One way we try to avoid processed food – whenever I cook dry navy beans (for rajma, for example), I cook an extra portion for chili and refrigerate it until needed.  This works if I don’t have to refrigerate beans for more than 3 days.  You can also cook and can beans yourself, but I’m rarely that organized.

This chili changes every time I make it, really, depending on the beans I have on hand and what vegetables are in the garden or the fridge.  This is good with chickpeas, dark navy beans, pinto beans but not lima beans because nothing tastes good with a lima bean.  We have also added fresh oregano from the herb garden, fresh thyme occasionally, and spring onion.  Diced zucchini, squash and even pumpkin are also delicious in this chili.

Quick Vegetarian Chili  (Serves 4-5)

1 tablespoon olive or canola oil1 cup onion, diced
1 cup onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 large carrot, diced
1 medium can corn niblets
2 stalks celery, diced
2 tablespoons Chili Spice Mix, or to taste
2 bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 (19 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
2 cups red kidney beans, with cooking liquid (or canned beans)

In a large pot heat the oil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-high.   Add the onion, carrot and garlic and saute about 3 minutes until the carrots are tender.  Add the peppers, celery and Chili Spice Mix and saute another 3 minutes until the celery and peppers are tender.  If the mixture begins to burn, add a few tablespoons of water to the pot to prevent burning.  Add mushrooms.  Reduce heat to medium.  Continue to saute for 4 to 5 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked down.  Add corn, tomatoes, and kidney beans.  Increase heat to high and bring the chili to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.  The chili is ready to serve!

TIPS:  My chili spice blend is pretty spicy.  You can add more or less as you see fit.

Whenever using canned food, always taste the end product before adding more salt.  Do not add salt during the cooking process, as it tends to harden the beans and the corn, rather than leaving them tender.

I tend to serve this chili with some grated cheese, which the family units can add as they see fit.  My son is a high-performance athlete who needs far more calories than anyone else in the house, while the husband unit is watching his cholesterol, so leaving the cheese on the side works well for us.  For a special treat, I will sometimes serve this chili with some low-fat sour cream.

Bread is essential when eating chili in our house and so I serve this with a simple, rustic Italian loaf or my sourdough bread (recipe to come!).

Enjoy!

Peace & love,

Himmat

 

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