I'm working this weekend, so I thought Friday night to make a big pot of Vegetarian Chili for dinner, then I could just warm up dinner when I got home from the hospital. This recipie makes a lot, so I might be eating chili for a week or two past this weekend.
You might be asking, Why Vegetarian? It's not that I am a vegetarian, but it's a little healthier - a lot less fat - and with the price of meat these days, it's a good money saving strategy to have a meat-free dinner every now and then. If you want to add some meat, then go right ahead. Just brown it ahead of time and add it when you add the beans (add less beans then). The pro to making this meatless dish even if you're a carnivore: this dish still has tons of protein and fibre from all the beans in it - so you're not missing much from not having the meat. It was also great way to use up little bits of vegetables in the fridge, and a hearty dish for someone who is trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle but are sick of the typical 'healthy dishes.'
Here's the ingredient list and instruction, add what you have on hand and make it your own:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1tbsp oregano
- 1tsp cumin
1. Place a pot on the stove cook the onions in the olive oil. Add spices. Stir and cook until onions are clear.
- 2 bell peppers, chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (put in 2 if you like it really hot)
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1c. mushrooms, sliced
- 1 small zucchini, diced (~1-1.5c)
- 1/2c. corn - I just sliced mine fresh off a cob of corn I had extra from another night
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
2. Add chopped vegetables and garlic to pot and stir / cook until warmed through
- 1 can diced tomatoes (28oz.) - try for no salt added
- 1 jar salsa
- 1/4c. chili powder (add more if you like heat)
- 1 can each: kidney beans, black beans, lentils (you can choose whatever beans you prefer)
- Be sure to rinse all the canned beans well. Try to buy canned beans with reduced sodium to be extra healthy
3. Add remaining ingredients, stir and bring to boil. Then, reduce heat and let simmer for an hour or so.
You can add salt in pepper in the end to taste, but if you're like me - you'll find it doesn't need it; all that great chili flavour comes through wonderfully without the added salt.
I finish up my dish with a dollop of fat-free sour cream, a sprinkle of old cheddar and some whole wheat bread toasted with butter or margarine, whatever you have on hand.