Hearty Chili For Autumn Days

People choose to adhere to a vegetarian or vegan diet for various reasons. Some people avoid animal products because of ethics, while others want to control their weight with low-calorie foods. Still others may have food allergies or intolerances that make a vegetable-based diet their best option.

Cooking vegetarian or vegan can introduce a person to a wide variety of new foods and flavors. That’s why even people who eat meat like to periodically experiment with vegetarian or vegan foods.

When the weather starts to cool, soups and stews become staples of many people’s diets. With this recipe for “Four Bean Chili” from “Vegan Cooking for Beginners” (Publications International, Ltd.) by the PIL editors, home cooks can experiment with a meatless chili that doesn’t skimp on flavor even if it isn’t brimming with beef, pork or lamb.

Four Bean Chili
Makes 8 to 10 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can (15 ounces) small white beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) light kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup vegetable broth
1 can (4 ounces) diced mild green chiles
1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon cider vinegar.

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and bell pepper; cook and stir 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add garlic, tomato paste, brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt; cook and stir 1 minute.

Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, broth, chiles, and chocolate; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar.

Chili is even better served with cornbread. Make batter while the vegetables are cooking in step one and bake it while the chili is simmering.

Makes 12 servings

3 tablespoons boiling water
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
11/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1⁄3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
11/4 cups plain unsweetened almond or soymilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray 8-inch square baking dish or pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine boiling water and flaxseed in small bowl; let stand until cool.

Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl; mix well. Whisk almond milk and oil in medium bowl until well blended. Add to flour mixture with flaxseed mixture; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into prepared baking dish.

Bake 25 minutes or until top is browned and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

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