Vegetable-Laden, Three-Pepper Chili


To eat a vegan, no-oil diet, and enjoy it, takes planning. So, what I’ve been doing is buying lots of veggies at the farmers market and grocery store and preparing my meals over the weekend. One meal that has worked well for me is a vegan chili. What I love about it is that though it’s “healthy,” it’s also delicious. And, one pot of this lasts about 3 days.

There are a lot of vegetables in this chili!

The base recipe for the chili is called “Three-Bean Chili” from the Engine 2 Diet. I’ve noticed that when a dish is spicy, I find it more satisfying – it seems to make up for lack of fat. So, I made sure to add lots of chili peppers to make this really satisfying – jalapeno, Thai and habanero. These peppers are in addition to chili flakes and chili powder.  I watched Bobby Flay use a habanero pepper on one of his cooking shows, and instead of chopping up the entire pepper, he made about 3 or 4 incisions on the sides of the peppers and threw them in the pot.  I did the same because though I like spicy foods, I still like to be able to feel the sides of my mouth and lips.

It took me about 40 minutes to cut all the veggies and about 25 minutes for the actual cooking.  I think it’s easier to prepare vegan “stew-like” dishes than meat stew dishes since the cooking time is a lot less.

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 bay leaves
2 red peppers, seeded and chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1.5 cups of chopped mushrooms
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 habanero pepper, 4 incisions along the slides
3 dried (or fresh) Thai chili peppers
1 can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
2 28-ounce cans of chopped plum tomatoes, with juice
1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
2 cups of frozen corn
2 apples, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1)  Chop up all the veggies – onion, garlic, bell peppers, celery, carrots, mushrooms, jalapeno, and cilantro.

2)  Add grapeseed oil to pot on medium-high heat.  Add onions and cook for 5 minutes. Then add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

3)  Add bay leaves, bell peppers, celery, carrots, mushroom, jalapeno, habanero, and Thai chilis. Cook on medium for 5 minutes more.

4)  Add beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, corn, apple, mustard, molasses, and cilantro.

5)  Cover and simmer on low for 15 to 20 minutes.

6)  Season with salt and pepper.

Notes: The original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of coriander. I didn’t have any, so I didn’t add it. I actually only had 1 tablespoon of chili powder, so I added about a half teaspoon of cocoa powder (that’s why I also threw in the Thai chili). The original recipe also calls for 1 pound of tofu. In an earlier version I made, I added fried tempeh, but I wasn’t that much of a fan. The original recipe also calls for three cups of water, but I think it’s better without it because the chili comes out thicker. I also added a bit more vegetables than the original recipe.

Potential Substitutions:
1) Parsley instead of cilantro.
2) Kidney beans instead of pinto, garbanzo for the extra can of black beans – just use what you have in your house.
3) Vegetarian meat crumbles instead of tofu, added with the beans and tomatoes.

Variations: Garnish with sliced avocado, chopped raw onions, minced jalapeno.

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