Aaron and I are in the middle of two big house projects, both of which require painting. Outside. Unfortunately, we’ve had a series of rainy weekends that have kept us way behind schedule. Fortunately, it’s October, and a cold, rainy weekend means two things: football and chili. So on Saturday, as Aaron was getting excited about the football game, I was whipping up a fall and winter staple at our house – vegetarian chili.
I started making this recipe in college, back when I was actually a vegetarian and very poor. After Aaron and I started dating, the first time I made it for him, I didn’t tell him it was vegetarian. And guess what? He didn’t notice. HIGH-FIVE! Not only is it meat-free, it also has about 1.5 grams of fat per serving (until you add cheese and avocado, of course). So, let’s see…delicious, filling, cheap and good for you? DON’T JUST STAND THERE, GO MAKE THIS CHILI.
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cups “Simply Organic” fat-free vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon each salt, pepper, smoked paprika, Cavender’s, dried oregano
1 bag Morningstar Farms Grillers Recipe Crumbles
1 15-ounce can “Simply Organic” pinto beans
1 15-ounce can “Simply Organic” dark red kidney beans
1 15-ounce can “Simply Organic” peeled crushed tomatoes
1 15-ounce can “Simply Organic” tomato sauce
OPTIONAL: 1 teaspoon sauce from adobo peppers, toppings such as avocado, grated cheese, sour cream or Greek yogurt, jalapeños
In a large stock pot, combine broth, bell pepper, onion and garlic. Cook over medium high heat until vegetables are soft.
THIS PART IS KEY: When the vegetables are soft and transparent, add all your seasonings. Don’t wait till the end! If you try to add your seasonings once you’ve got all your thick, meaty chili ingredients, they won’t properly combine. So add them to your broth and vegetables and stir to combine.
Allow the mixture to cook a few minutes longer. The liquid will thicken slightly and smell amazing. IF you want to add a teaspoon of adobo pepper sauce, stir it in now. I say “if” because this will make your chili pretty spicy, but it will also give it a great chipotle flavor.
Next, add everything else – beans, tomatoes and sauce, and “meat” – just throw it in there frozen. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. When bubbles start to appear, cover and reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally. Let it cook for about half an hour. Carefully taste it and see if you want to add more of any of the spices. I never measure them and I always add more at this stage, so my spice amounts are purely estimates!