..Like a good hearty vegetarian chili. David and his family have taught me all sorts of things about healthy eating, and one of them is that meat shouldn’t be such a huge part of our diet! Ideally, (and I might someday get more into this, but not right now.) meat should be an occasional entree, perhaps once a week or so. Our American diet has us eating meat all day every day, which blows my mind. I’ve not quite been ideal, however, but I have found some good ways to enjoy healthy food, while keeping it hearty and satisfying.
Tonight we hosted David’s parents and little sisters for our family dinner night since they’ve only just moved back into their house after some major house repairs were done. I opted to serve something fairly easy to compile, (yay crockpots!) and not all that expensive (yay vegetables/Sprouts Farmer’s Market).
So here’s my recipe for Vegetarian Chili:
1 Cup chopped onion
1 Cup chopped carrots
3 Cloves fresh crushed garlic
2 Cups chopped bell peppers
3/4 Cup chopped celery
1 1/2 Cups chopped mushrooms
1 Can diced tomatoes (with liquid)
1 Can kidney beans (with liquid)
1 Can whole kernel corn (without liquid – makes it too sweet)
1 Can black beans (with liquid)
1 Can great northern beans (half liquid)
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1 1/2 Tsp oregano
1 1/2 Tsp basil
1 Cup Salsa (I prefer medium to add a bit of spicy)
Salt to taste.
This recipe serves 4. I roughly doubled it tonight to serve the 6 of us, and we had about a bowl and a half leftover.
I like to sauté the fresh veggies in a bit of olive oil with the garlic and seasonings to get started, and then add them to all the canned goods in the crock pot to let cook over a few hours, but if convenience is the goal, then it’s (almost) as good to just throw it all in there without the step of sautéing and let it cook entirely that way. Cook on high in the crockpot for 3 hours. If you don’t sauté the veggies first you’ll want to tack on another 30 min at least. Those carrots can be a beast to soften up thoroughly!
I also use whatever is available. Basically any kind of beans work, so I use whatever is in my pantry at the time. On the seasonings I don’t really measure them out, but just eyeball it. That’s the joy of cooking vs baking! No need to be strict! I personally like to add a little extra of all the seasonings, since I enjoy strongly seasoned food, but it all comes down to preference here. Proportions can vary depending on what you enjoy. Serve with some Mexican blend cheese and cut up Avocado on top. It never hurts to add in some tortilla chips too. I found this recipe online somewhere last Fall and it’s been a staple since then. I’ve made some changes to the original recipe I found, but not huge ones.
It was a big hit with the Pitman family, and the great part is that it was healthy too! It doesn’t leave you feeling icky at all, like so many of the favorite greasy American foods do. I served it tonight with a basic salad and some honey/butter cornbread on the side. We had a great time, and followed it up with enjoying some select favorite scenes of Robin Williams as the Genie in Aladdin. (We love watching old Disney classics on our hi-def big screen from last Christmas. Ultra hi def blurays on this tv are quite something to behold!)
Sitting here posting this recipe I was struck yet again how much I am enjoying the simplicity of life off of social media. I find joy in so many more things. Simple things. Like vegetarian chili and family time.