I don’t envision this turning into a food blog, but I’ve been eating vegetarian/pescatarian for about 5 1/2 years now, and I’ve gotten to the point where I rarely cook with recipes, instead relying on my experience and familiarity with the ingredients I’m using to make things “from memory.”
The thing is… I’ve gotten better as a cook, but I’m not that good. Some of the things I make can be hit-or-miss, since the quantities of ingredients and details of the cooking process are slightly different each time.
So, when I really nail something — which does happen from time to time — I think maybe it would be a good idea for me to write up a recipe, before I forget everything.
Last night I made a vegetarian chili, and was quite pleased with the results. Thus, here is the “recipe” (written up after the fact), mostly so I can remember this later.
Makes about 6 servings. (Unless you’re me, in which case it’s more like 4.)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 red or yellow bell pepper (or 1/2 of each), finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1 28-oz can (or 2 14-oz cans) diced tomatoes (with liquid)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp maple or agave syrup
1 can chili beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
diced fresh cherry tomatoes
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add spices (chili powder, cumin, cayenne and oregano) and stir for about 20 seconds, then add onion, peppers and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add diced tomatoes and their liquid and stir. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Pour in vegetable broth and syrup and return to boil.
- Stir in all of the beans and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low.
- Cook uncovered for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in additional broth if chili is getting too thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Pour into bowls and garnish as desired.
Additional Notes and Suggestions
- Quantities for spices are approximate. (And, honestly, I didn’t measure any of them besides the chili powder.) Adjust to suit your taste.
- “Chili beans” is kind of a nebulous term. I used a can of Westbrae Natural Organic Chili Beans, which is a mixture of pinto, kidney and black beans. You can use any kind of beans, really, although I think white beans are too delicate in flavor for this. But when I think of chili I think of kidney beans or black beans. And honestly, kidney beans in large quantities don’t “agree with me”, so I went with straight black beans for the second can. I know a lot of people make chili with just black beans, but for some reason I find that a little boring.
- Sometimes canned tomatoes have herbs like basil added. Be sure you’re getting plain tomatoes.
- Corn is a nice addition, but we didn’t have any in the freezer last night. Add 1 cup of frozen corn at the same time as the beans.
- This recipe is vegan, but if you eat dairy, you can garnish with sour cream or shredded sharp cheddar cheese instead of (or in addition to!) the guacamole.
- For breakfast the next day, heat up a bowl of the leftover chili and top with a poached egg.