OK, so everyone loves Chili right?! But we’re on a low meat diet, so how do we make Chili without meat? Well, we start with lots of vegetables. For this one I used onion, garlic, celery, broccoli green peppers, cauliflower, jalapeno, corn, and brussel sprouts. You can use any mix of vegetables you want, this is just what I have on hand. Please let me know if you have some good ideas for other veggies to throw into the mix!
Here’s the recipe in it’s entirety, we’ll go over the details later:
- 1 16 oz can of tomato paste
- 1 32 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 medium bunches of broccoli, chopped
- 1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped
- 2 ears of corn, cooked and kernels removed
- 10-15 brussel sprouts, quartered
- 3-4 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 C cooked black beans
- 4 T chili powder
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp cayenne
- 4 C vegetable broth
- 1 16 oz can pineapple, blended
Lets get off on the right foot, and let everyone know that we’re not perfect, and all of this cooking is about experimentation So you’ll see something odd in this ingredients list! Pineapple? Why would we put that in chili? Simple explanation 2 tsp of cayenne and 1 jalapeno was too hot! We did some research and found that adding sour or basic ingredients to a recipe can decrease it’s spiciness We had a can of pineapple sitting around and decided to try it. Not only did it cut down the spice significantly, but it added a really neat flavor to the chili! I’ll be tempted to use some every time in the future.
Now lets get started! The first thing we need to do is prep the corn. I used two ears of corn, but if you want you could just use canned corn. I boiled it first, and remove the corn kernels from the cob. To boil the corn, simply bring a pot of water to a rolling boil (one that you can’t stir down), and drop your corn in. Let it cook for about five minutes. We don’t want to cook it too long because we’re going to have it sitting in a pot of chili for an hour or so later. We just want to get it done enough that we can cut it off. The corn will turn a nice yellow color when it’s ready.
Use a cutting board and a nice sharp knife. Hold the corn by the stem and, and run the blade down the length cutting the kernels off neatly. They will probably come off in sheets, and this is fine – they’ll break up later in the chili. Once you’ve got this done, set them aside until later when we add everything else into the big pot.
One of the most important things in cooking vegetables - cook the onions first! Onions are good, but cooking them up in a little oil first makes them fantastic. So first things, dice up your onion, then put just a small amount of oil in the pan (a dollop the size of a quarter is sufficient). Get the pan to a medium heat, too hot and you’ll burn the onions. Then toss in the onions, and stir them every few seconds. I usually do this as I’m cutting up the other vegetables. Just in between every few cuts I’ll toss the onions around a bit. You want them to become clear, and have slightly browned edges. After about five minutes, add in your garlic and jalapeno, and cook it another few minutes until they are nicely cooked.
Remove the onions from the heat, and get all the rest of your veggies chopped. Now it’s time to start with the actual chili. We made our own vegetable broth the other day, so I’m using that as my stock (I’ll get the recipe for that up later!) We froze it in four cup bags, so I have to melt it first. If you don’t have your own broth, try looking for low sodium vegetable broth. Don’t use normal broth or bullion these are all loaded with salt. We had to go to an organic store to find sufficiently low sodium broth before we made our own. Once I got the broth all melted I added the the tomatoes in. After that, I got the spices together and dumped them into the juice. Now, if you’re not a fan of hot, you might want to decrease the amount of cayenne by at least half. Also, remember that we have jalapeno in the recipe, and that paprika is ground red peppers (not the hottest ones, but they add a little bit of heat). Get all the spices mixed into the stock really well, then start dumping in the vegetables! I took lots of pictures of my veggies, so here’s just some shots of them, and a bit about how I cut each one.
Broccoli is by far one of my favorite vegetables. In almost any recipe, you don’t have to be afraid to use the stem of the broccoli in addition to the crowns. I just cut off the very end of the stem, since it’s usually a bit dried out. Then cut off the crowns, and cut them down to the size you want. Then just dice up the remaining stem. Don’t worry, even though it’s called a stem, it’s still really good!
Cauliflower works the same way as broccoli except that the stem isn’t as usable. Cauliflower comes with a good amount of leaves around the bottom of the head. Remove these, and you’ll be able to see how the plant branches out from the stem. Carefully cut it away from the stem, cutting as close as you can, then discard the inner most stem (the part the leaves were attached to). The rest of it is usable, and I cut it up similarly to my broccoli.
And peppers! These guys are good, and they have lots of healthy stuff in them too. I start by using a small knife and cutting around the stem area – don’t cut too big of a hole, because you’ll be wasting good pepper that way! Once you’ve got a hole cut around the stem, you can pop it out easily. Then cut the pepper in half and rip out the white areas inside. I say rip, because if you cut them you’re likely to cut away too much and again you’ll be wasting part of the pepper. You don’t have to get all of the white out, just the really spongy stuff. This is also important if you’re not going to use the whole pepper as the white stuff gets moldy first. Once you’re down to just the pepper flesh itself, dice it up however you see fit – I keep mine large and chunky.
Finally you can dump everything into the pot and give it a good stir. This is where you add in the black beans as well. We get ours dry and I cooked them the day before making the chili.
Get the pot up to a nice boil, then reduce it to a low heat. Let the pot simmer for at least an hour, maybe two depending on how soft you want your veggies. If you find that it’s too watery, you can simmer it uncovered for a half an hour or so. This will let some of the water evaporate and thicken up the broth.
If it comes out too hot, try what we did. We put 16 oz of pineapple in the blender for a minute, then dumped it into the pot. After cooking another half an hour, the heat was reduced significantly, and we had a nice tangy flavor in with our veggies.
Finally it’s time to server the chili. We topped it with goat cheese, and some drained goat yogurt in place of sour cream. If you haven’t tried it this way before, I highly recommend it. The drained yogurt tasted fantastic, and there’s no need for you to eat the cow milk in sour cream!
Now go make some chili, and I am sure you’ll love it.