Oh-So-Delicious Vegan Chili

Tonight was one of those nights when I was hungry but couldn’t quite seem to gather the energy or inspiration to make a multi-dish meal. After flipping through a cookbook for ideas (*see below*) I happily realized I had everything to make chili. Even better, I had the opportunity to experiment and make my own recipe. This chili turned out to be so good, I had to go back for seconds (and let’s be real, thirds, too!).

INGREDIENTS:

– 1 T Italian Dressing (I used an organic one)
– 1 T extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil
– 1 small onion, finely chopped.
– 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped (or 2 smaller cloves)
– 1 small zucchini, diced.
– 1 jar or 24 oz of tomato sauce
– 1 can or 15 oz diced tomatos
– 1 can or 15 oz garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed.
– 1/2 can or 8 oz black beans, drained and rinsed.
– 1 cup corn, frozen or fresh (use more if desired).
– 1 cup sliced bell pepper, frozen or fresh (use more if desired).

ADDED SPICES:

– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1/4 tsp black pepper
– 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
– 1-3 tsp chili powder, depending on preference.
– dash of parsley
– salt as desired

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil and italian dressing until translucent.
2. Add the zucchini and pour half the jar of tomato sauce over the vegetables. Let this simmer for a couple of minutes.
2. During those few minutes, drain and rinse the black beans and garbanzo beans. Add diced tomatos, both beans, corn, and peppers.
3. Pour remaining sauce over the entire mixture. Turn the heat up to high and let mixture boil for a couple of minutes. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for at least 15-20 minutes, or longer. Be sure to check to make sure that chili is not burning to the bottom of the saucepan occasionally.

COMMENTS:

– Very versatile. Virtually any of the ingredients can be substituted, or new ones can be added, without any difficulty depending on your preferences.
– At a total of about $7.00 and considering it makes at least enough for 6 bowls (more sauce or diced tomatoes could be added to stretch the rest of the ingredients, to bring down the price per serving), this recipe is cost effective.
– The cinnamon is a touch that I prefer, because it adds depth to the flavor of the dish. It makes the chili taste warmer, but in a sweet spicy way, not hot.
– If I had other types of canned beans (kidney beans, for example) I would have added those as well. Feel free to use whatever beans you have at home.

*INSPIRATION*:

This recipe is loosely based off of Allyson Kramer’s book,  Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats. Her Pumpkin Chickpea Chili recipe reminded me that I indeed had a long-forgotten can of chickpeas in the cupboard. I was delighted when I realized that I had open cans of diced tomatoes and black beans sitting my refrigerator just waiting to be used up. Her recipe looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it out sometime. I just didn’t have everything necessary this time around. But thanks for the inspiration, Allyson! For those interested in learning more about her, this is her website: http://allysonkramer.com/.

 

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Peppered ginger chicken stir-fry

I am a huge fan of stir-frys and this one turned out very flavorful and well-rounded.
 

INGREDIENTS:

– 1/2 of a yellow onion (a smaller one), chopped

– 1 scallion, finely chopped

– 1 garlic clove, minced*

– 1/4 of an orange bell pepper, chopped*

-1/4 of an green bell pepper, chopped

– 1/3 cup peas (I used frozen)

– 2 small carrots*, thinly sliced

– 2 stalks celery hearts*, thinly sliced

– 1/2 of a roma tomato, chopped

– About 1/2 cup pre-cooked chicken*, cut into small pieces (maybe more)

– 1/2 cup of brown rice*, cooked.

* All ingredients marked with an astrick are USDA-certified organic products. I try to buy organic as much as a possible. (More on this topic in a future post) *

ADDED SPICES:

– 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (if preferred and to taste)

– 1 tablespoon soy sauce, gluten-free.

– 1 tsp ground ginger

– 1 tsp olive oil + 3 tablespoons water, to add to the pan.

– 1 cup water, for rice.

– pinch of salt, for rice.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small pot. Once boiling, add rice and a pinch of salt and cover with the lid. Reduce heat to medium low so that the boil reduces to a simmer. Let cook for about 45 minutes, or as instructed on the package.

2. Place the olive oil and water combination a large pan over medium high heat. Add vegetables. Cook on high for a couple of minutes, adding 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce, 1/2 tsp of ginger, and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to very low, place lid on, and let it slowly cook for 45 minutes, or until the rice is ready.

3. Once rice is cooked, and has set for several minutes, add it to the pan with vegetables. Add remaining 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1/2 tsp of ginger.

PROS:

• Inexpensive. And could be made even cheaper with frozen veggies.

• Versatile. Any vegetables could be swapped for the ones I used. Likewise, the chicken could easily be replaced with beef, shrimp, tofu, etc.

• Great use for leftovers. I used pieces of chicken from a whole chicken that I roasted the night before, and the vegetables that I had on hand.

• Easy. Aside from chopping the vegetables, this recipe takes minimal work.

• Healthy.

• Can be made in big batches.

CONS:

• Takes a long time to prepare.

• Only serves 2. However, could serve more if recipe was doubled or tripled.