This chili is a staple at my dinner table. Modified from Joy of Cooking Vegetarian, it’s satisfying, healthy and cheap to make. Honestly, I’m not a huge meat-eater, and I usually lean towards vegetarian and often vegan foods. For my last cookbook club, I was responsible for the entree, and vowed that it would be a vegetarian offering. It was also the same week of my beer bread discovery, meaning I didn’t have the funds to make anything other than what I could with what I already had in my cupboard.
Luckily, like any good hobo, I always have plenty o’ beans, and this recipe is tried and true. Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike are always super pleased, and it couldn’t be easier. I believe one vegetarian who was a bit hungover at the meet said it “saved her life,” well, the chili and Josie’s Cornbread Pudding, which I will discuss next week. For now, on to:
Colleen’s Simple, Cheap and Wonderful Vegetarian Chili
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium/large sweet potato, peeled, and diced small
2 seeded and chopped bell peppers (use any color you like. I usually use green because they are generally the least expensive and offer some color contrast)
1 medium onion onions, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (depending on your taste, I usually go for 3)
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (2 if you really like it spicy)
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
28 oz. tomatoes, canned, coarsely chopped (fire-roasted are especially good), with their juice
1 16 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 16 oz can cannellini beans rinsed and drained
1 16 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups tomato juice, or 2 cups tomato puree with a little water, or 2 tablespoons tomato paste with 2 cups hot water.
Salt to taste
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add sweet potato, bell peppers, onions, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the onions are golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
Add chipotle pepper, chili powder, and cumin. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes, beans, tomato juice, and salt.
Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adding more tomato juice or water if needed, until the flavors are blended, about 45 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Ladle into bowls and serve with sour cream, cheese, chopped cilantro or green onion.