My partner Beck and I love a steaming bowl of vegetarian chili any time of year, but especially when it’s cold outside. Beck’s easy and healthy vegetarian chili recipe is easy to make and tastes even better left over than it does when he first makes it. I guess you could freeze it, but it never lasts long enough at our house to be frozen.
Chili: The Perfect Cold Weather Dish
There's nothing like a hot bowl of chili on a cold winter day. Just holding the cup or bowl warms my hands to a toasty glow. As I lift the spoon to my mouth and see the steam rise while I smell the spicy aroma of chili powder and tomatoes, my mouth waters.
The taste of Beck's chili lives up to the expectation I feel. Just spicy enough without being overpowering with the right amount of a mixture of light and dark red kidney beans and pinto beans. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Beck makes this chili every couple of weeks from Fall, Winter and the cool days of Spring. I like to eat it by itself and as a spicy addition to a simple salad or over a sweet potato. I'm always thinking of new ways to incorporate this yummy chili into a meal, and I can feel good about it since it's super healthy.
But Beans Give Me Gas! Voila Digestive Enzymes to the Rescue
If you like chili, but beans bother you (as in gives you unbelievable gas like me), then I highly recommend Equate Gas and Bloating Prevention Food Enzyme and Dietary Supplement. I buy them at Walmart, and they’re cheap and effective. Just take one (or two if you’re eating a big quantity of something that gives you gas or stomach discomfort) with your first bite of a problem food.
These enzymes also work for many other foods, including wheat. You can read more about them in my post Gluten / Wheat Intolerance or Enzyme Deficiency?
Lower Sodium and Organic
Beck uses canned beans, tomatoes and bottled vegetable broth or stock in his chili to decrease the prep time. If you're watching your sodium intake, you'll want to use low sodium and /or organic ingredients for these. All of the organic brands I've found for beans and tomatoes have lower sodium content than their non-organic counterparts.
I haven't been able to find the diced canned tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano that are also organic. If you use diced canned tomatoes that plain without the spices, just add an additional 1/2 tsp of basil, garlic and oregano to the pot as a substitution.
Since onions are on the dirty dozen list for pesticides, I recommend to use organic onions. They're becoming easier and easier to find in most grocery stores at a reasonable price.
Make It Yours: Adjust the Spiciness and Add-Ins
Both Beck and I like our chili a little spicy, but not hot enough to burn all the way down. You can easily adjust the jalapenos and cayenne pepper to meet your own spiciness quotient.
While this easy and healthy vegetarian chili is full of fiber with all the vegetables, it doesn’t have enough protein to keep me full for long. I usually add a huge amount of nutritional yeast to mine after I fill my bowl to boost my B12 intake, which always needs boosting, and to up the protein. Nutritional yeast is also high in other B vitamins and trace minerals. Each tablespoon contains two grams of protein. Since I usually have several servings of chili at each meal, and I add several tablespoons of nutritional yeast per serving, I increase the total protein by eight grams.
We also sometimes add cacao powder to the chili to give it a greater depth of flavor. Because we use OMG! Organic Cacao Powder, which is a good source of antioxidants and iron, we also improve the nutritional value of the chili. We like the chili both with and without the cacao powder so sometimes we add it and sometimes we forget. It usually depends on how hungry we are whether we think of it or are rushing to get that first bowl of steaming chili.
Beck's Veggie Chili
- 5 Quart Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- Slow Cooker
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium white onion chopped, preferably organic
- 1/2 large green pepper chopped
- 1/2 large red pepper chopped
- 4 14.5 oz Can diced tomatoes (Basil, Garlic, Oregano) in juice
- 2 16 oz cans pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15.5 oz can light red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1 15.5 oz can dark red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 tsp diced jalapeno peppers
- 1 tbsp italian seasoning
- 1 cup vegetable stock or broth
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp molasses
- 1/2 cup mushrooms coarsely chopped
- Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat.
- Add chopped pepper and onions. Cook about five minutes until soft.
- Add mushrooms and garlic. Cook about three more minutes.
- Add all other ingredients and heat to near boil.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- nutritional yeast (1-2 tbsp per serving) to increase the B vitamins, especially B12, and protein
- cacao powder to taste. The cacao powder will give the chili a depth of flavor.
Nutrition*: Total Fat: 3.3g, Total Carbohydrates: 52.1g, Dietary Fiber: 16.7g, Protein: 14.8g
*For single serving with ingredients listed.