If you want to sneak in some veggies for your family, chili’s the way to do it. When I thought about what to prepare for the recent potluck we hosted for Joel’s playdate friends, I knew I wanted to incorporate some vegetables into my dish to sneak in some healthy eats. Chili is one of my favorite ways to do just that since everything gets mixed together, seasoned and served up. This Vegetarian Chili is full of various legumes, veggies and a whole lot of flavor that you won’t miss the beef found in traditional chilis!
Let me just preface this by saying how a kitchen ‘whoops!’ can still result in a flavorful dish. The original recipe I was going for involved kidney beans. I had dried kidney beans to work so I diligently soaked them a couple nights before. I guess I had a brain fart because after draining the soaked beans, I immediately threw them into the crockpot with all the other ingredients and let it cook away. Several hours later, I checked on it and yep… I screwed up – big time. The kidney beans were still crunchy and that was when I realized I should have boiled the beans before using in the recipe. Whoops!
So I started all over again and without any kidney beans this time around, I scoured my pantry for alternatives. What I had was lentils, garbanzo beans and white great Northern beans. In they went and while I was in the pantry, I thought some pumpkin puree would add a nice balance to the heat… so that went in too.
Finally, it was time to check on it and yes! It came out better than I could have expected… and even my husband loved it! The guy that scrunches up his face at most healthy dishes actually liked enough to have it for lunch 2 days in a row. That my friends is a sign of a healthy recipe winner!
recipe adapted from The Best Make-Ahead Recipe by Cook’s Illustrated / America’s Test Kitchen
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, minced
5 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can lentils, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-ounce) can white great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-ounce) can super sweet corn, drained and rinsed
Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the onions are softened and lighly browned, 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer the onion and tomato mixture to the slow cooker insert and stir in the remaining ingredients until evenly combined. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado or your favorite garnishes.