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Simple Vegetarian Chili for the Soul

Soup for me is a winter essential. I eat it for lunch regularly, and when I'm not eating it for lunch, I'm making up batches to serve for dinner with bread, still warm from the oven, which I liberally dunk into my bowl. If I could, I'd probably start eating it for breakfast as well, but I think I'd miss eggs and toast.

This winter with it snowing every other day and then dropping below zero on the off days – okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much – I find myself craving chili, but not the typical vegetarian chili that's laden with zucchini and dressed up with corn or mushrooms. I want a chili to eat daily, but one that doesn't taste like vegetable stew impersonating chili.

This vegetarian chili variety is the kind that looks exactly like my regular beef or steakhouse chili would, just without the steak. It's thick and held together with two types of beans and spiced up with a jalapeño and a bit of cayenne, more if you like it hot, but it's just runny enough that you could dip a piece of bread in it and it would soak in and stick to it. It's a chili that I can happily sit down to lunch with.

 

Simple Vegetarian Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tomatoes, diced

2 jalapeños, seeded and diced

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin

½-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 cups canned crushed tomatoes

2 cups vegetable broth

3 cups kidney beans, cooked

1 ½ cups navy beans, cooked

Salt and pepper

 

In a 5- or 6-quart stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add in diced onion and bell pepper and sauté until the onions are transparent, about 7 minutes. Add in garlic, stir and then add in the tomatoes and jalapeños. Add in chili powder, cumin and cayenne. Cook for 3 minutes. Pour in crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth and both types of beans. Simmer over low heat for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve however you like your chili: topped with cheese, sour cream, diced onions, fresh cilantro, whatever's your personal favorite.

 

Photo by Shaina Olmanson


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