Mom’s Best Vegetarian Chili

I always try to stay neutral with my favorite season because I think they all bring something important to the table and each have equally enjoyable aspects, you know? BUT I have to say… there really is something special about the fall. I try to play it cool every year, as if I’m not that obnoxious girl that is giddy with the anticipation of cooler temperatures and a change of wardrobe. Nevertheless, I’m the giddy girl. I can’t even deny it. I love getting out my sweaters, my jackets, and my boots. I take pictures of leaves. I buy most any pumpkin-flavored product they put on the market. I eat candy corn. You know the drill.

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The arrival of autumn signals the arrival of the time for all things cozy – mulled wine-scented candles, bonfires, apple cider, and best of all, chili!

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Chili is definitely a “cozy enhancer,” shall we say. It goes well with football games, card games, movie nights, etc. My mother has developed an amazing vegetarian/vegan chili over the past couple of years. She’s pretty much got it down perfectly!

Chili is also a great way to use beans, which are wonderful things! Eric and I always keep cans of black, red, and garbanzo beans in our cabinet because they always make for a quick and hearty meal. If you happen to have the time to make a fresh pot of beans, that’s also wonderful! It just takes a little time.

Beans of any sort:

Soak beans overnight in large bowl of water.

Rinse several times and then put beans in large pot and fill/cover with water (about ½ inch over the beans)

On medium heat, slowly (I mean, slowly) bring beans to a boil.

–       I emphasize slowly because beans boil over easily and make the stinky-est mess ever! You don’t want to have to deal with that on your stovetop, so just be patient.

–       A layer of foam will form on top of the water. If you want to be sure to avoid it boiling over, take a spoon and scrape this foam off and dispose of it.

Once the beans have reached a boil, turn them down to low heat and cover. Let them cook for 1 ½ – 2 hours. Stir occasionally.

Add 1 – 2 tsps of salt when finished.

If you have the time to do this / if you remember to soak your beans the night before, fresh beans are delicious! In the chili I made today, I made the red beans fresh this morning. The black beans and garbanzos I use are from cans. Canned beans will always work equally well for any bean purpose! Especially for chili :)

Mom’s Best Vegetarian Chili (from the kitchen of Sally Bennett)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

3-4 cloves of garlic chopped

1 28-oz. can of diced tomatoes

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp basil or oregano

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp chili powder

1 ½ tsp cumin

½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp salt

2 tsp brown sugar

1 quart of vegetable broth or broth from beans (I prefer broth from beans – so much easier! And don’t sweat trying to figure out whether it’s exactly 1 quart or not. As long as you add all of the liquid from the cans or broth from cooked beans, there will be plenty of liquid!)

2 cups (1 15-oz. can) cooked small red beans

2 cups (1 15-oz. can) cooked garbanzo beans

2 cups (1 15-oz. can) cooked black beans

2 zucchini squash, chopped or shredded

Saute onion, carrots, and red pepper in olive oil.

Add garlic and cook veggies until soft.

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Add tomatoes, tomato paste, spices, broth, and beans.

Simmer for 30-45 minutes (until flavors are blended)

(Please pardon our horribly dirty stovetop)

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Add chopped zucchini and stir.

Excellent served with cornbread.

Delicious with lots of freshly-squeezed lime juice on top.

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Have a cozy evening, folks!

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One thought on “Mom’s Best Vegetarian Chili

  1. Must have been something in the air. I asked Ruth for this recipe on Friday so I could make it Saturday, and she also said she was making it on Saturday! :)

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