Recipe of the Month: Hearty Vegetarian Chili

I love to make a huge batch of this chil and save some in the freezer for when I’m too busy to cook.

1 head of garlic, roasted (OPTIONAL)
2 TBSP olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 carrots, scrubbed and sliced into disks
1-2 large jalepeño chilies, seeded and minced
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes (with added puree)
3 cups water
2 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 15-oz. cans kidney or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup bulgur, OR
1 c. Boca or other vegetarian crumbles (OPTIONAL)
2 TBSP white wine vinegar
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 TBSP chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cinammon

Sliced, fresh avocado
chopped black olives
diced white onions
shredded cheddar cheese
sour cream

If you are roasting garlic, do that first. Cut the pointy tops off the head of garlic and set it in a piece of aluminum foil. Pour about a 1/2 TBSP olive oil over the cut garlic and wrap it up tight. Roast in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes; open the top of the aluminum foil and leave in for another 10 minutes. It will smell great! Take it out of the oven and set aside to cool. You can also roast the peppers if you like a more fire-roasted flavor.

Heat 2 TBSP olive oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, red pepper and jalapeños, and sauté until onion and carrots are tender, about 8 minutes.

Add garlic and spices and stir for about another minute.

Add tomatoes, 3 cups water, beans, bulgur (if using), and white wine vinegar. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring often, for about 20 minutes or until mixture thickens and bulgur is tender. If using Boca or other frozen crumbles, add these to the chili, along with the roasted garlic—just squeeze the softened cloves out of their paper skins—about 5-10 minutes before you’d like to serve.

Even though I’ve never lived on the east coast, I prefer my chili “chili mac” style, which means I serve it over a bed of macaroni elbows. Don’t knock it ’til you try it! You could use whole grain, gluten free or brown rice-based noodles if you are avoiding white pasta. You can also add either browned ground beef or shredded chicken to this recipe if you prefer meat in your chili. Eat what you like!

Ladle into bowls and Enjoy,