It’s December 31, 2014, New Years Eve!! And we’re sick…boo. Don’t fret! We’re having vegetarian chili tonight! Yaay!!
This vegetarian chili is perfect for this shockingly cold Austin, TX evening. It’ll be 36 degrees by 1AM! Bundle up, people! This dish is great for anyone escaping the elements, and for all of us sick folk it’s chock full of lots of vegetables to help boost our supplements and fight off these colds.
Now, I hear what you’re asking. I hear it through the computer. “But Haley, how can this chili be slightly vegetarian? This defies all logic and reason!” Before you disown me for having uttered such an affront to vegetarianism please allow me to explain.
There was a time in my life when strict vegetarianism ruled my culinary and nutritional choices. Austin is an excellent place for a veg but when presented with options i did not prefer on many occasions I chose to opt out and just not eat. Not the best choice a girl could make. When i kicked up my yoga practice and started rock climbing my body was craving more food and I decided at that time to introduce meat back to my diet in small amounts.
For me, eating small amounts of meat is how I balance giving my body just enough of what it needs so that I don’t over do it and feel heavy and overstuffed. Fortunately, this means I get to eat small amounts of the really good stuff…like bacon!
Many of the recipes I write can be easily transformed into a completely vegetarian dish. To adapt this Slightly Vegetarian Chili replace the bacon fat with Safflower oil, remove the bacon entirely and substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.
Similarly, if the medium to high intensity spice of this chili doesn’t sit well with your delicate constitution (no judgement here!) feel free to remove one or both of the Serrano chilies and the cayenne pepper. On that note, this vegetarian chili won me a 3rd place medal in a chili cookoff! Next year I’m going to try lowering the spice to see if I can take home the gold.
One more tip I feel I must share with you is if you’re fortunate enough to live near and H-E-B Grocery Store I highly recommend you try the H-E-B brand canned Black Beans with Lime and Jalapenos. The are the best black beans I’ve ever had (and no they don’t pay me to say that)!
Slightly Vegetarian Chili
- 7 slices bacon, cooked
- 1 tbs bacon fat
- 2 cups chopped yellow onions
- 2 ribs chopped celery
- 2 chopped carrots
- 1 cup chopped red bell peppers
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 to 3 Serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced, depending upon taste
- 1 1/2 pounds baby portobello mushrooms, stemmed, wiped clean and cubed
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 cans diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 2 cup chicken stock, or water
- 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Cooked brown rice, accompaniment
- Sour cream, garnish
- Diced avocado, garnish
- Chopped green onions, garnish
- Cook bacon. Reserve fat.
- Heat 1tbs bacon fat in large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Saute onion, bell pepper, garlic, serrano, celery, carrot, and mushrooms until soft. season salt and pepper. add chili powder, cumin, cayenne. Saute10-12 minutes, add more bacon fat if mixture seems dry.
- Add tomatoes, sauce and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer 35-45 minutes or until reduced by half or more (as desired).
- Adjust seasoning. Stir in beans and cook until heated through.
- Serve with rice, cilantro, sour cream, avocado, green onion on the side.