Veggie Chili for a Blanket-y Day

Posted by Aarti on October 12th, 2009 . Filed under: Uncategorized .



Sometimes, I wonder whether LA’s bright, sunny weather is wasted on me. I mean, I love waking up to sunshine every day, but nothing makes my heart sing like a grey day.

The past few days have seemed too good to be true: a thick, grey, woolly blanket has landed over LA, accompanied by a gentle breeze that tickles the leaves of the giant sycamore tree outside my window. The blanket deadens the sounds of freeway traffic, intensifies the lushness of any greenery my eye falls upon, forces me to slow down and enjoy the simplicity of blankets and tea. I’m so scared these days will go away; LA weather is so fickle!

The blanket’s arrival coincided with that small span you may or may not relate to: those days/weeks between a dwindling bank account, and the next check. Rather than freak out, I’ve chosen to take this on as a challenge: what can I make for the least amount of money, that will last a few meals, and keep us sated?


VEGGIE CHILI!

Veggie chili is wonderful because it’s packed full of nutrition, but between all those veggies and all that liquid, you fill up FAST. Plus, the longer it sits in your fridge (within reason), the better it tastes. And, since you’re cooking vegetables, it doesn’t have to cook for hours, as its carnivorous cousin does. If you’re scared of cooking, this is a great place to start, because it’s hard to mess up!

So, before I give you the recipe, here are a few thoughts/tips — then you can make your own version. The process of making chili usually goes something like this:

1) Sautee your aromatics in a nice big pot.
In this category, you’ll find: onions, ginger, garlic, carrots, celery, fennel, bell peppers (green, red etc), jalapeno or serrano peppers. Always start with an onion though. You should also throw your harder root veggies in at this point: parsnips, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, turnips, butternut squash etc. Sautee for about 10 minutes in olive oil over medium heat, until the onions soften and turn translucent.
Fill it chock-a-block with vegetables: the more you throw in different textures and flavours, the less you’re going to notice that it’s meatless! Plus, the better it’ll be for you! Save more delicate veggies like cauliflower, spinach and peas until closer to the end, so that they don’t turn mushy.

2) Cheat with chorizo!
Listen people. I’m married to a proud carnivore. We needed something that mimicked that meaty texture, and soy chorizo is awesome for that. I used soy chorizo because the thought of eating salivary glands (which you’ll find in the regular kind) doesn’t always sit that well with me. Ok, I admit my hypocrisy: I’ll eat processed hot dogs with nary a thought about what’s in those.
Hmmmm.
What was I saying?
Oh yeah, the cool thing about (Mexican) chorizo is that it’s already been spiced with paprika and garlic, so it does a lot of the work for you! Plus, it gives you that meaty mouth-feel, fooling your canines and incisors into thinking you’re eating meat. And, it’s packed with protein! Boom! I found it next to the regular chorizo in the refrigerated section at the supermarket, next to the Mexican cheeses, and the cream cheese.

3) Spice it up!
I added chili powder (duh), cumin, ground allspice, and ground ginger, but play around with paprika, smoked paprika, ground coriander, turmeric, worcestershire sauce, nutmeg… You could also add a chopped up chipotle pepper at this point too. Yum, yum. Oh and don’t forget the salt (although if you’re using chorizo, you may not need that much, since it’s usually pretty salty on its own). Also if you like a little sweetness, you can add some honey, brown sugar, molasses, agave or heck, even plain ol’ white sugar will do.

4) Keep it saucy!
I use whole canned tomatoes, and crush them (rawr!) right over the pot; that way you get nice big chunks of tomato. I also dump in all that lovely tomato juice. Some people like to add tomato sauce too, I’m guessing to thicken it up, but I haven’t found I needed it.
In addition to the tomatoes, you’ll need to add more liquid: water, stock or…
A CAN OF BEER! This is my favourite, because its bitterness cuts through all the tomato sweetness. Plus my friend left a six-pack of Simpler Times in the fridge ($2.99 for a sixer at Trader Joes!), and I need to finish it before I get a beer belly.
If you don’t like that idea, just use more water or stock. Just eyeball it — add enough to semi-cover all the veggies. You can always add more if it gets too dry, or boil it off if it’s too watery.
I might try making a green chili next time with smoked tomatillos. Doesn’t that sound good?!

5) Simmer for 30 minutes.
Bring the entire concoction to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer (gentle but steady bubbles on the surface of the chili). Since you’re only cooking veggies, you’ll need just 30 minutes to cook all the veggies through and develop the flavours.
If you’re thinking about adding a grain like white rice to the chili, then about 15 minutes into this simmer time, add a cup of water, bring it back up to a boil, then add 1/2 cup of white rice. Take it back down to a simmer and let it cook for 15 minutes.

6) Bean there, done that
I love beans, but I don’t add a ton because I’m a big fan of the, ahem, consequences. But they’re a great source of protein and fiber, so the more you add, the more filling your chili. Plus they’re so cheap!
And you don’t just have to use kidney beans: black beans, white kidneys, black eye peas, frozen limas, frozen peas, corn, chickpeas and cooked lentils are all great options!
Add them after your 30 minutes have elapsed, rinsing the canned ones under water to get rid of that goopy stuff, and let them warm through about 5-10 minutes. And you’re done!

Phew! I know that was a lot, but I suppose what I’m trying to tell you is, you don’t need a recipe to make chili! As long as you have a onion, some veggies, chili powder, ground cumin and a can of tomatoes, your chili is just 45 minutes away.

Here’s the one I made last night, while we watched not 1, not 2, but 3 movies in a row (I love you, streaming Netflix) but experiment with your own versions!



Veggie Chili for a Blanket-y Day

1 yellow onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 large parsnip, peeled and diced
1 green bell pepper/capsicum, membranes removed and diced
1 red bell pepper, cleaned and diced
1 jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 package soy chorizo, casing removed
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground allspice
28 oz can whole tomatoes
1 can beer
1 15oz can red kidney beans
Lime, cheese and scallions to garnish

1) Sautee onions, carrots, parsnips, bell peppers, jalapeno and garlic about 10 minutes until softened.

2) Add chorizo and sautee a couple of minutes until it smells really good in your kitchen.

3) Add chili, cumin and allspice powders. Sautee about 30 seconds to get the flavour out of ‘em.

4) Add juice from tomato can, then crush each whole tomato with your hands over the pot, leaving them as chunky as you like.

5) Add beer, and much water as you need to almost cover the veggies. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 30 minutes.

6) Drain kidney beans, rinse. Add to chili, and cook another 5-10 minutes until beans are warmed through.

7) Serve, squeezing a wedge of lime over the top, garnishing with scallions and cheese if you wish.



-x-

aarti

26 Responses to Veggie Chili for a Blanket-y Day

  1. Shelby Churchill

    Have you ever thought of adding additional videos to your page to keep the viewers more involved? I just read through the entire post and it was quite nice but since I learn visually, I find videos to be more helpful. I am pleased with what you guys are always coming up with. Keep up the excellent work. I will visit your site daily for some of the latest post.

  2. Frank

    great, that is just what i was searching for

  3. enervis

    Hello, as you can see this is my first post here.
    I will be happy to receive some assistance at the start.
    Thanks in advance and good luck! :)

  4. Elizabeth

    Aarti, good luck on the Food Network Next Star show! My daughter and I have been watching the show and we are rooting for you! You are our favorite contestant. Hope you win!!

    - Elizabeth and Christina (from New York City)

  5. Ranjitha

    Aarti,

    Good Luck on the Food Network Star.. Waiting to watch your Cooking with Indian touch..

    -Ranjitha

  6. Rukmani

    Aarti,

    Good luck. We love you on The Next Food Network Star. My husband and I keep saying you should win the contest. You are our favorite. Cant wait for the next episode.

    I absolutely love your blog. I just started reading. I am a vegetarian. I am hunting for vegetarian recipes.

    Rukmani

  7. Lindsay Jordan

    This recipe looks delicious! I can’t wait to try making it. Also, congratulations on Next Food Network Star, I was rooting for you all the way ;)

  8. Tapati

    Canned hominy is also good. I usually use veggie burger crumbles in my chili but I’ll have to try the veggie chorizo.

    Veggie chili is very forgiving. You can make endless changes so it seems new every time.

    And congratulations on winning! I was pulling for you. I think someone needs to introduce Indian home cooking, so different from the rich stuff in the restaurants, to Americans.

  9. Pinky

    Hi Aarti,

    Congratulations!!..This is the big success…..

  10. Veena

    First of all CONGRATULATIONS to you. I learnt about your website only after watching you on food network. I always wanted to make a veggie chilli, will definitely try your recipe.

  11. Chas

    Going to try this recipe!

  12. Wanda

    I’ve been a big fan of yours on NFNS and watched your new show today. You did great. I found myself just smiling through the whole thing. You made cooking look so fun and easy. I took an Indian cooking class and fell in love with the food, but a lot of the recipes were labor-intensive (understatement). I’m eager to try your recipes–already bought stuff to make the sloppy Joes and kale salad. I’m so happy I found this blog.
    Good luck on your new show.

  13. RK

    You can use ‘hing’ or asafoetida when cooking beans, lentils, green beans, chili (beef) etc..

    Refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asafoetida

  14. RK

    Rukmani:
    For a lot of vegetarian dishes here is a link I use.. http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/index.php

    RK

  15. Anita Prasad

    Hi Aarti,

    First of all, Congrats on Winning the Next Food Star. I watched each one eagerly and rooted for u throughout.
    Am going thru ur blogs now and enjoying ur style of writing which is as delicious and quirky as ur cooking. Since i am vegetarian, am looking for veggie stuff on ur site.

    Wish U success in everything.

  16. Nicole

    I’ve never seen vegetable chili before! I think you’re one of the first! It looks delicious…I think I might try it out (my brother went vegetarian out of nowhere one day–completely cold turkey; and I’ve been feeling guilty asking him to make me some of his meaty chili that he used to make) now I can have my home-made chili-fix together with my brother without the meaty guilt!

    thanks!

    p.s. congrats on making the next food network star! to be honest..I like your blog better than the show because
    1) Aarti Paarti is creatively cuter than Aarti Party
    2) it’s more fun watching “home-videos” because you get in all the laughs and it feels less commercialized in a sense! I hope you won’t become drowned in work, so that you can continue to update your blog and make more recipes at home for your fans! :)

    Good Luck!

  17. Trish

    aarti, i am turning into an indian cook….! (THANKS TO YOU) indian cooking is great fun and the smells are incredible. NOW THE BIG QUESTION…………….WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO START YOUR COOKBOOK? BTW, will you please make a list of basic essentials one needs to have in their pantry to cook indian style and then post it or talk about it on your food network show. i have ordered a masala dabba!! i can hardly wait for it to come in the mail. please help us ” wanna be ” indian cooks stock our kitchen. thank you my little lovely. xo

  18. Aarti Paarti’s Veggie Chili | Wanderlust for Food

    [...] always on the look-out for a tasty chili recipe so when I saw Aarti’s veggie chili recipe on her blog I knew I had to try it! She took a basic chili recipe and elevated it with some Indian spices I had [...]

  19. Caroline

    Aarti, I was rooting for you almost all the way during your competition. And I really love your show! So where are you now? What are you doing?

    Thanks for the veggie chili recipe. Any chance for more vegetarian recipes? Veggie Indian food is becoming my favorite cuisine. Also, vegetarian and vegan eating is becoming so widespread, why ignore that population?

    Whatever you’re doing, good luck!

  20. Mumbi

    Chili’s always “hit – the – spot” no matter the ingredients. I make chili’s even on the hottest days of summer, i enjoy them that much. Probably because of this new topping called Onion Crunch. I just love the texture it gives the soup. If you’re interested: http://www.onioncrunch.com

  21. Cooking for Rabbits » Blog Archive » Veggie Chili for a Blanket-y Day

    [...] Chili for a Blanket-y Day 0 November 21st, 2011Dave & AllisonFood Veggie Chili for a Blanket-y Day by Aarti Sequeira is one of our favorite foods to make. We eat it at least once a month and we [...]

  22. Dave

    We love how liberal this recipe is! We make it at least once a month, and have cheap food for days. We re-posted the recipe on our blog, with pictures, and a link to this site. Great stuff! Thanks Aarti.

  23. Sharon

    I have SOooo many tomatoes still in the garden, so I thought I’d make a chili. You always give me a basis for being unafraid in the kitchen! Instead of beer, I’m going to do wine and will be adding beef and dark chocolate, but other than that it will be this recipe all the way. I’m in line at Trader Joes as I type, and will pick up the rest of the ingredients at Whole Foods. Looking forward to a good warm chili on a fresh fall day using all these tomatoes! Thanks again Aarti.

    Oh, also – seriously: book.
    With you education, culinary skills, ‘stardom’, and connections, it’ll be easy.

  24. nisha

    This looks absolutely delicious!!and the pics are droolworthy too…

  25. Athira

    Aarti,
    We have a Chili cook-off competition at work as part of “cabin fever month”. Being a vegetarian I was wondering how to dish it out without the meat. And voila!! Here is your recipe.
    Thanks bunch!!

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