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Vegetarian Chili

Serves six (using human sized portions), 300 calories per serving, like 17 grams of protein and 1,200 of potassium, plus more vitamin C than you need in a day. Cost per serving, with all ingredients bought from Whole Foods, works out to be about $3.

I am poor at following instructions, particularly while cooking. So, while I am a good enough hack chef (that is, give me spices and ingredients and I can make you palatable-to-good food), and I'm usually a cook for camping trips, I've never been able to master kitchen cooking. While this hasn't been a problem due to the fact that I'm still really freaking young, I want to learn how to knock out a few recipes for once I'm off living on my own. I also want to go vegetarian as soon as I can. These two interests lead me to trying out this recipe, and it was great. It's cheap, filling, healthy, and tastes great. Also, it's hard to fuck up, which I appreciate.

 


 

Everything here can be found at Whole Foods, and probably at cheaper supermarkets for lower prices. However, even at Whole Foods (in an expensive town in Taxachusetts) I managed to buy all the ingredients for under 20 bucks. If you're looking to go cheap, buy the non-perishables in bulk and make this multiple times, and don't buy organic if there's a choice. Organic vegetables are largely not worth it for this meal (nothing here grows underground, which is the only time organics will have any dramatic difference in quality versus conventionally raised food) and are actually less sustainable environmentally (if everyone on the planet went organic, we'd be able to feed 4.5 billion humans worldwide - about the same amount as if everyone ate the same amount of meat that the USA did). Also, they're more expensive.

Anyways, here's a list of the shit you'll need:

1 15oz can Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can Black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can Pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
1 red bell pepper, diced. If you like (cooked) red pepper, get a larger pepper. If not, get a smaller one.
1 green bell pepper, diced. If you like (cooked) green pepper, get a larger pepper. If not, get a smaller one.
1 red onion, diced. If you like (cooked) red onion, get a larger onion. If not, what the fuck is wrong with you?
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1/2 tsp garlic powder (NOT garlic salt)
1/4 tsp (or a bit less) cayenne pepper
A couple splashes of soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp regular paprika
A little olive oil - I used a teaspoon, but enough to coat a saucepan

Now, onto the cooking.


To prep, drain the canning liquid away from all of the beans and wash them. The canning liquid will make you shit yourself worse than just eating this many beans will. So, please, be thorough while washing your beans. Your family will thank you.

Also, dice the peppers and the onion. My family has this little handheld machine which is like a manual food processor, and it was amazingly helpful, as I suck at dicing vegetables. If you have the same problem, you may also be able to MacGuyver something with a food processor or blender, used for a very short period of time.

Pour everything except for the things you just diced (that is, everything but the peppers and onion) into a pot. I used a skillet that had a lid, but almost anything that will be deep enough to hold all your ingredients at a boil will work.

Now sautee the peppers and onion together at medium/medium-high heat in a saucepan with a little olive oil. This should take something like five minutes. Once the vegetables have started to brown somewhat, take them off the heat and crank that burner up to the highest it goes. Put your pot onto the heat, pour the sauteed vegetables into the pot, and stir the pot so that everything is evenly mixed. Once mixed, let the chili boil, then reduce the heat to medium/medium-low. Let the chili simmer for thirty-plus minutes (thirty is required for it to be considered "done", but I'd say cook it for like thirty-five minutes minimum), stirring every five minutes. Two ladles makes for one serving of chili, and (if you live alone) you don't have to cook dinner again for a week!

You can throw anything into this that you would put in a regular chili - chips, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, meat (if you really feel the need) - but it's also great on its own. I managed to get a woman whose idea of a "perfect meal" is "steak, steak, steak, milk, and steak," and who prides herself on her brutal honesty, raving about a vegetarian option.

Also a note about this being hard to fuck up: I put in a teaspoon, instead of a tablespoon, of chili powder, no regular paprika, and a shit ton of caynne pepper, and it still came out fine. Don't sweat the small stuff, as it'll taste great no matter what.

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