Chili is one of those North American dishes that I’m pretty sure most people have tried. I mean, delicious tomato sauce with savory ground meat, hearty beans, and a perfect kick of spice – who could say no to that? It’s also one of those dishes that might seem unhealthy to a lot of people but if done correctly chili can be a really healthy alternative. However, not everyone can eat meat for various reasons, so the trick is to turn this classic into something that’s jam-packed with veggies, and enough beans to give the illusion of meat.
About two weeks ago I got to taste the best chili ever. Now, before you begin to assume my arsenal of past chili recipes must be lacking, let me mention that I’ve judged several trailer park homemade chili cook-offs (where recipe is handed down generation to generation, and love and sweat is added to each meal to enhance the flavour). The fact is that I’ve tasted a lot of chili in my day and can still honestly say that this recent recipe is the best I’ve ever had. Not only did it taste amazing, but it was super healthy too. I got this creation from Samantha Gladish, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, who I had the pleasure of meeting and having her influence my once terrible eating habits. She has chalked this recipe full of healthy vegetables and beans for optimal taste and optimal nutrition. For more from Samantha you can check out her website at http://holisticwellness.ca. I would greatly recommend it. But for now let’s get on to the recipe.
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2-3 carrots, chopped
- 2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2-3 tbsp chili powder
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 28oz can organic crushed tomatoes
- 14oz can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
- 14oz can organic red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
- Avocado and cilantro, to garnish
The beauty of this recipe is that it’s so easy. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sauté onions, carrots, and celery until soft, about 5 minutes. Add cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes and garlic, sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pot with tomatoes. Cook 1 minute, then stir in beans. Bring to a boil, then stir in broth. Cover and cook over medium, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste and serve topped with fresh avocado and cilantro.
For those who think this might not be for them due to the lack of meat please don’t judge until after you tried it. I served this to complete meat lovers and they were overthrown by the hearty deliciousness this vegetarian recipe provides. You’re getting good fats, good carbohydrates, and good protein from this mix that will keep you nice and full, and of course, wanting more! Give it a shot and let me know what you think. Hopefully it will be as tasty to you as it was for me.