Autumn leaves, cooler air, and football signal it’s time for scarves and comfort food. But many fall favorites are fatty, high in calories, or lack the nutrients our bodies need to thrive. With a few healthy adjustments, though, you don’t have to give up the hearty foods you crave this season.
Instead, try plant-based versions of recipes like this delicious chili. By substituting a variety of veggies, beans, and aromatic spices, you improve its nutritional value without compromising on taste or that satisfying, stick-to-your-ribs feeling served up with every bowl. Even the most devout meat eaters will thank you and ask for seconds.
And while we know you’ll appreciate the disease-fighting benefits of this meal (a diet rich in veggies is known to reduce the risk of cancer, heart problems, diabetes, and obesity), we think you’ll love the chili because it’s easy, fast, and there’s only one pot to wash after dinner.
Vegetarian Chili That Meat Eaters Will Love
*Serves 4 people
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 large organic green bell pepper, chopped (red, orange, and yellow make great substitutes)
- 1 organic onion, chopped (we use white, but red works too)
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced (adjust the quantity based on your preference for heat)
- 2 cans (15 oz. each) organic beans of choice (pinto, black, and/or kidney recommended)
- 1 can (15 oz.) organic diced tomatoes, juice retained
- 2 cups organic vegetable broth
- 2 Tbsp. of cumin
- 2 Tbsp. of chili powder
- 1 Tsp. of oregano
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional garnishes: fresh cilantro, scallions, avocado, shredded cheese, and/or Greek yogurt
1. In a large pot, over medium-high heat, drizzle enough olive oil to coat the bottom of your cookware. Sauté minced garlic, stirring to make sure that it doesn’t brown. Then add the bell pepper, onion, and jalapeño peppers, cooking until the onions are translucent.
Tip: If you have other veggies like zucchini, carrots, or corn that you want to use before they spoil, you can easily toss them into the mix. This recipe is highly adaptable based on what you have stocked in the pantry. Simply extend cooking time and sauté until the veggies are tender but not browned.
2. While the vegetables are sautéing, drain and rinse your beans until the water runs clear. Set to the side.
3. Next add your spices to the vegetables, stirring until all are coated.
4. Combine the beans, tomatoes, and vegetable broth with the sautéed vegetables in the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer on low for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and cover the pot in the last 10 minutes to reduce evaporation depending on how thick or thin you want your chili.
Tip: If you want to skip the canned organic tomatoes in favor of vine-ripened ones, chop 2 cups of tomatoes while trying to preserve their juice. Add extra vegetable broth if needed to compensate for reduced liquid levels.
5. Serve and top with cilantro, scallions, sliced avocado, a pinch of cheese, or a small dollop of Greek yogurt (an alternative to sour cream) if you desire.
6. Enjoy with a crisp kale salad!
Planning a party or want enough leftovers for the week ahead? This chili’s flavor is actually enhanced when you store it in the fridge, so it’s a great recipe to make in advance.