YA Vegetarian Chili recipe

I’ve decided recently to focus more on healthier cooking, and with the number of vegetarians and light meat eaters around me have been trying to focus on vegetarian recipes (rather, I should say trying to make them vegetarian or as meatless as possible, but vegetarian first…then add meat back in next time if I feel it needs it).  In this chili, I didn’t miss the meat at all (I think I always say that 🙂 ).  I also experimented with adding carrots to the recipe, maybe next time I’ll do potatoes too.

This is a nice set it up and let it go for awhile recipe, making extensive use of the crockpot and slow cook speed.

The base:

* 1 16oz bag dried Pinto beans
* 1 16 oz dried (I used green) lentils
* 2 dried guajillo chilis
* water (I’m not sure how much quantity wise I used here, but it was about 3-4 times the amount of beans/lentils combined)

Sort/rinse the beans and lentils until the water runs clear.  Add Beans/lentils to crockpot (large), and cover with (about) 3-4x the amount of water.  Add the guajillos chilis to the crockpot.  Turn on crockpot and select the 10 hour slow cooking option.  I set it to cook overnight.  When I got up the next morning (overslept), I found that I needed to add more water (but be careful, we don’t want a soup, we’re looking for more of a thick stew consistency and additions later will add more water).  I added just enough to cover the beans/lentils and stirred the pot after removing the guajillos (I didn’t want them to break up in the beans).  I let the pot stay on warm for another few hours.  Then I began to chili-ize it.

* 1 x 15 oz. Cans of Crushed Tomatoes (sometimes I use the ones with garlic included, sometimes not.  Usually I get organic)
* 2 Green Bell Peppers
* 1 Poblano Pepper
* 1 tbs chopped Garlic
* 20 small carrots cut into rounds about 1/4 inch thick.  Dice would probably be fine.
* 1 1/2 LARGE Sweet Onion (or a few small ones).
* 5-6 shakes Tabasco Sauce (I use the Chipotle Tabasco), or more if you like it spicy.
* 3-4 Tbs Liquid Smoke (to taste)
* 5 tbs Chili Powder
* 1 tbs Ground Cayenne Pepper (or more if you like it spicy).
* 1 tbs Ground Coriander
* Salt and Pepper to taste
* 1 tbs Cumin
* 1 tbs olive oil

Chop the onion and green pepper into small to medium dice, depending on how big of chunks you like.  Cut the carrots into 1/4 inch rounds or dice, again depending on your preference.  One thing I did find was that the larger rounds retained a bit more carrot flavor, which wasn’t exactly the flavor I was going for, so you might want to err on the smaller side.  The carrots add a nice veggie boost, but also retain a toothsome feel so you have something to chew on besides beans and lentils.  Put the olive oil in the pan and begin sweating the onion, garlic and peppers.  After a little bit of liquid was released, I added the carrots, turned the heat down a bit, and put a cover on to let everything steam a bit.  I wanted the carrots still firm, but not hard, and the opnions and peppers cooked a bit.  After about 12-15 minutes, (when the carrots were still firm on the fork, but cooked), I dumped it all in the crockpot.  Add the tomatoes and spices.  Stir to combine and continue heating for another 30 minutes.  Season to taste.  Serve over rice, or standalone.

Since I was experimenting, I was a bit sloppy in my recipe documentation (as you can tell) and I also was missing some ingredients or thought of changes I would make that I will document here:

I was out of the normal canned tomatoes I use, and I only had 1 15oz can.  next time, I would use the same amount I use in my meat chili.

*2 x 28 oz. Cans of Crushed Tomatoes (sometimes I use the ones with garlic included, sometimes not.  Usually I get organic)

Also, since I was doing it vegetarian, I left out the 5 tbs Worcestershire Sauce from my meat chili, since I would consider it non-vegetarian.  I would also add this back in.

* 5 tbs Worcestershire Sauce

I think Cooking the beans/lentils a little bit less, or even perhaps seperately might bee good, since my lentils pretty much disintegrated.  They did make the chili pretty thick though, so it’s hard to say how I’d prefer it.

I think I’d like to try potatoes in a fine dice as well.  They would probably also add a nice toothsome feel and would absorb the flavors pretty well.

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