Since Spiro and I have been eating a vegan diet for about 2 months now, I've been coming up with vegan versions of some of our favorite foods. It's quite amazing how versatile legumes (beans) are. I am not kidding you – we've been using chick peas in place of tuna salad and egg salad. I make them the way I would the traditional salads and you really can't tell the difference. Well, we love chili and gosh, just like chick peas (garbanzo beans), you can do so much with black beans. I've even made brownies out of them. It took me a while to grasp that concept but they came out great. The cool thing about this recipe is you can either whip it up on the stove, or throw it all in a crock pot and leave it for a good 6 hours until you're ready to eat it. So here's my recipe for black bean chili. Enjoy!
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup chopped sweet peppers (you can use green bell if you want, I buy mini sweet peppers and use those)
1 32 oz. can crushed tomatoes (I've been buying the organic diced tomatoes at Costco instead of crushed, the crushed is more like a sauce, so it blends in more, so if you don't like chunky, stick to the crushed)
1 6 oz. can tomato paste (Costco sells this organic too)
1 bag black beans, rinsed and soaked over night
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed (Only if you're doing stove top, otherwise, use bagged)
2 Tbs. Olive oil (if you're cooking on the stove top)
Now for the chili seasoning, you have a choice, you can either purchase a pre-made chili mix and throw it in the mix, or you can make your own.
2 Tbs. chili powder
1 Tsp. onion powder
1 Tsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tsp. cumin
1/2 Tsp. turmeric
1 Tsp. corriander
1 bag frozen corn (optional)
1 Tsp. sea salt (I use himalayan pink)
Freshly ground pepper
Water (probably 1 – 2 cups if you're cooking on the stove and about 5/6 if you're using a crock pot)
Heat your frying pan on medium/high heat. Once heated, add oil and let that heat up for about 30 seconds. Add the onion and peppers and sautee until the onions are almost translucent, add the garlic and stir another minute. (If it starts to get dry, you can either add a little water, wine or beer – I usually throw in some beer). Once the liquid is gone, throw in the beans, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, corn and chili seasoning, stir good and reduce to medium. If it's too thick, this is where you can start adding the water until it's the consistency you like. Let it cook for about another 20 minutes and you're good to go.
Preparing Your Beans For the Crock Pot Method:
You will have to soak your beans. This helps soften them up. It also helps remove some of the starches and phytates (which gives us gas). You also have the option of soaking them the during the day, so that you can prepare your chili at night for the following day. It's up to you, but either way, make sure you soak them at least 8 hours.
This is good if you want a meal ready when you get home from work. If you have a crock pot where you can remove the bowl portion, you can put everything together the night before (except the beans) and put it in the refrigerator. The cool thing about this? Just throw everything in the crock pot (minus the water) and stir it up. At this poit add in about 6 cups of water and stir it up again. It should be a bit liquidy, like the consistency of soup. If it's still a bit thick, add in 2 more cups of water. The reason that you're adding so much water is to allow the beans to cook. If you throw all this together the night before, just place it in your refrigerator until morning. Place the crock pot on high (for about an hour if you can) and then lower to low (or medium if you have a medium setting). Let it cook 6 to 8 hours and you're good to go.
NOTE: Now, if you are going to be home and want to use the crock pot with canned beans, you can, but it will only take a couple of hours. Any longer than that, your beans will get mushy.
I like to serve my chili on romaine lettuce leaves and top it with diced avocado, salsa and vegan sour cream. You can also just have a great, big bowl of it. Either way, enjoy cuz it's super yummy and good for you.
P.S. You can double the batch and freeze it in one cup containers. It freezes up nicely. Then you have a great grab and go!