Vegetable Chili

A meal without meat isn’t a meal. That’s what some people profess. But there are probably just as many others who believe in just the opposite. For me, there’s room for both.

I like meat just as much those who can’t do without it. But I also am fond of a good vegetarian offering.

To carry that a bit further, there are those who say that chili isn’t chili without meat. I certainly like chili that’s loaded with meat, be it ground or in chunks. But I also like one sans meat.

Just the other night, I made a chili that contained all the usual ingredients and substituted textured vegetable protein (soy) for meat. And the result was totally delicious.

Here’s another vegetarian chili, courtesy of Linda Gassenheimer, food writer for the Miami Herald. Her chili uses hominy, a grain that native American Indians introduced to the colonists. It is dried white or yellow corn that has been soaked or boiled to remove the hulls and is sold canned or dried; hominy gives her chili an interesting texture. The canned version is perfect for this recipe. Frozen or canned corn can be substituted if hominy is difficult to find.

Vegetable Chili
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced (1 cup)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 stalk celery, diced (½ cup)
1 small green pepper, diced (½ cup)
2 carrots, diced (½ cup)
1½ cups red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
½ cup hominy or frozen corn
1½ tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 slices crusty whole grain bread
FOR GARNISH:
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons diced red onion
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a large nonstick saucepan. Add onion and sauté 2 minutes. Add garlic, celery, green pepper and carrots.
Saute 3 minutes. Add kidney beans, tomatoes, hominy, chili powder and cumin. Simmer 20 minutes, covered. Add salt and pepper and taste for seasoning. Add chili powder or cumin as needed. Warm bread in oven for 5 minutes. Slice and serve with chili. Pass bowls of sour cream, onion and cilantro.
Yield: Serves 2.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 429 calories, 17 percent of calories from fat), 8.2 grams fat (2.3 grams saturated, 3.3 grams monounsaturated), 6 milligrams cholesterol, 20 grams protein, 76.8 grams carbohydrates, 21.1 grams fiber, 554 milligrams sodium.

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