Can’t-Believe-It’s-Veggie Chili Plus MVK’s *Like* of the Week

I couldn't resist stopping and taking photos of the foliage on my way home. The light was just perfect reflecting off the orange leaves!

I couldn’t resist stopping and taking photos of the foliage on my way home. The light on the orange and red leaves made the colors pop out!

Chili is one of those meals that is so easy to make that you can fix it on a weeknight without a recipe and it can be ready to eat in well under an hour. A little bit of beef with some small beans, onions, garlic, and spices, you can throw everything in a pot and it will always be delicious. But my veggie chilis in the past have been less than mediocre, lacking in flavor and texture. Besides some beans and vegetables, I’ve never been able to make a decent pot. But this is one veggie chili I can believe in! Seasoned with lots of spices, with beans and wheat berries as a “meat replacement,” this chili is one for the books and has convinced me that you can make a good veggie chili at home!

Although the ingredient list is long, you definitely can make this on a weeknight, just don’t do like I did and postpone cooking by 30 minutes because you forgot a critical ingredient and had to run out to the store! The veggies can be prepped in advance and the wheat berries can be cooked early, too. The only change was I substituted one tablespoon of tamari in place of the amino acids, since I didn’t have a bottle on hand.

I noticed the “(Meat) Eater of the House” had seconds so I take that as a resounding thumbs up! Topped with a little bit of cheddar, avocado, red onion, and sour cream, it made excellent leftovers for lunch, and enough to pop in the freezer for another meal!

chili

Can’t-Believe-It’s-Veggie Chili
This recipe first appeared in the October 2015 issue of Cooking Light magazine.

Serves 6 (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups chili, 2 1/2 tablespoons cheese, 4 teaspoons onion, and 2 1/2 teaspoons sour cream)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced peeled carrot
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons unsalted tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, undrained
2 cups water
1 cup lower-sodium vegetable juice
1/2 cup uncooked wheat berries
1 cup water
1 cup lager beer (such as Budweiser)
2 tablespoons liquid aminos (such as Bragg)
1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted kidney beans, rinsed and drained
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and next 6 ingredients (through garlic); sauté 10 minutes or until liquid evaporates and vegetables begin to brown. Add tomato paste and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper); cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Using kitchen scissors, cut tomatoes in the can into bite-sized pieces. Add 2 cups water, vegetable juice, and tomatoes to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat; simmer 30 minutes.

2. Combine wheat berries and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Add wheat berries, beer, aminos, and beans to chili; cook 20 minutes. Serve with cheese, red onion, and sour cream.

MVK’s *Like* of the Week: Candy Corn Cookies
I thought with Halloween just a few days away, I would bring to you one of the most popular recipes I ever posted on my blog for any new readers: candy corn cookies! These tiny sugar cookies are about an inch high in height and are adorable and make lots to share!

Aren't these adorable? And this was cookie sheet #1, so my batch definitely made more than 5 dozen cookies!Candy Corn Cookies
From PBS Food’s Fresh Taste blog, recipe by Jenna Weber

2 sticks of butter, softened
½ cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 egg
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
Red food coloring
Yellow food coloring

1. Cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to beat until incorporated.

2. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to the butter sugar mixture and mix until a soft dough just forms. Remove dough from mixer bowl and separate into three equal pieces (use a food scale to weigh each piece if you want to be exact!). Mix together a little bit of red and yellow food coloring to make orange and then add the orange coloring to one of the dough pieces. Make another dough piece yellow and leave the third plain.

3. Place a piece of plastic wrap or tin foil inside a loaf pan and pat down the white dough inside. Place the orange dough on top (pat down firmly) followed by the yellow dough. Remove dough from pan, wrap up in either tin foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least four hours.

4. When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut 1/4th inch slices down the width of the dough. Continue cutting each slice into small triangles.

5. Place triangles on a lined baking sheet (line with parchment paper) and bake for 6-8 minutes until tops are puffy and bottoms are golden.

Yield: 5 dozen tiny cookies

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13 thoughts on “Can’t-Believe-It’s-Veggie Chili Plus MVK’s *Like* of the Week

  1. A very big thumbs up! I do eat meat in moderation. Except maybe in the case of Chris’s not so secret steak dish and her meatloaf and evil hotdogs… I love spicy chile dishes, especially ones as healthy as this one. I am a want to be vegetarian and dishes like this chile make it plausable. Thank you Chris for making such tasty and healthy meals.

  2. A very big thumbs up! I eat meat in moderation, except in the case of Chris’s not so secret steak recipe and meatloaf and evil hotdogs… I am a want to be vegetarian and delicious dishes like this make it plausible. Thank you for making such wonderful healthy dishes for this very lucky Eater of the House.

  3. Nice endorsement from the Eater of the House. Smiles
    What do you think made this veggie chilli recipe so much better than what you had tried before? Also, any particular place you find all those low salt canned goods? I rarely see low salt beans, sometimes tomato paste. After just reading the report from WHO about eating processed meats and cancer, this sounds like the perfect meatless meal. Thanks Chris.

    • Hi Carol! I think, for me, it was the combination of the spices, plus few beans. The veggie chilis I’ve created in the past, I try to make up for no meat with a plethora of beans. Which, in this case, proves that really isn’t needed! Kidney beans aren’t my favorite, but I had some in the cupboard so I used them, but next time I’ll substitute a smaller bean. I find that most grocery stores have low-salt alternatives in their store brands. I shop at Hannaford and occasionally Shaw’s and both have it. Your store might call it “low sodium,” either way, the same thing. 🙂 Happy eating!

      • Thanks Chris…looking around for low salt but so far two major in the area don’t seem to have them. I’ll chat with the grocery manager. I love kidney beans so that would be ok with me.

      • That’s so odd. I can’t imagine we have them and your large supermarkets don’t! Good idea to chat with the manager, I’m sure you’ll be able to find them. If not, you can still make it, just don’t use extra salt. 🙂

  4. Ok, ok, I’ll try it. Meatless chili just doesn’t sound right, but the way you described it and the fact that you’ve tried others and they didn’t work out made a difference, but what the heck are “liquid aminos”? I see that you subbed tamari, but what is it and what else can you sub?

    • Hi Lisa! I should have explained liquid aminos. Basically, they are a natural MSG, which bring out the flavor in foods. Or the “umami.” Mushrooms have that, but soy sauce does as well. Braggs Liquid Aminos can be a substitute for soy sauce/tamari, so I did the opposite! 🙂 I hope you enjoy if you make this!

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