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I first time made this chili I served it to two meat-loving men, who both couldn’t believe that it was vegan. The first recipe attempt was spot-on, and I had to be sure it wasn’t a fluke. Attempt number two is very similar to number one, with some minor changes: changed the type of oil and reduced it from 3 to 2 Tbsp, increased beer from 9 to 12 oz (simply because it makes more sense, and I was making it at 11 a.m. on a Monday, which, even for me, is too early for a drink), corrected an error in the preparation method, increased cooking time. My S.S. preferred this attempt over the first.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, medium dice
1 red bell pepper, medium dice
1 green bell pepper, medium dice
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup textured vegetable protein
2 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
12 oz beer of your choice (use gluten-free beer to make the recipe gluten-free)
1 28-oz can peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 15-oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 4-oz can fire-roasted green chiles
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, soak the textured vegetable protein in hot water. Drain, and then add to the pot along with the paprika, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Saute for 2 minutes.
3. Pour in the beer and reduce by half, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen the bits.
4. Crush the tomatoes and add to the pot, along with the beans and green chiles.
5. Cover the ingredients with water (about 1 quart). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until thick (chili will continue to thicken as it sits).
6. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with sliced scallions (optional).

DSCN0786

The result? Very tasty, not as spicy as last time. Increase cayenne pepper to 1 tsp, but otherwise this one is getting close to where I want it to be!

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3 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, medium dice
1 red bell pepper, medium dice
1 green bell pepper, medium dice
4 large cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup textured vegetable protein
2 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
9 oz beer of your choice (drink the last 3 oz!) (use gluten-free beer to make the recipe gluten-free)
1 28-oz can peeled whole tomatoes
1 15-oz can red kidney beans
1 15-oz can pinto beans
1 4-oz can fire-roasted green chiles

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Saute until soft, about 8 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, soak the textured vegetable protein in hot water. Drain, and then add to the pot along with the paprika, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Saute for 3 minutes, or until fragrant.
3. Crush tomatoes and add to the pot, along with the beans and chiles.
4. Pour in the beer and reduce by half.
5. Crush the tomatoes and add to the pot, along with the beans and chiles.
6. Cover the ingredients with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

photo 2 (1)

1 1/2 cups brown lentils
kosher salt
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise (or vegan mayonnaise)
1 garlic clove
juice of 1 lemon
for assembly and garnish: whole wheat hamburger buns, sliced tomato, sliced avocado, sprouts, arugula, etc.

1. Sift through lentils for debris or rocks. Combine in a medium pot with a pinch of salt and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, partially cover the pot and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Cool.
2. Process oats into a powder using a food processor or spice grinder.
3. Combine lentils and oat powder in a large bowl.
4. Add salt, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper.
5. Mix with your hands until all ingredients are incorporated. Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste.
6. Form patties (this recipe will make about 9-10 large patties) and place on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray.
7. Refrigerate the patties until firm, at least 20 minutes.
8. Combine the mayonnaise with garlic and lemon juice. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
9. Heat oil over medium high heat. Saute the patties until crispy and golden brown, about 2-3 minutes each side.
10. Place patties on whole wheat hamburger buns. Serve with sliced tomatoes, sliced avocadoes, sprouts, arugula, or whatever your little heart desires.

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3 T olive oil
1 onion, small dice
2 stalks celery, small dice
2 large carrots, peeled and small dice
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or substitute with water or vegetable broth for vegan soup)
1 cup red lentils
Garnish options: freshly squeezed lemon juice, chopped cilantro, sliced scallions, Greek yogurt, extra-virgin olive oil, spices (chili powder, cumin, cayenne)…

1. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat and then add onion, celery, and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 6-8 minutes.
2. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
3. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often.
4. Pour broth into the pot and stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any bits.
5. Add the lentils to the pot.
6. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until the lentils are cooked through.
7. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve with garnish options of your choice, depending on taste and whether you are making the soup vegan.

Serve with whole wheat naan or pita bread and you’ll feed 3 hungry or 4 normal(ish) people.

red lentil soup

The best part about this recipe? It gets even better as it sits. Make plenty so that you have leftovers throughout the week.