Thirty Minute Thursdays: The Chili for "Veg-Heads" that even the "meat-heads" in our lives will love!

Chili is, perhaps, the greatest dish ever invented, and it’s perfect for the kind of weather dampening the mood outside my window. It’s grey, cold and wet, and quite frankly, nothing much sounds better to me right now than a pair of comfy sweatpants and a nice, hot bowl of chili. It’s comfort food turned healthy (well, usually – the way I make it, it is!). It can be spicy to add a different kind of heat to warm me up, and it’s really filling. To me, you can eat it any number of ways – with cornbread or without, with a dollop of greek yogurt or not, piled high with cheese and toppings, or bare bones and beautiful.

The recipe I have for you today is definitely spicy, definitely filling, and beyond satisfying. It doesn’t have too many toppings, though you could certainly add them – just a sprinkling of tortilla chips for crunch and, though I didn’t think to do this at the time, a dollop of greek yogurt to cool your taste buds down just a little bit with each bite. That’s all this meal needs. It’s also vegetarian, which is really how I prefer my chilis anyway. I’ve had some fantastic turkey chilis, some phenomenal beef ones, but in the end there’s something so great about a bowl of beans and vegetables in a thick, tomato sauce. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, you can definitely get behind this one. And, as the top of the recipe indicates in Rachael’s notes section – the leftovers only get better, which is so true. So make this, make a lot of it, and enjoy every bite. In the margins of this recipe I wrote GOOD! – capitals, underlining, and all. There’s no reason to be shy about how much I enjoyed this dish. Rachael Ray, you certainly hit it out of the park with this one!

Chili for “Veg Heads,” adapted from Rachael Ray’s Classic 30 Minute Meals
Yield: 4-5 servings

The Ingredients
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
32 ounces (no salt added) crushed tomatoes
14 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed well
14 ounces red kidney beans, drained and rinsed well
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
several healthy shakes (8-10) of hot sauce
1 cup spicy vegetarian refried beans1
sliced scallions, for garnish
tortilla chips, for garnish or dipping
Plain greek yogurt, for garnish

The Method
Place the oil in a medium-large saucepot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and peppers, sautéing and stirring for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 more minute, then pour in the broth, scraping up the debris from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the liquid by half, cooking 2-3 minutes, before stirring in the tomatoes, beans, seasonings, and hot sauce. Once heated through, mix in the refried beans to thicken.

Serve chili topped with coarsely crushed tortilla chips, sliced scallions, and a dollop of greek yogurt.

1Quick tip! Make your own – it’s so easy, ridiculously cheap, and super healthy, plus you can add whatever spices or ingredients you want. I used a recipe that I found at GNOWFGLINS.


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