Vegetarian Chili

This thick and hearty dish is great anytime. Whether it keeps you warm through the winter or you enjoy it on a dog (or a veggie dog) in the summer, it is sure to satisfy. With this dish, most of the work is in the prep. It’s a good one to start early and let simmer on the back burner until you’re ready to serve.

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For this recipe you will need-

  • 1 eggplant, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 scotch bonnet (optional if you don’t like spice), diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes with tomato paste added
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn

 Spices:

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (depending on your personal spice level)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

 To taste:

  • cheddar cheese
  • green onion
  • plain Greek yogurt

 Yield: ~10-12 servings

 *Stefenism: Seasoning at different levels of the cooking process provides depth to the dish’s flavor compared to seasoning all at once*

Step 1: Roasted Eggplant and Sweet Potato (Prep 10 min, Cook 25-30 min)

 Preheat oven to 450°F.

 Dice your eggplant and sweet potato into similar bite sized pieces. I prefer mine in 1/2  inch cubes.

 Once diced, toss in bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of chili powder, and 1 teaspoon of the following: garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and cumin.

 Spread evenly on a sheet trey and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring once about half way through.

 *Stefenism: You don’t need to fully cook them here, as they will cook more in the pot with the rest of the ingredients; rather the goal is to build some additional flavor and texture through the roasting process*

 While the eggplant and sweet potato are roasting, you should begin prepping your other ingredients and cooking the chili.

 

Step 2: Vegetarian Chili (Prep 20 min, Cook 40 min)

 Add the onion (about 1/2 of a medium sized onion), garlic, and Scotch Bonnet to a large pot and heat over medium low heat with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Let that mixture sweat for 1-2 minutes.

Next add a tablespoon of chili powder, and a teaspoon of the following: salt, crushed red pepper (add the remaining teaspoon if you like spice), garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and black pepper. Cook an additional 3 minutes.

 While that is cooking; dice the bell peppers and open the tomatoes and beans.

 After the garlic, onion, Scotch Bonnet mixture has cooked for 5 minutes total, add the bell peppers and cook until soft, about 5 more min.

 Add the can of crushed tomatoes and any remaining spices. Cook for 5 more minutes.

 *Stefenism: If you want a thinner chili, fill the crushed tomato can halfway with water or veggie stock, and add that liquid to the pot*

 Add in the beans, roasted eggplant and sweet potato mixture, and frozen corn. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 25-30 minutes or until ready to serve.

 *Stefenism: You can serve right away or continue to cook low and slow up to 6 hours. Cooking longer will result in a more complex depth of flavor. Cooking for too long can jeopardize the texture*

 For service I like to top with a sharp cheddar cheese, chopped green onion, and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt.