Baby it’s cold outside winter chili!

My favorite winter recipe…

I know my carnivore friends tell me they know they are low on iron when they suddenly crave a burger or a steak. After 37 years of being meat free, my body craves my homemade chili! Packed full of antioxidants and protein, iron and fiber….it’s delicious and  healthy. I don’t stick to the exact same recipe every time, which is a great way to use up extra veggies before they go bad.  I usually make this at least once a month-and yesterday was one of those days. While my kids had heart shaped pancakes for breakfast today, I had a small mug of chili! When it’s 0 degrees outside, anything goes!

I used to stick with staples of carrots and some greens, but recently I’ve become obsessed with parsnips-peeled, sliced and roasted. They add such a nice warm winter flavor and pair nicely when you add white Cannellini beans to the chili! And I always add roasted and cubed Kabocha squash. If you’ve never had Kabocha (also known as Japanese pumpkin), trust me on this. Not only is it a super food packing tons of Vitamins A and C, but it has HALF the carbs of a butternut squash (and 20 fewer calories) with a much richer flavor and denser flesh. It makes a terrific replacement when making “butternut squash” soup and it is very sweet and can literally be eaten just roasted. I even eat the skin (hey, more fiber!). And…some people say it’s an aphrodisiac! Happy Valentine’s Day! Check it out here!

Staples:

Muir Glen fire roasted crushed tomatoes

Knudsen organic low sodium veggie juice

celery sliced

1 large onion diced

Kabocha squash, roasted and cubed

3 cans of Eden organic beans: kidney, black, cannellini, pinto…you choose! (Yesterday I did kidney, cannellini and black beans.)

cayenne

chili seasoning

cumin

cinnamon

salt

Veggies:

parsnips, peeled and sliced

kale

baby spinach

cilantro

Other veggies I have used:

Food is very personal so of course use what you love! In the past I have used zucchini, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower. Most people use red peppers, I’m just not a pepper fan, but if you are they are absolutely perfect in this recipe. And for a nice texture, shredded carrots are perfect.

Prior to starting, halve Kabocha squash and remove the seeds. Roast at 375 for about 45 minutes, until tender (if you overcook it, the skin will automatically fall off. No biggie, just use the squash!). Also peel and slice the parsnips. Same cooking temp, less time. Start checking at 25 minutes. Place the cooked veggies to the side.

In a large pot (I love my Le Creuset) add 1-2 T olive oil, the chopped celery and diced onions. Saute 5-7 minutes until onions are translucent. Add the crushed tomatoes and beans (I do not drain them). Add chili, cayenne and cumin to taste. Add a dash of cinnamon (again trust me on this!). Stir well and add the whole bottle of veggie juice. Using the veggie juice as the base adds so many more vitamins to this chili! (I keep an extra bottle on hand to water the chili down throughout the week as it tends to thicken up)

Add the squash and parsnip and stir well. Add baby spinach and kale…It cooks down so I usually add the whole bag of baby spinach and maybe half of the kale or a small bunch.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 40 minutes. add salt to taste and add chopped cilantro before serving.

This can be served with rice, quinoa or on it’s own. It really doesn’t need a side dish as it is packed with vegetables. Want to spice it up? Shredded Daiya cheese on top and Vegan Gourmet sour cream are both delicious additions! (I try to eat a whole food plant based diet with limited processed foods but sometimes you’ve got to splurge.)

 

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