Vegetarian Chili

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Life has been busy, mamas!

I am not suggesting that I’m busier than everybody else and certainly do not like to carry the “busy” label around like a badge of honor but man…things have been a little crazy around here lately!

Besides the usual business of being a full time mama of two (Um, why does it get crazier as they get older? I guess I completely underestimated the trifecta of school, sports and opposite schedules. How do you working mamas do this? And what about all you beautiful mamas with three and more kids? I am completely humbled!), I was sick for most of November which had me realize my limitations as to what I can and cannot do when I’m not at my best. And now that we’re into December, chances are that the pace (not just for me but for all of us!) will pick up even more and probably won’t slow down one bit until we make it successfully through the holiday season. Ho ho ho! 

How can we continue to eat healthy when our schedules are especially hectic? Slow cooker meals!

Meals prepared in the slow cooker are perfect for making in advance, saving you time and effort when it comes to cooking and clean-up. A no-brainer, if you ask me!

So, while you dig up and dust off your good old Crock-Pot let me tell you how easy it is to make this vegetarian chili that my whole family loves! As with most of my recipes, it is vegan friendly and very versatile. You can adjust the spice level to your liking and pretty much throw in any vegetable you have available.

Before you know it, you’ll have a hearty dish that is ready to warm you up as soon as you come home from Christmas shopping or one of your kids’ many activities!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves or garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sweet bell peppers, diced
  • 2-3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cans organic mixed beans (I used kidney, black and pinto; BPA free can if available)
  • 1 cup dark beer
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • Sea salt, cumin, chili powder to taste
  • Red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (optional)

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Instructions:

  1. Turn your slow cooker up to high heat. Add the avocado oil, onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes.
  2. Add the bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, beans, beer, spices, and maple syrup and mix thoroughly.
  3. Cover and continue to cook on high heat for about 30 minutes. Then turn down to low heat and continue to simmer for another 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once the chili is thoroughly cooked, fill into individual bowls and garnish with your favorite topping(s) (avocado, organic sour cream, cheese) and serve hot.

Teachable Tips:

  1. Beans are nutritional superheroes! These inexpensive and versatile legumes are packed with plant-based protein while being low in fat and high in fiber. They offer an array of essential nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (namely copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc) and are known to stabilize blood sugar, support heart health, even lower the risk for certain types of cancer.
  2. When making this chili, I’d recommend you start out with a mild mix of one teaspoon cumin and chili powder each and just a dash of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes, then add more if you like it spicy.
  3. The ingredients listed above yield about four servings. Double the recipe to keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. Reheat as desired for another quick meal.

Enjoy!

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