I think I have this love/hate relationship with chili. I've tasted bad ones, and I've tasted really terrific ones. I used to think that all you had to do to make chili was mix some beans with tomato sauce and chili powder, but I've found chili like that to be sorely lacking something to make it hit the spot. Lots of times I've tried out various recipes, and discovered that what really makes a chili hit the spot is lots and lots of vegetables; the specific vegetables used is less important. Here is a recipe I've made a few times recently. The addition of the allspice adds a richness to the chili, making it a real winner. I especially like that this chili is made with sprouted lentils- in this weather, I'm finding that lentils sprout very, very quickly, and once sprouted, the lentils are much more easily digestible than they usually are, and cook even quicker than they would otherwise. You can use unsprouted lentils for this, you just may need to adjust the cooking time, and possibly add more water.
I like to serve this chili over cornbread or rice, or wrapped in tortillas.
I tend to make this in the pressure cooker so it cooks much quicker. With no pressure cooker, you can do it in a regular pot, jut the cooking times will be a bit longer.
(Best part about this for me is that all the vegetables I used in this are vegetables I got for free at the farmer's market, making this a dirt cheap meal.)
4 cups water
4 cups sprouted lentils
1 cup chopped celery, stalks and leaves
2 cups cauliflower parts (florets, leaves, and stems)
2 cups tomato paste
1.5 teaspoons salt
2.5 teaspoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons chili powder (I use my homemade mix)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon allspice
1-2 tablespoons sugar or honey (optional)
1. Chop up onions and carrots into small pieces.
2. Put water with onions and carrots in a pot, and cook until the carrots are soft.
3. Add the celery, sprouted lentils, and cauliflower parts chopped small. Cook until they all are soft.
4. Add the tomato paste, salt, garlic powder, chili powder, and allspice (and sweetener if using). Mix well, then cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Instead of the cauliflower parts, feel free to use any other seasonal vegetables, like diced zucchini, fresh tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant.
You can also use precooked beans in this recipe, like navy beans, black beans, or chickpeas. Just add them after the vegetables are all cooked, but before adding the tomato paste and spices.
Do you usually make your chili vegetarian or with meat in it? What type of legumes do you add? Are there vegetables in your chili, and if so, which ones do you add? What spices do you use in your chili? How do you like to serve yours?
Do you think you'd end up trying this variation?
Linking up to Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Simple Lives Thursday