Mama Says Eat More Veggies!

Vegetable Market Okay, I have not always listened to Mama, but I have come to appreciate the health value of adding more vegetables to my diet.   I have also discovered that we need to choose these vegetables with the...

Vegetable Market
Vegetable Market

Okay, I have not always listened to Mama, but I have come to appreciate the health value of adding more vegetables to my diet.   I have also discovered that we need to choose these vegetables with the most color for the best health results.  Dr. Joel Furhman, author of “Eat To Live” and a major cheerleader for the Nutritarian lifestyle/diet names the G-BOMBS that we need to include in our daily diet for healthy results.   Per Dr. Furhman, G-BOMBS are is his acronym to remember the most nutrient-dense, health-promoting foods.  These foods should make up a significant proportion of your diet and should be enjoyed every day.  Here is the decoding:

G – Greens

Raw leafy greens contain only about 100 calories per pound, and are packed with nutrients.  Ideas here include Kale, Spinach, Collard, Turnip or Beet Greens.  Cabbage or Napa Cabbage are choices too along with salad greens.

B - Beans

Beans (and other legumes as well) are a powerhouse of superior nutrition, and the most nutrient-dense carbohydrate source.  These beans can include:  pinto, black eyed peas, garbanzo, navy, split peas, black beans or lentils.

O – Onions

Onions, along with leeks, garlic, shallots, and scallions are all included in this category.

M – Mushrooms

The friendly fungi.

B – Berries

Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are true super foods. Naturally sweet and juicy, berries are low in sugar and high in nutrients – they are among the best foods you can eat.  Remember the color mantra.

S - Seeds

Nuts and Seeds contain healthy fats and are rich in a spectrum of micronutrients.  Almonds, cashews are great choices along with flax and chia seeds.

Here is the link to Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s website:  How to Live for Life.   http://www.drfuhrman.com/default.aspx

Not every recipe will use all ingredients, but I can promise you this Vegetable Chili served with a side salad could be a home run!

This recipe is an adaptation from one found on Food.com authored by Alan in SW Florida.  He originally found this recipe in a magazine and it had become a family favorite.   I remember this recipe, or something every close to this, in the 1990’s from a Winter Pot Luck where we were all charged to bring Crock Pot Dishes.   The woman who created this Chili was a very established cook and I had requested many of her recipes over the years.  When she noted I must try her Veggie Chili I must say I had second thoughts of this experiment, but she had yet to steer me wrong.  The bowl far exceeded my expectations, but I could not put my finger on the unique flavors of the pot.  In addition to many more spices than the norm for Chili, she noted the secret ingredients as raisins, red wine vinegar, cashews and a beer.  Now that I enjoy a meatless diet, this is a favorite with so many unique flavors and textures.

Vegetable Chili
Vegetable Chili

Vegetarian Chili

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 entire stalk of celery, dice the ribs
  • 3 peppers - one yellow, one red and one orange for great colors and flavors.  I do not use green peppers in this dish
  • At least 2 – 3 yellow onions, diced, I will often use a 4th to balance these veggies
  • 6 – 8 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of dried oregano, crushed (You can substitute an Italian blend for these two spices as well, crush between the palms of your hands to release the flavors)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil, crushed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon allspice (do not omit this!)
  • 4 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 3  - 15.5 ounce cans of beans, rinsed and drained, my favorites are black eyed peas, black beans and garbanzo beans.  Kidney, northern and pinto beans are also options.
  • 3  or 4 – 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes.  I prefer Hunts Fire Roasted varieties.  I usually cut this back to 3 cans of tomatoes to my taste.  Do not drain these.
  • ½ cup raisins (I know this seems like an odd addition, but I can promise you these add some great balance)
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar (Trust me on this one, again a great balancing flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon bottled hot sauce like Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 12 ounce beer

Garnish options:  cashews and shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

In a 4 – 6 quart Dutch Oven, add the oil and the vegetables in the onions, celery, peppers.  Cook over medium to medium high heat about 8 minutes, then add in your garlic and cook until all are close to tender.  I prefer my veggies with a bit of a bite, so I do not like to overcook at this stage.  Then, bloom the spices with these vegetables adding your salt, pepper, sugar, Italian blends, chili powder and all spice.  You want to cook this about 4 – 5 minutes to release the spices.  Then to this pot, add your beans, tomatoes, raisins, red wine vinegar, hot sauce and bay leaves.  Bring this Chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for about 30 minutes.  If this is too thick at this point, I might add a ladle of Vegetable Stock, but remember you will be adding a beer in the final stage.  I like this Chili thick and chunky. Then add in the beer and simmer for another 30 minutes.

BEST if made a day ahead and then reheated.  Keep the bay leaves in the pot if you are resting this overnight and remove these before serving.

Again, garnish with cashews.  I do not add these to the pot as they lose their crunch and I like the variety of texture in this Chili.

Add shredded cheddar cheese if desired.

Enjoy a bowl full of filling and nutritious Chili without the meat, but missing none of the flavor!