Sunday, May 22, 2011

Vegetarian Three Bean Chili

There are a couple blogs I follow that have a clean/whole food focus.  The recipes are usually vegetarian or vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, etc.  I don't follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle and definitely love my protein, but the recipes are so healthy I can't help but make them and share.  Being conscientious in cooking healthy meals just feels good.  It's a blessing for the family.  I like that.

One such blog is Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen.  They offer ultra healthy appealing recipes that are really tasty.  In addition, they focus on providing gluten-free alternatives.  Since my mom was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I try to make more and more gluten-free foods and am finding there are a lot of options available.

Along with following their blog, I also have their cookbook, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook which features over 200 gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free recipes. 

I must warn you though.  If you don't usually cook or bake from clean/whole food recipes and don't stock your shelves with items like xanthum gum, tapioca flour, kombu,  ume plum vinegar, extra virgin coconut oil, etc., it can be a costly venture to begin.  I can guarantee you it's much better for you and your family's health, but there is a cost. 

The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook has a chapter dedicated to stocking your pantry.  It's a great resource.  It lists the item, a description and why it's so good for you.  The learning never ends.

When the Clean Food cookbook by Terri Walters first came out, I was crazy for it.  I still love it!  I would write down ingredients for a couple recipes, run to my local healthy grocery, purchase my items and it was almost always about $50.  If you can, buy spices in a bulk section especially if you only need 1 teaspoon or so.  Buying a teaspoon worth of fenugreek seeds rather than the spice jar full will save dollars.  Spices usually run about $5 per jar and they can really add up.  Another benefit of buying from the bulk section is you're getting fresh(er) spices.  I have some spices in my spice drawer that definitely need to be moved out.  That's another up-and-coming project.

Once you begin to build up a cupboard full of healthy ingredients, it won't be such a drain on the pocketbook.  You'll feel better about what you're feeding your family.  Your family will be happy with delicious meals you're placing before them and they won't even worry about if it's healthy or not.  It tastes great and that is what matters.

This week I made the Three Bean Chili from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre.  Often times when I'm cooking I may make concessions on the ingredients depending on what I have on hand here at home.  No need to make another trip to the grocery store if I have something doable here at home.  I made some minor changes to the recipe.  The chili turned out great!  I didn't have dry beans on hand, and didn't have the time to soak them, so I just used organic canned beans.

I'll share what I did at the end of the recipe as an option if you have limited time.*  Note, if you have the time and the dry beans on hand, they're a much better option.  It's more cost effective to use dried beans, and I prefer the flavor of beans I've soaked myself. 

Three Bean Chili

Serves 6 to 8

1 cup pinto beans (dry)
1 cup kidney beans (dry)
1 cup black beans (dry)
8-10 cups water
one 3-inch strip kombu

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
one 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
one 14-ounce can tomato sauce
4-5 cups bean cooking liquid or water
2 teaspoons Herbamare or sea salt, or to taste

1.  Rinse beans and soak beans in a large soup pot or bowl overnight or for at least 6-8 hours.

2.  Drain soaking water off the beans and then place beans back in large soup pot (8-quart) and cover with 8-10 cups of water.  Place kombu in pot.  Simmer beans for 1- 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender and cooked, set aside.

3.  Heat a large stock pot (8-qt.) over medium heat.  Add oil and onions, saute for about 5 minutes.  Do not brown onions, just saute until soft.  Add crushed garlic, sliced carrots, chopped green bell pepper, cumin, chili powder, and oregano.  Saute about another 3 minutes.

4.  Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, bean cooking liquid, and cooked beans.  Simmer 20-25 minutes or until vegetable are tender.  Add sea salt or Herbamare to taste.

* Instead of dry beans I used 2- lg (about 27 oz.) cans organic pinto beans with liquid, 2-14.5 oz. cans organic kidney beans with liquid, and 2- 14.5 oz. cans of organic black beans, rinsed and drained.  I do not use the black bean liquid because of the color.  No need for the kombu if using the canned beans.

Chicken Breast- I love the protein

Three Bean Chili Topped With Chicken Breast

The kids like a little grated cheese on their chili

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