March 5, 2014

Quinoa Chili

I have a lot of vegan and vegetarian friends. Whenever I feel like cooking and bring the food into class, the vegans always question when they will finally be able to eat something. Well, I can't guarantee I'll be bringing a pot of chili in to AP Chemistry, but this is one of my recipes I refer to as "accidentally vegan." Just like my focacciasweet potato chili, and apple muffins, there are no animal products (like butter, eggs, meat, etc.), but it wasn't on purpose. I didn't set out making a vegan recipe. It just kind of happened.

I think people are afraid of the word "vegan," like it automatically means the dish has weird ingredients and tastes like a blend of health and condescending lectures. That's really not the case, especially in accidentally vegan recipes like this, where you don't miss the animal products because they weren't there anyway. Sure, you can throw some bacon or sausage in your chili, but there is plenty of flavor from the chiles and the vegetables and adequate protein from the quinoa. If you're into the whole stick a fried egg on everything trend (which I will never understand but you do you), I guess you could put one on here, but honestly there really isn't a need for eggs in chili. And while nothing will ever replace the goodness of butter (sorry vegans), oil is perfectly suitable for sauteeing the onions and peppers.

Clearly this recipe is full of vegetables. I start with a base of onions and bell peppers, which are cooked with some garlic, chiles, and spices. There's a fair amount of heat in the chili, primarily from the habaneros, roasted green chiles (which I found at Trader Joe's but I'm sure they have elsewhere), and the chiles from the canned tomatoes. If that sounds a little too spicy, you can reduce or remove any of the three, using plain diced tomatoes for some or all of the diced tomatoes with chiles. Other than that, there's two kinds of beans, some corn, a handful of scallions stirred in at the end, and of course the quinoa. I happened to have red and plain quinoa, so I used a mixture of both, but really any will work. It cooks in the juices from the vegetables, mainly the tomatoes, which can run a little low sometimes, so that's what the vegetable broth is for. I add it if there isn't enough liquid to cook the quinoa or if the chili just looks a little too thick. After all, it's packed with vegetables, making a delicious and hearty dinner for omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans alike.

1 Yellow Onion, Diced
2 Bell Peppers, Diced
6 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1-2 Habaneros, Minced
1 T Chili Powder
½ tsp Cayenne
1 4oz Can Roasted Diced Green Chiles
3 14.5 oz Cans Diced Tomatoes with Chiles
1 15 oz Can Black Beans, Rinsed & Drained
1 15 oz Can Red Kidney Beans, Rinsed & Drained
1 15 oz Can Corn, Rinsed & Drained
1 Cup Quinoa
½ Cup Vegetable Broth
4 Scallions, Chopped

Heat some oil over in a large pot. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and habaneros and cook until fragrant and the onions are tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the chili powder and cayenne and season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the green chiles, tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, corn, and quinoa. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked through, adding vegetable broth as necessary. Remove from heat and stir in the scallions.

Serves 8
Recipe Adapted from Kraft

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