Family-Style Meatless Chili

By Mairlyn Smith

Heart-healthy, antioxidant-rich beans teamed with lentils, onions, red pepper, spices, and tomatoes, all topped with healthy fats from the avocado and a little bit of cheese for kids old and young — this is a recipe for health. This isn’t a spicy chili so it’s the perfect kid-friendly dinner. If you want to give it a kick, add some hot sauce at the table.

Makes 8 cups (2 L) | One serving = 1 cup (250 mL)

6 large cloves garlic
one 19 oz (540 mL) can black beans
one 19 oz (540 mL) can red kidney beans
one 19 oz (540 mL) can lentils
1 Tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
2 onions, diced
2 cups (500 mL) frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 Tbsp (15 mL) chili powder
1 Tbsp (15 mL) dried oregano leaves
2 tsp (10 mL) ground coriander
2 tsp (10 mL) ground cumin
1 tsp (5 mL) dried basil leaves
¼ to ½ tsp (1 to 2.5 mL) cracked black pepper
1 whole roasted sweet red pepper
one 28 oz (796 mL) can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce

Toppings (per serving):
2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped avocado (⅛ avocado)
1 Tbsp (15 mL) shredded cheese of your choice (optional)

For the chili, mince the garlic and set aside.

Tip the cans of beans and lentils into a large colander set in a clean sink. Rinse them under cold running water until the water runs clear. Set aside to drain.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil, then the onions, and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Add the corn and sauté until the onions and corn turn a darker golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. This step adds a really fabulous flavour.

While you’re waiting for the onions and corn to do their thing, mix together the chili powder, oregano, coriander, cumin, basil, and black pepper in a small bowl. Set aside. If using a bottled roasted pepper, drain and chop the pepper. If using a fresh roasted pepper, remove the seeds, then chop the pepper.

When the onions and corn are the right colour, add the red pepper and garlic, and sauté for 30 seconds.

Add the spice mixture and sauté for about 30 seconds. You should be able to smell some fabulous aromas.

Stir in the tomatoes, making sure you scrape up all the little browned bits stuck to the bottom of the saucepan to prevent the chili from burning. Add the beans and lentils and Worcestershire sauce. The chili will look really thick but don’t worry; as it cooks it will become more liquid.

Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you’re not in a hurry, simmer the chili for another 15 to 30 minutes; the flavour will be even better. Best of all, simmer the chili for a total of 60 to 75 minutes, then let cool and refrigerate overnight.

Serve the chili in deep bowls, and sprinkle each portion with the cilantro, avocado, and cheese (if using).

Per serving: 282 calories, 5.9 g total fat, 0.7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 299 mg sodium, 46.9 g carbohydrate, 12 g fibre, 7.4 g sugars, 14 g protein

Diabetes Food Choice Values Per serving: 2½ Carbohydrate, 1 Meat and Alternatives, ½ Fat


Give It a Twist!
If you aren’t in the “I love cilantro” camp, substitute either fresh parsley or basil. The recipe needs the sweetness of herbs as a finishing touch.

Glam It Up!
You can dress up Family-Style Meatless Chili three different ways:

1. Nachos for One: On a large plate spoon 1 cup (250 mL) hot Family- Style Meatless Chili over 10 unsalted whole-grain tortilla chips. Top with 2 tbsp (30 mL) light sour cream, 2 tbsp (30 mL) mild, medium, or hot fresh salsa (from the deli), and ¼ cup (60 mL) diced avocado (see page 25). Dig in.

2. Use the chili to fill Mexican Jacket Potatoes (page 60).

3. Use the chili in Quickie Quesadilla for One (page 62).

Recipe courtesy of Whitecap Books. To read the review for Healthy Starts Here! please click here.