November is here! We all need ways to simplify as we face the holidays before us. Along with the lists, shopping and merry-making comes the need for easier ways to keep ahead of meals. Chili can be just the bill to keep everyone satisfied – and there is an option for all. If you’re looking for a meaty chili, check out Susan Benton’s sassy version of Chili Con Carne at 30A Eats. But if you have a vegetarian or vegan in the household or are just looking to cut back on meat once in awhile, try this one: you may never go back!
A vegetarian since 2012, I’ve tried all sorts of ways to create a rich chili that doesn’t sacrifice taste and texture. The mix of beans, chilis and sweet potatoes in this version balance heft and hotness – and you probably have most of the ingredients right in your pantry, ready to go.
Taking a shortcut with high quality canned foods means that this chili comes together quickly. I like to serve it with a little freshly grated cheddar (optional, if you’re vegan-izing) and a slice or two of avocado if I have one on hand. It also freezes well for a quick weekday meal, so you can stay focused on all the fun times ahead.
Yield: 6 generous servings
- 1 medium sweet potato, skinned and diced into bite-size chunks
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion
- 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
(Note: This garlic rocker is amazing if you need one.)
- 1 jalapeno pepper, de-seeded and diced
- 2 tsp chili pepper
- 1/4 tsp chipotle pepper powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1-2 turns cracked black pepper
- 1 can (14.5 oz) Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes, drained if necessary; do not rinse
- 1/2 small can (4 oz) of Muir Glen organic tomato sauce
- 1 small can (4 oz) Hatch fire roasted mild green chilies, diced; drain and rinse
- 1 can (15 oz) Westbrae Organic Chili Beans, drained if necessary; do not rinse
If these aren’t available, you can blend your own version of black beans, pinto beans and kidney beans, or select your favorite single-bean option.
- (Optional) 2-4 oz beer (lager or IPA), if you have one on hand. It’s always a good excuse to crack one open, right?
- (Optional) Shredded cheddar cheese and sliced avocado for serving
- Place diced sweet potatoes in a microwave safe bowl with 1-2 Tbsp of water. Cover with a microwave safe plate or silicone lid. Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. if not fork-tender, microwave a minute more. (Do not overcook). Drain and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil on MED-HIGH in a cast iron Dutch Oven or large sauce pot. Sauté the diced onions and diced jalapeño pepper until the onions start to become translucent. Add the minced garlic and stir.
- Add the spices (chili powder, chipotle pepper powder, cumin, oregano, cracked black pepper). Add salt if you wish, though I find that the added salt in canned products are sufficient. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and mild green chiles. Stir.
- Add the beans. Stir.
- Add the sweet potatoes. Stir.
- Reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beer (optional) and stir. Let simmer for another 10 minutes to evaporate and condense the liquid.
- If you can, let the chili rest for 1-2 hours, then reheat and serve. OR serve right away if needed – the flavors meld better with a little rest.
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