Recently I started preparing meals for a new vegetarian client of my personal chef business. One of my sisters has been a vegetarian so long I can’t remember her ever eating meat, so I am comfortable making vegetarian food. Of course, I am a complete omnivore who loves her meat, so although I may be comfortable making vegetarian fare, I don’t so it as often as I should. Like everyone else, I get in a rut with my cooking at times, and stick to the tried and true. Especially with a three year old in the house, who is an excellent and adventurous eater, but is still a three year old! Eating a plant based diet has been proven to be very healthy way to eat, so I have decided to incorporate more meat-free meals into my everyday cooking.
My go-to chili is usually turkey chili. I made this vegetarian chili last week, and while tasting and tweaking decided this would be a great recipe to make for my family. It is full of nutritious ingredients, including two types of beans, carrots and barley. And it got a big thumbs up from the three year old!
Hearty Vegetarian Chili
2 TB olive or vegetable oil
1 onion, medium dice
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 TB dark chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans
2 (15 oz) cans black beans
1 (1 lb) package baby carrots or two large carrots, peeled and thickly sliced
1 (28 oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 cup pearl barley
4 cups water
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large soup or stock pot. Add the onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt and cinnamon. Cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes, until the onion has softened. Be sure to use no higher than medium heat so the spices do not burn.
Add the beans, carrots, tomatoes, barley and water to the pot. Stir to mix the ingredients, then bring the chili to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook about 45 minutes, until the barley is done and the carrots are tender.
Serve the chili with a loaf of warm crusty bread or biscuits. If you would like you can garnish the chili with thinly sliced green onions, shredded cheese or sour cream.