The new year is upon us, and I, like many of you, am trying to bounce back from the holiday season into a more normal and healthier routine. Unfortunately, the unusually cold weather we have had the past couple of days has made me crave something comforting and warm, rather than a cool, crisp salad and a lean protein, which is my norm. I decided that a bowl of chili was what I needed.
Typically, I make chili using lean ground turkey, but decided instead to make a vegetarian chili. My goal, was to make the dish as hearty as my normal chili, but to amp up the nutritional value and keep the fat to a minimum. In addition to the veggies and beans in the chili, I used a product that Chef Nancy introduced me to from Trader Joe's called Soyrizo. It is a soy-based chorizo flavored protein. Typically, I am not a huge fan of meat substitutes, but this soyrizo has a nice texture and great flavor. My family did not even know that it was not real chorizo sausage.
The chili tasted great the first day, and even better the second time around, once the flavors had a chance to mix and mingle in the fridge overnight. I topped the chili off with a sprinkle of 2% cheddar, non-fat Greek yogurt, cilantro and chopped scallions. This is a mild tasting chili that should appeal to all palates, but if you are like me, try it with a splash of your favorite hot sauce. Try making a batch for dinner this week or save the recipe for a Superbowl party. Enjoy all the warming comfort, without all the guilt.
Comforting Vegetarian Chili:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 12 oz package of Soyrizo, removed from casing
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 15 oz cans, red kidney beans,drained and rinsed
2 15 oz cans, pinto beans,drained and rinsed1 28oz can, fire roasted tomatoes, diced
1 12 oz bottle of light beer, I used Miller Lite
Non-fat Greek yogurt, optional
Shredded 2% cheddar cheese, optional
Chopped cilantro, optional
Hot sauce, optional
Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat and add onion and peppers. Stir until softened, but not browned, about 3-5 minutes. Add Soyrizo to pan and stir to break up the mixture into crumbles. Add spices and stir to combine, before adding the beans, tomatoes and beer. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about and hour. Serve in individual bowls with desired garnishes. Serves 4-6.