Since I can remember, my dad has complained about winters in the midwest–specifically, winter in Chicago–but I never knew what he was talking about until I experienced it myself. It is COLD here, you guys, and this polar vortex isn’t helping. In fact, my mom even sent me a picture from the Asheville newspaper of a man skiing down my street:
Needless to say, I don’t plan on leaving my apartment for the next three months unless I absolutely have to. Anyway, enough about me, you’re here for the food. I was going to make my first post a pie recipe in honor of my friend Deena, who convinced (read: demanded) me to start this blog, but I didn’t feel like making a pie so I made chili instead. It’s warm and hearty and just what I need while I hibernate until spring comes.
When I cook, I generally just add things “to taste” (a cooking term which just means “put as much in as you like until it tastes good to you”), and the nice thing about chili (and soups/stews in general) is that you can kind of just toss in whatever you want and it usually turns out okay. I put quinoa in mine because Pinterest told me to and because I feel like it’s one of those foods I’m supposed to be obsessed with (being a vegan and all), but you can make this recipe your own. Add pine needles to it for all I care (don’t add pine needles though that sounds gross).
Here’s an approximation of my recipe (and again, feel free to add or subtract whatever you want):
QUINOA AND BEAN VEGGIE CHILI
(serves one person for like a week)
- 2 Tbsp canola oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped (I bought pre-chopped onion because I’m lazy and used about half the package)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced (I buy jarred garlic, also because I’m lazy, and used about a spoonfull)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped into large pieces
- 2 15oz cans black beans, partially drained
- 2 15oz cans red beans, partially drained
- 2 15oz cans diced tomatoes
- 1 package Trader Joe’s ready-to-eat steamed lentils
- 1 4oz can Trader Joe’s diced green chilies
- 1 cup frozen corn (or use canned corn, or fresh, or none at all, whatever you want)
- 2 cups quinoa
- 4 cups water (or however much water your quinoa calls for…)
- Whatever spices you want, to taste – I used salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder
1) Fill a pot with quinoa and water, bring to a boil
2) Once quinoa is boiling, lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until quinoa is firm and all water has been absorbed. Little white spirals will magically appear on the little quinoas. Do NOT ignore your quinoa while it is boiling or it will boil over and you’ll make a mess:
3) Add canola oil to a separate pot, heat on medium heat. Once oil is hot, add onion, garlic, and bell pepper, and saute (move it around in the pan while it heats up) until onions begin to become translucent (about 5 mins).
4) Add beans, tomatoes, corn, and green chilies into the pot, mix well so that all ingredients are combined. Be careful not to drop the cans into the chili:
5) Add spices as you mix, tasting frequently to get the right flavor.
6) Gradually stir in the quinoa, and continue to add spices as the quinoa will soak up some of the flavor. My pot wasn’t big enough to fit all of the quinoa, so add as much as you have room for. Mine looked like this (please excuse weird photo quality, I was playing with the settings on my camera):
7) Cover pot, turn heat to low, and allow to simmer for about 45 minutes (or until your cornbread is done–see below), stirring occasionally. Make sure you stir from the bottom so that the chili heats evenly.
While your chili cooks, you can prepare your cornbread! I used this recipe but took out a few things. I like cornbread with creamed corn because it makes it really moist and delicious. Sorry if you hate the word moist but there it is so let’s just move on.
CORNBREAD WITH CREAMED CORN
(yields approx 9 pieces depending on how big you cut it)
- 1 cup almond milk (or any other non-dairy milk)
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 15oz can creamed corn
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt (I just did about 4 twists on my salt grinder)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Grease an 8×8-in baking dish with cooking spray
3) Combine almond milk and vinegar, let stand for 5 minutes. Sometimes I’m one to skip steps and just add everything to one bowl at the same time, but this one is actually important because the vinegar will cause the milk to curdle after a few minutes:
4) Stir in corn and oil, set aside.
5) In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until your batter is well mixed. Mine looked like this:
6) Pour batter into greased baking dish, place in oven, and bake for 35-40 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when you stick a toothpick in the middle and it comes out clean. Be careful not to get distracted by your phone when you are pouring the batter though or you’ll end up with corn all over your leggings like I did (I mean what, that never happened…).
Once the cornbread is done, you should probably let it cool for a few minutes, but I got excited and only let it sit for like a minute. It tasted SO GOOD with the chili. You can garnish your chili with shredded soy cheese (I use Daiya brand), avocado, salsa, or whatever. Enjoy! And stay warm!!