Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Three Bean Chili

 I've never been too much of a chili person. Maybe it's because I'm not a fan of super spicy foods. Or maybe it's because traditionally, chili is made with lots of meat. But I figured I would try out a nice version of chili that I might like. And while I wasn't jumping for joy with a new found love for chili or anything after making it, it hit the spot on a cold night. And I was loving the toppings.
Oh, beans. What would I do without them? Full of fiber, protein, antioxidants, and flavor, they're an under appreciated food. People always will ask me where I get my protein since I'm a vegetarian and I stay away from processed soy products and fake meat anything. Well, besides from a load of other plant based sources of protein out there, I consume a fair share of beans. I always use dried beans because I prefer their texture and flavor, plus they're way cheaper. The important thing about preparing dried beans, however, is soaking them overnight, even up to 24 hours, in a warm place. This deactivates phytic acid, an anti-nutrient in beans and grains, that causes digestive upset. Soaking also makes nutrients in the beans more bioavailable and absorbable. So make sure you soak those beans!

Three Bean Chili
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped finely
5 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 jalapeno pepper, de-seeded and chopped finely
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans
1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons stoneground mustard
1-2 teaspoons sea salt (season to taste)
water or vegetable broth as needed

Toppings: avocado, cilantro, cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes, chopped jalapeno peppers

1. In a large pot, cook onion in olive oil and a pinch of salt until soft and translucent. Then, add the chopped garlic and jalapeno and cook for another 30 seconds.

2. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, spices, mustard and stir well to combine. Add water or broth to your desired thickness and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add sea salt to taste. Be sure to season well with enough salt, especially if you used dried beans. Plus, the salt helps bring out the flavor of the spices.

3. Serve and top with your choice of toppings.

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