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Temperatures are dropping. On these cool fall evenings, especially around a bonfire or tailgating at the big game, what could be better than a hot and spicy bowl of chili? Good recipes for chili come in all varieties too; with any kind of meat, beans or no beans, and vegetarian versions! Make it as hot or mild as you like and jazz it up with all sorts of good fresh veggies. The possibilities are endless!

Vegetarian Chili

 adapted from Everyday Food, May 2010

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced medium
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder*
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained (or use dry beans, pre-soaked and cooked according to directions)
  • 1/2 cup diced green chiles
  • 3 cups diced tomatoes 

Directions:

In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and garlic is soft, about 4 minutes. Add cumin and chile powder, season with salt and pepper, and cook until spices are fragrant, 1 minute. Add zucchini and tomato paste; cook, stirring frequently, until tomato paste is deep brick red, 3 minutes. Stir in black beans, pinto beans, tomatoes, and chiles. Add 2 cups water and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce to a medium simmer and cook until zucchini is tender and liquid reduces slightly, 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 6.

Cook’s Note: Many recipes, ranging from chili to salmon dishes, list chipotle powder as an ingredient. The spicy, smoky flavor of chipotle powder comes from grinding up a whole dried chipotle chili, created by smoking jalapeno peppers until they reach a reddish-brown color. If you can’t find it at your local grocery or spice purveyor, you can order it on amazon.com; or try drying and smoking your own (instructions here)!

Healthy Tip: Using fresh ingredients instead of canned when possible may take some additional time, but it is well worth it in terms of flavor and health benefits. Try the pinto beans from Silverthorn Farm in this recipe instead of canned beans for great silky texture and to eliminate the extra sugar, salt, and chemical additives you find in canned foods.

Whether you prefer your chili vegetarian, or carnivore-style, here are some great recipes that use plenty of healthy fresh vegetables from the Market and lean free-range, grass-fed meats too!

Pork & Pinto Bean Chili

Real Deal Chili

Harvest Beef Chili with Pumpkin

Zucchini Chili

Turkey and White Bean Chili

Healthy Bison Chili

photos from Everyday Food (top and center), Martha Stewart Living (left), and Cooking Channel (right)