Knock-Your-Socks-Off Vegan Chili

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Last night was quite the windy night in Southern California, reaching over 100 mph in some areas. All night, I kept being woken up by the wind hissing through the trees, items clattering in the backyard, and rain pounding on the windows. Having just watched a horror movie (by myself, as my husband and son slept), it was a bit scary to listen to in the dark. A not so subtle reminder that I should not watch horror movies by myself, in the dark.

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It’s still pretty windy today, and it’s a chilly wind. So when I was outside with Dominik, he kept reacting to the wind with a comical, “Whoa!” I’m not sure how much longer we will have this lovely cool weather before it returns to the usual hot, dry desert climate. We are enjoying every second of it while it’s here.

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The cause of this weather is a mild “El Nino” that’s coming in from the Pacific, which is basically just abnormally wet weather for the region. I remember the last El Nino from 1998. My best friend, sister, and I had the time of our lives that winter. We spent entire days on muddy adventures. A memory that sticks out is the time that the three of us set out into a nearby construction site on a rainy day. It had been raining for days, and halfway across a large dirt lot, we realized that the mud was getting soft, thick, and sticky. And that’s when my friend and I got stuck, our galoshes at least halfway into the mud. We sent my younger sister to get us another pair of shoes or help so that we could head back, but she forgot all about us and decided to eat a snack. Fortunately for her, my friend and I made it back soon after.

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I thought that the perfect blustery day dish is chili, so my husband and I made this together. He’s excellent at combining spices and flavors, so while I handled the cooking and veggies, he made the spice mixture. And, let me tell you, it’s out of this world amazing. I’ve had plenty of vegetarian/vegan chilis, and this one tops them all.

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We like to serve this chili over a grain like brown rice or quinoa with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. But it’s also excellent on it’s own.

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Vegan Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 large carrots, finely diced
  • 1  1/2 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1  1/2 cups strained tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper to make it spicy

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and bell peppers and cook until onions are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and carrot and cook several more minutes to soften carrots. Add the mushrooms and stir well. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes and all of the spices. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes and then add the broth and the strained tomatoes. Stir in the beans.
  3. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  4. Serve with a grain like rice or quinoa and nutritional yeast. Enjoy!

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