Are you a Superbowler?
I mean, are you really into football? Or do you just wait for the commercials?
Be honest…your secret is safe with me.
I actually love football (you can read all about how my love for this game all started in this post I did a few years back about my Game Day Chili – which is always a hit!) … but I’m not gonna lie …. now that we can use the google machine to watch the half time commercials, I’m a much happier person.
I can hear all you Americans saying, “Use google to watch commercials?” Yes, we get different commercials here in Canada (which are getting better, but, y’all, they used to be so lame!) so we have to use the ‘world wide web’ to see what y’all are seeing in real time. Imagine my life before google? The struggle…
Anyhoooo, let’s get back to game day grub. There is lots of food we associate with Game Day.
Wings, beer, nachos, pizza, and the all-time winner, chili.
There ain’t no kale salad on this table (well, I most likely will sneak some in, but don’t tell anybody). With all the fixings, chili con carne with all the toppings makes for the perfect meal where everyone can serve themselves.
But, back to the kale salad. Why is there such an aversion to healthy food? What if you have guests (okay, maybe not in 2021 but next year for sure) who don’t eat meat? Or, maybe they eat meat but they are starting the year on a healthy path? Or maybe they actually LIKE lots of veggies in their chili.
I confess that I fall into that last category. Even if I make chili con carne, I usually throw in some spinach or other veggies that I have in the fridge because I think it just adds so much and also lightens the dish a wee bit!
So instead of just telling you guys to add more veggies to my Game Day Chili, I thought I’d create a fully vegan dish (before the toppings) and explain why all of the ingredients are important to create a hearty bowl of goodness!
Here are just a few of the health benefits of this chili and its ingredients:
- It is loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Thanks to the red peppers, onions, hemp, red and black beans, chili powder, and tomato sauce.
- It is rich in Antioxidants. The credit goes to the onions and red peppers.
- Even without the meat, it still has protein. Beans offer added protein and for even more protein, make sure you add the hemp and top your chili with Greek yogurt.
Why I Add in These Ingredients:
- Hemp. This is my secret addition to making this chili higher in protein and extra thick because it absorbs the liquid as it cooks.
- Beans. I’m using two different of types giving this chili a different texture profile hoping to mimic the meat that isn’t in this dish and different nutrients. I used red kidney beans and black beans, but feel free to sub in white beans, pinto beans, lentils or whatever you have on hand…and they load up this dish with fiber.
- Jackfruit. This canned ‘fruit” is what vegans have been using for so long to make things like vegan “pulled Pork” (you can eve try your hand at it here!)
- Toppings. Greek yogurt (if you’re vegan, use a non-dairy sub…I find yogurt is a good balance to the spiciness), avocado, chips (homemade tastes best), cheese (or a vegan alternate), cilantro/parsley and more.
- Beer. I think it gives regular chili a good flavour profile so I thought I’d add it here too. Also, who doesn’t want beer on game day, amiright?
Additional add-ins if you want to change it up:
- Sweet Potatoes. The sweetness of the potatoes is an awesome pairing with classic chili spices, giving it a nice balance. You could even add mashed sweet potatoes to give the chili a thicker texture.
- Spices. Chipotle would give the chili a touch of smokiness, and it’s a dream pairing with the natural sugars in the sweet potatoes.
- Honey. To balance the acidity of the tomatoes. If you prefer you can add honey instead of the balsamic
Lots to think about right? Lots of options for game day grub but I think it’s nice to know that you can have a healthy (and hearty) option too!
So, if you’re cleaning out your fridge on Saturday and find some veggies hanging out there, you can most likely whip this up for Sunday’s game.
Unless, you’re not a superbowler.
If you think a superbowl is just a really fancy toilet that cleans itself, then you might want to make a kale salad…
Hearty Vegetarian Chili
This vegan chili (if you don't count the toppings) may seem daunting (like, lots of ingredients) but most of them come from items that should be in your pantry already, plus vegetables! It still tastes great after a few days in the fridge so it makes great leftovers, too.
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium red onion chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper chopped
- 2 medium carrots chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 796 ml can tomato passata or whole tomatoes, crushed
- 2 156 mL can tomato paste
- 4 cups vegetable stock or beer (or combo of both)
- 1 cup salsa
- 1/3 cup hemp seeds
- 2 540 mL cans black beans, rinsed and drained 15 ounces
- 1 540 mL can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained 15 ounces
- 1 550 mL can jackfruit shredded (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley plus more for garnishing
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- Garnishes: chopped cilantro/parsley sliced avocado, tortilla chips (for homemade see below), sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, grated cheddar cheese, etc.
In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery and salt. Stir to combine and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 7 to 8 minutes.
Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika and oregano; stir and cook for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes (and their juices if using whole tomatoes), the tomato paste, vegetable broth/beer, salsa, hemp, the beans and the jackfruit (if using). Stir to combine and let the mixture come to a slow simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low and continue cooking (and stirring) for 30 minutes.
Remove the chili from the heat and add the parsley, vinegar and lime juice.
Divide the mixture into individual bowls and serve with garnishes of your choice. This chili will keep well in the refrigerator for about 4 days or you can freeze it for about 4 -6 months.
For the best texture and flavor, transfer 1 1/2 cups of the chili to a blender, making sure to get some of the liquid portion. Blend until smooth then pour the blended mixture back into the pot.
If using a slow cooker, follow instructions above and, after adding all the ingredients in step#3, place the contents of the pot to a slow cooker and cook on high for 2 hours.
If using an instant pot, make the recipe in the instant pot instead of the heavy-bottomed pot (using the sauté function) and after step #3, cover the instant pot (seal) and cook the mixture on manual (HIGH) pressure for 8 minutes. Immediately release the pressure, then open the Instant Pot; serve hot with desired toppings, and ENJOY!