Editor’s Note: Welcome back Wendy of the local blog Wendalicious, to FSC as one of our monthly ‘Community Voices’ Contributors! Wendy brings us a summer bounty recipe for those ‘fall is in the air‘ evening meals and perfect for a packed lunch for the work week that is inspired by diner chilli. For real. It combines many summer vegetables and a myriad of spices with quinoa. I’m ready for one-pot meals of fall & winter, who’s with me? -Christina
The summer is almost over (no whining, please) and with the arrival of autumn comes thoughts of chili! Well, maybe that’s just me, but I’m sure the thought crosses your mind once in a while, too.
I am on a seemingly never-ending quest to create a vegetarian chili that tastes like the chili you get at diners. I know this is probably a futile mission, since the distinctive depth of flavor from diner chili comes from beef and fat, two things that don’t figure into my veggie chili.
What does go into my chili is tons of colorful fresh veggies that can be found in abundance at farmers markets these days – peppers, onions, mushrooms, summer squash – as well as some pantry staples – canned tomatoes, olive oil, vegetable broth, dried herbs, and quinoa. I haven’t yet learned how to can, so I used store-bought tomatoes. Maybe next summer I can use tomatoes that I canned myself – after all, I did attend the FSC Food Swap last week and picked up a copy of “Food in Jars” by Marisa McClellan, who taught an awesome class prior to the swap! I am officially inspired, Maybe I’ll take Christina’s water-bath canning class….
Quinoa makes a great addition to this recipe – it’s a South American grain that’s recently burst onto the culinary scene, and it makes a nice protein substitute for beans. No pre-cooking is needed; just a quick rinse, and dump it into the pot. If you don’t have quinoa on hand, feel free to use a drained can of your favorite bean.
Let’s not get bogged down in the semantics of what “chili” is or isn’t. This is MY version and I am going to call it chili. If you want to call it “ratatouille” or even “veggie stew”, go right ahead.
This chili freezes well, so feel free to make it now and keep it in the freezer until the weather gets a little chillier (get it?). Me, I’m going to eat it now. It makes a great lunch to pack and bring to work.
RECIPE: VEGGIE QUINOA CHILI
Makes six (6) 1 ½ cup servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped
- ½ yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 5-6 mushrooms, chopped
- ½ yellow squash, chopped
- ½ zucchini, chopped
- 1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 6oz can tomato paste
- ⅓ cup quinoa
- 1 cup vegetable broth or water
- 2 tablespoons medium hot chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Saute onion and peppers in olive oil until almost soft.
- Add garlic and saute one minute.
- Add mushrooms, squash, and zucchini, saute until almost tender.
- Add tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable broth, and quinoa.
- Add more water if chili appears too thick (it’s going to reduce more as it cooks).
- Stir in herbs and spices and liquid smoke (if using), adjusting to your liking.
- Simmer on low for 2-3 hours, adding liquid to adjust the consistency to your liking. Adjust seasoning.
Serving Note: Serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt!
Allow to cool before freezing.