Meatless Monday: Smokin’ Veggie Chili!

Today’s Lesson: Eat Your Veggies


Meatless Monday is sweeping the globe, why?  Because going meatless is great for human health, other animals and the environment.  Having just one meatless meal once a week can help reduce a person’s risk of cancer, heart-disease, diabetes, and obesity.  The livestock industry is the biggest producer of greenhouses gases, uses more water than vegetable farming, and uses a ton of fossil fuel energy compared to plants.  For these reasons going meatless for one meal a week, or one meal a day is a great way to improve your health and the health of the planet.

Afraid you won’t be satisfied, or that you can’t get the protein you need?  Well you will and you can, it’s all about the right combinations.  Mushrooms for instance have a very meaty texture and can often substitute for meat, mmmm portabella burger yummm! Combining grains like rice or corn and beans is a great way to make sure you’re getting complete proteins which are found in meat.  You can make everything from chili to stir-fry vegetarian and it will still taste amazing and fill you up.  Rice, pasta and potatoes are also a great replacement for meat because they are so filling.  I love to just roast vegetables in the oven and serve them over rice, or sauté up some veggies and mix in pasta.  When we take meat out of the equation often we find really creative ways of filling that space on our plates.  I like to go meatless a couple times a week at least, just so I’m not as dependent on that source of protein.  I find I get really lazy and boring in the kitchen when I depend on meat to fill half my plate.  So at least for now on Mondays Veg Out!

Smokin’ Sweet Potato Veggie Chili: I love veggie chili it’s filling, warming, comforting and healthy.  You can do so many different veggie combinations so don’t get stuck in a rut, put in whatever veggies you like.  This recipe below came about because it’s the end of winter and I’m trying to eat more seasonally.  Also I didn’t feel like going to the store and this is what I already had in my kitchen.  But it turned out amazing and now I have a new chili recipe up my sleeve.

 What you’ll need

3 12oz cans of diced tomatoes

1 medium onion chopped

1 sweet potato peeled and chopped (FYI sweet potatoes and yams are not even in the same family, and sweet potatoes are much more nutritious than yams.)

1 carrot pealed and chopped

3 garlic cloves minced

2 scallions diced (for topping at the end)

1 ½ cups frozen corn

1 12oz can of kidney beans drained and rinsed, (or add whatever beans you like, black beans, white beans, red or try a combo.)

1/3 packet of Grill Mates Mesquite Seasoning or Any mesquite seasoning. This is where the smoky taste comes from and it’s delicious. (*Note be careful not to add too much, you just want to taste the seasoning but not overpower the chili with it. If you don’t have or want to use this type of seasoning, you can always get a chili seasoning packet, or use a combination of cumin, chili powder, and paprika.)

Add Salt and pepper to taste.

  • In a large pot with about 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil sauté the sweet potatoes, carrots, and onion on medium high for about 5 minutes.  Then add the garlic and sauté another 5 minutes.  Add some salt and pepper to the veggies.
  • Add in the corn and sauté another 5minutes add more oil if needed and turn down to medium.  Once sweet potatoes and carrots feel like they are becoming somewhat tender add in the tomatoes, beans and the seasonings.  Cook for another 5 minutes on medium and then cover and turn the burner down to simmer.  You will cook this for 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.  This simmering time also allows all of your spices and flavors to come together and for the chili to get rich and thick.
  •  I like to chop up some red, white or green onion and cilantro to put on top when serving which adds a layer of brightness and freshness to the chili.  Now enjoy your guilt free meatless Monday meal!

*Other veggies that go great in chili, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, bell peppers, and green beans.  I’m sure there are many, many more options so don’t be afraid to experiment.

*For more meatless information and recipes check out these sites.

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