Meatless Monday’s: Vegetarian Chili
It was on a leisurely beach vacation with my family back in 2009 that we all made the decision to eat less meat. We had been skirting the issue for awhile, but as we sat around sipping wine and picking at the last of the paella, the subject of factory-farmed animals came up.
After reviewing the facts, we realized we could no longer do nothing. That night we all started down slightly different paths, but our goal was the same: buy less meat so that we could afford better meat.
My younger daughter and her now husband eventually became serious locavores. Since they buy from local farmers (and pay dearly for it), they naturally eat less meat. My older daughter and her husband frequently cook vegetarian–vegan too–and my husband and I made the decision to eat meatless a couple of days a week.
It’s easy to make a big decision on vacation, but eventually you have to make good on it. Back home I served up vegetarian pizza the first night, meatless stir-fry the next. “Now what?” I thought. Taking meat off the plate left a pretty big hole!
Fortunately I knew what to do. Back in 2000 I had written a book called How To Cook Without a Book, my solution to the weeknight dinner dilemma. Most recipes derive from a technique or formula. If you can internalize them you can, in fact, cook without a recipe.
The same rules apply to meatless cooking, so I did my homework and came up with a new set of techniques and formulas for the days we don’t eat meat–pizza, pasta, stir-fries, soups, stratas, galettes, pot pies, quesadillas, tacos, bean and grain salads, and more. And whenever I serve these dishes to my meat-loving Midwestern husband, he nearly always responds, “Didn’t miss the meat in that dish.”
Now I’m cooking as confidently on the meatless days as the days I enjoy meat. It’s not hard. You just need to internalize a few formulas, so that you can create your own “recipes.” After that I promise you can head to the farmer’s market, open your fridge, or peer into your CSA box and know exactly what you’ll be making for dinner.
Celebrity Dish with Pam Anderson: Vegetarian Chili
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 14.5 ounces canned petite-diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion large, diced medium
- 1 bell pepper color choice is yours, diced medium
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin ground
- 1 teaspoon oregano dried
- 31 ounces canned black beans drained
- 31 ounces canned hominy drained
- 3 garlic cloves large minced
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate
- 1/4 cup cilantro fresh chopped
- Microwave broth and tomatoes in a microwave-safe container on high power until steamy hot, about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a Dutch oven or small soup kettle over medium-high heat. Add onions and peppers; sauté until soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin and oregano: sauté until fragrant, a minute or so. Add beans and hominy along with hot broth mixture. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender and flavors have blended, about 20 minutes. Stir in garlic, chocolate and cilantro; simmer a couple of minutes to blend flavors. Turn off heat and let stand a few minutes if there's time. Adjust seasonings and serve.
You can find Pam’s site here: ThreeManyCooks.com.