In my new book, Walking with Peety, the Dog Who Saved My Life, I describe transitioning from a man who didn’t know how to do more than boil water or use a microwave to an accomplished vegan chef. Starting at 340 pounds, my first attempt at cooking set off the fire alarms in my apartment. Then after finding a naturopathic doctor who coached me about how to achieve my ideal weight and health on a whole food, plant-based diet, my weight dropped to 185 pounds in less than one year.
Some keys to my success, in addition to unconditional love from an adopted shelter dog, were the recipes provided by my new doctor, who taught me how to cook and encouraged my progress in weekly meetings. In chapter 5 of my book, I describe my first experience making rice and beans, from a recipe provided by my doctor:
I finally took the lid off the Crock-Pot and I could not believe how amazingly rich and tantalizing that rice-and-beans concoction looked. OK, maybe I was just starving. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. And I still thought of it as a side dish, not a main course, but all of the spices that were just sort of scattered on the top had magically blended down into the rice in that pot, and the aromas that filled my apartment were matched by this wonderful reddish-brown color, and a weighty, sticky texture that clung to my wooden spoon as I dished it onto my plate.
I put a forkful of it right up to my nose and savored the scent of it up close, one last time, before I finally put it in my mouth. The taste was so amazing that I actually closed my eyes and chewed it in slow-motion ecstasy.
How to Make Plant-Based Slow Cooker Chili
Even before that first bite, I knew just from the look and smell of this dish that it was going to be an instant favorite. What many of us can’t tell about this meal just on sight? It is entirely cholesterol free. Take a look at the nutritional information included in the recipe below and see for yourself.
Plant-based diets are naturally 100% cholesterol free. Any food grown from the earth has absolutely zero cholesterol. This was one of the most thrilling things I learned when beginning my plant-based journey.
But what about protein? This is often one of the biggest reservations people have about plant-based diets. Fortunately, protein insufficiency is also a misconceptions about a plant-based lifestyle.
Take another look at that nutritional information. See how much protein this recipe packs, both with and without brown rice? There are plenty of natural, plant-based sources of protein in this recipe alone. Moreover, these plant proteins may help control blood pressure and blood sugar spikes. Sounds like a win win to me!
This is the same recipe, which I still make weekly and have tweaked continuously through trial and error over the past seven years. I may be biased, but in my opinion, this is the simplest and most delicious recipe for spiced beans that you can make from scratch. I prefer to make mine in a slow cooker. You can use a pressure cooker to cook unsoaked beans in 25-30 minutes versus the longer process I describe below, but experience has shown me that beans come out best using this slow cooker method.
If you prefer to cook the beans while at work, I recommend cooking on low for 8 hours. When you get home, drain the liquid and stir in the remaining ingredients.
If you’re like me, convenience is important. In that case, dice all the veggies ahead of time. Add the spices and tomatoes, stir, cover, and refrigerate until you get home. Lastly, add the veggie mixture to the drained beans, stir and cook on high for 1-2 hours.
This recipe makes a lot and is perfect for freezing. Allow the chili to cool before storing in mason jars and freezing for later.
Be sure to check back often, as I will be sharing more of my delicious plant-based recipes on SkinnyMs..
Yields: 12 cups chili | Serving Size: 1 cup | Calories: 216 | Total Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 463mg | Carbohydrates: 41g | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 6g | Protein: 12g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 6
With 1/2 Cup Brown Rice Ber Serving:
Calories: 326 | Total Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 508mg | Carbohydrates: 64g | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 6g | Protein: 14g | SmartPoints: 10
- 3 cups dry pinto beans
- 3 small, 2 medium, or 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 bell peppers, red, yellow, and green, chopped
- 8 large green jalapeño peppers, dice after removing seeds by scraping out
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes, or equivalent
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons oregano flakes
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 3 bay leaves, freshly ground
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- Soak beans overnight, covered by at least 3 inches of water.
- Drain and rinse beans well, then cook in a 6-quart slow cooker with 1 tablespoon salt covered by 2 inches of water. Cover and cook on high setting for six hours. The beans will cook faster in the slow cooker if you use less beans, or slower if you use a higher ratio of water.
- After cooking for six hours, drain beans, mix in other ingredients well, and cook in the slow cooker for an additional 3 hours on high setting, until beans reach desired firmness.
- If desired, serve with brown rice and garnish with salsa, avocado, cilantro, fresh cut lime, red onions, and serve with warm tortillas.
- One (11 oz package) Beyond Beef Feisty Crumbles, by Beyond Meat Plant Based Protein
More plant-based recipes with Zero Cholesterol:
This delicious Mexican rice is the perfect pairing for Eric’s Plant-Based Slow Cooker Chili recipe. You’ll love that this recipe is made without added oil. The onion seems to take on a faintly sweet taste when sautéed in water verses oil.
What about a serving of sweet and savory salsa with your bowl of plant-based chili? Here’s a mouthwatering idea: make a wrap with the recipes mentioned above.
What you’ll need:
- 1 warm tortilla
- 1/2 cup Eric’s Plant-Based chili, (drain any liquid)
- 1/4 cup Skinny Mexican Rice
- 2 tablespoons Spicy Mango Salsa
Roll and enjoy!
Time for dessert! This chocolate recipe is quick, easy, and crazy good.
The good news? Whether you have a little, or a lot, of everything on the menu above, you would have consumed zero cholesterol. Now that’s cool!