We like food that fills you up and sticks to your ribs. Being veggie doesn’t mean we don’t like our meals hearty.  I like to cook if the recipe is forgiving and allows for experimentation each time you make it.  For these reasons, I am our resident chili chef.

A handful of times each winter I make a large pot on Sunday afternoons and let it simmer all day, ready for sunday dinner and lunches throughout the week.   It is hearty, healthy, and cheap – three great combinations.

While I change up a few parts each time, these are my staple ingredients:

in large stockpot, throw in:

2 large (28 oz) cans of crushed tomatoes
1 small (6 oz) can of tomato paste
any fresh tomatoes on hand (this time I added 4 that were about to go bad)
1 bottle of beer (I use dark German beer)

Heat until boiled. Use an immersion blender to blend all tomato products.

When completely blended, throw in the following:

6 medium cans (15 oz) rinsed beans – I used 2 cans light kidney, 2 cans pinto, 1 can great northern, 1 can black-eyed peas.
One full package (12 oz) Morningstar Farms Veggie crumbles (Feed this to your carnivore friends, I guarantee you won’t miss ground beef in this chili!)
1.5 cups dry peanuts

After adding all beans, start seasoning. This time I used salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, cinnamon, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Stir pot throughly after each spice is added.  If it’s too sweet, cut it with hotter spices. If it’s too acidic, cut it with salty spices (and vice versa).  Add a little spice at a time to learn how much flavor you like.

Simmer for 2 or 3 hours with cover on pot, then another half hour with cover off to evaporate all alcohol in beer.

The best part of this creation is all the other ingredients you could use depending on what you have on hand — corn, spinach, peppers, onion, hot sauce, maple syrup, molasses, anything you like!

While the chili is simmering, prepare a base to eat with the chili. Tonight we had elbow pasta. You could have it over rice, corn bread, potatoes, your choice!

We serve one cup of cooked pasta topped with one and a half cups chili.  Top chili with sour cream, cheese, chives (again – whatever you like!), and enjoy!

ps – Please contain your jealousy over my 1950’s kitchen. Maybe someday you can be cool enough to have green counter tops and a yellow back splash. Sigh.