Over the past year I have become curious about vegetarian and vegan recipes. I have been working for a vegan boss, so preparing dishes that he can eat at staff lunches and community events has been an exciting challenge. I have also been learning about the health, economic, and ecological benefits of eating less meat through magazine articles, news stories, and documentaries. While I am far from eliminating meat (much less eggs and cheese) from my diet, I am making an effort to prepare more meals without animal products. I have searched out recipes for various vegan baked goods like cornbread muffins and vanilla cupcakes. I’ve also simply eliminated the meat and used vegetable bouillon in certain soups that my family enjoys.
For this week’s Try It Tuesday meal, I planned to take out the chicken and follow the recipe as it was portrayed in the video a friend posted to Facebook. I swear, most of the time I cook, I do follow a recipe exactly… but after reading the measurements for the ingredients in the original recipe, I realized I’d also need to make significant modifications. The first modification was to cut way back on the cumin. I find that if you use too much, it makes even the sauciest stew taste weirdly dry. The amount of oregano would also be overpowering for my taste, so I decreased that as well. Here is my version of the dish. If you would like a link to the original Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili recipe, scroll to the bottom of this post!
½ an onion, chopped
1 (15.5 oz) can reduced sodium great Northern Beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (8 oz) can no salt added tomato sauce
1 (15 oz) can whole kernel sweet corn, drained
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 ½ tsp cumin
1 ½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
Put all of the ingredients into a slow cooker and stir. Cover and cook on low at least 2 hours or up to 4 hours. Serve topped with shredded cheddar (and accompanied by cornbread muffins or tortilla chips).
Alternatively, this recipe would be easily and more quickly made on the stove top. Just saute the onion in ½ tablespoon olive oil for 3-5 minutes before adding all of the ingredients. Stir and let the chili simmer for 30 minutes or so to allow the flavors to blend and the ingredients to heat through.
I really enjoyed the flavor of this chili. It was hearty enough that I didn’t miss the meat. The crispness of the corn and the fact that the tomatoes didn’t get cooked to nothing also helped keep the texture from being overly mushy. Moreover, this really is a recipe that I feel I could throw together at a moment’s notice. That said, I don’t know how often I’ll be able to make vegetarian chili for my family. My husband would probably choose to eat cereal for dinner if I offered him this, which is why I made it for lunch. As for my son, I had to bribe him to eat it with the promise of dinner rolls… and there were tears before he agreed to eat the chili. Interestingly, as I watched his reaction, I realized that he didn’t mind the flavor. It was the texture of the beans that solicited his funny faces. So, I might be able to try this recipe again, replacing the Northern Beans with tofu or some sort of vegetarian sausage.
If there are any vegetarians reading this who have some suggestions, please do share!
(original recipe at: http://www.skinnytaste.com/crock-pot-chicken-taco-chili-4-pts/)