You’ll find plenty of texture and a warm dense flavor in this slow cooker vegan chili.
Your meat eater won’t even miss the meat!
This month the challenge for The Recipe ReDux blog group is to make something creative using a slow cooker (aka Crock-pot – which is a brand name). But you may be scratching your head wondering what The Recipe ReDux group is. It’s a group of bloggers, many of them registered dietitians, dedicated to creating or modifying a recipe to make it healthier, yet flavorful. It must be tasty; this is a rule. The aim is also to make at least one change to add fiber, lower saturated fat, and/or increase mono or poly unsaturated fats, reduce the amount of sugar, and/or sodium. The recipe should also star one of the healthy food groups like: vegetables, legumes, fish, whole-grains, fruits, fat-free and low-fat dairy products.
It’s been quite a long time since I used a slow cooker. My preference for many years has been the pressure cooker. I’ve developed some outstanding recipes for the pressure cooker too: wicked vegan white beans, cornucopia cassoulet, and chickpeas with tomato and tuna fish to name a few.
And because I haven’t used the slow cooker for ages, my gut feeling told me to go slow and sure rather that crazy and creative. Someone else can use it to make soap, candles, or applesauce; anyway, I haven’t had chili in a long time and the weather in Arizona is beautiful now for warm foods.
Maria and Josh at Two Peas and Their Pod have a lovely recipe for vegetarian quinoa chili which is a quick chili made from canned beans. I wanted something like that with vegetables and quinoa. I made several modifications to the recipe, but the major differences are that my recipe is an all day slow cooking chili, and it is made with beans from scratch. I also have to give credit to Angela at Oh She Glows for the idea of using cocoa powder in the chili. You can’t taste the cocoa powder, but it does add depth to the flavor. Thanks Angela! (The recipe below may sound like it has a lot of ingredients, and it probably does, but it is easy to put together.)
- 8 ounces dry black beans
- 8 ounces dry red kidney beans
- 1-½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 14 ounce can organic corn
- 2 -14 ounce canned diced tomatoes
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar, or apple vinegar, or lime juice
- 1 cup liquid from beans
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons chili pepper
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- ½ Serrano chili, minced
- Kosher salt to taste
- The following are some suggestions for topping on your chili: cilantro, corn bread, chopped onion, avocado, and/or Greek yogurt.
- Pre-soak the beans overnight. Get out two large bowls and place the red beans in one bowl and the black beans in the second bowl. Fill the bowls with water, covering the beans with 3 to 4 inches of water.
- The next morning strain the beans and discard the soaking liquid. Next, boil the red beans for 10 to 15 minutes, and then add the black beans to the pot and boil for another 10 to 15 minutes. As the beans boil you can start to sauté the vegetables as per step three.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and then add the chopped bell peppers and the carrots, sauté for 3 minutes and then add the chopped onion, celery, minced garlic, and Serrano chili.
- While the vegetables are sautéing, place the tomatoes and the tomato paste in a blender and process until smooth, it should be about 20 seconds.
- Strain the beans, reserving 2 cups of liquid. Place the beans in the slow cooker along with 1 cup of the reserved bean liquid (you will use the second cup only if necessary later on). Add the tomato liquid, wine, and vinegar.
- Add the sautéed vegetables to the cooker, along with the corn.
- In a small bowl, mix together the chili power, cumin and cocoa powder and add the mixture to the slow cooker. Stir the beans well, cover the pot and cook about 8 hours on high. *Note – the time it takes to cook will depend on your cooker. This is an approximation; it may take more, or less time. Please read the instructions on your slow cooker.
- Make the quinoa in the last half hour of cooking. Bring 1-1/4 cup water and 2 teaspoons of olive oil to a boil. Rinse ½ cup quinoa under cool running water and then add it to the boiling water along with ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook the quinoa until the water is all absorbed and then add it to the chili. Check the seasonings and add salt to taste.
**This recipe is for those people who are do not have time to be standing over the pot and adding ingredients during the day. If you are at home and are able to add ingredients as the day goes on, you might want to add the sautéed vegetables in the last 3 hours, and the corn in the last 2 hours; in this way the will be more noticeable in the final product.