Friday, March 2, 2012

Vegan Sweet Potato Chili

What's not to love about chili? It's great to make a double batch on Sunday and have it for lunch all week long - I never get tired of it. I also love sweet potatoes, so when I found this recipe on Shabbot's Habits, I was pretty excited. 

I followed the recipe above fairly closely, though I omitted the oil and opted to water saute the onions, peppers, and garlic instead. Since I doubled this I subbed one can of black beans with kidney beans and did it all on the stove top (Shabbot's recipe has a convenient slow cooker method). Oh, and I added some green bell pepper.  

Rather than serving with cheese and sour cream, I just topped each steaming bowl with some  chopped cilantro and crunchy scallions, and later in the week, when the scallions were gone, with some sweet white onion. I even mixed it with salad greens one day for a super-hearty "dressing" - you just can't go wrong with this dish. It would also be delicious over brown rice or on tortillas... OK, I'm getting carried away.

My husband and younger daughter love this - and you can spice it up with hot sauce (or add more cayenne during cooking) if you're so inclined. It's definitely my new favorite chili recipe. And, by replacing some of the beans in a typical vegan chili with sweet potato, you save a lot of calories. 

My doubled, eat-it-all-week version is below.

(Recipe adapted from Shabbot's Habits and Taste of Home)

6 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 large onions, chopped

1 or 2 bell peppers (any color), seeded and chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp chili powder
3 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne (more or less to taste)
3 15 oz cans black beans (or 4 1/2 cups cooked beans)
1 15 oz can kidney beans (or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans)
2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup brewed coffee
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 Tsp salt (or more to taste)
In a large pot, water-saute onions and peppers until soft. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add chili powder, cumin, and cayenne; mix well. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 2 hours. 

Serve with chopped cilantro, scallions, and/or sweet white onions. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oh Chipotle!

When I started my plant strong, no added oil adventure I knew eating out was going to be a challenge. This was especially clear when, two days into vegan eating, my daughter requested Friendly's for her "special treat" vacation lunch...and the only thing on the menu appropriate for me was a side salad with no dressing. Most restaurants have more options, of course, and I tend to make my own food most of the time - but every now and then I find myself on the road and in need of a quick, healthy meal. Enter, Chipotle

They have a few vegan options if you simply skip the meat and dairy, but my favorite is the vegetarian burrito bowl with grilled veggies, brown rice, black beans, corn salsa, and fresh salsa. Yes, there's definitely some oil in this bad boy, but as far as "fast" food goes, it's pretty healthy - and delicious - option.

Harvest Bowl

My first harvest bowl was a slice of heaven from the Organic Garden Cafe in Beverly, MA. It's a wonderful combination of quinoa, roasted butternut squash, rosemary walnuts, spinach, sprouts, and a muchi curry sauce.

Since that first delicious visit, I've returned for several fantastic vegan lunches and dinners - but I'll never forget my first harvest bowl. I wanted to recreate the flavors at home but changed a few things up by adding the curry directly to the squash, adding chick peas, and omitting oil and nuts. It's not as good as the original, but i think it's a close second. 

Serves 4

Butternut Squash Harvest Bowl

Preheat oven to 375ยบ F

For roasted squash and beans:
1 large (or 2 small) butternut squash, peeled and cubed in 1-inch pieces
1 15 oz. can (1 1/2 cups) of drained, rinsed chick peas 
1-2 Tbsp of curry powder (more or less to taste)
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup (optional)
Dash of cayenne (more or less to taste)
Salt & pepper (to taste)

For the bowl: 
Cooked quinoa (plan on 1/2-1 cup per person)
Baby spinach
Carrots, shredded
Dried cranberries (optional) 
Scallions, sliced

In a large bowl, toss the squash cubes with chick peas, curry powder, maple syrup, cayenne, salt, and pepper. 

Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and spread the squash/chick pea mixture on it.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until squash is soft when pierced with a fork. 

As the squash mixture roasts, cook quinoa. 

When it’s all ready, build your (big!) bowls - one for each person. Add in this order:

Curried squash mixture
Baby spinach
Shredded carrots
Dried cranberries
Sliced scallions

Mix the bowl up before eating - enjoy!