Cocoa Veggie Chilli

I can pretty much guarantee that you won’t miss the beef in this chili.  I know, that’s a pretty bold statement, but it’s got so much depth to the flavour that you might not miss the meat.  And if you’re vegetarian, well then you’ll be celebrating!  I served this one with a bit of avocado on top, and some corn bread on the side.  Yum!  A little plain yogurt and cilantro would also be great.

This recipe is from the Vancouver Sun’s Six O’Clock Solutions cookbook.  I’ve just made a few alterations like substituting olive oil for vegetable oil, using red instead of green peppers, quinoa instead of bulgur, and I added some grated carrot.  I also let it cook a lot longer than the recipe suggests, as I believe a slow-cooked chili is a tastier chili.  But if you’re in a hurry, go ahead and cut the cooking time.

What you need:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large sweet onions, chopped

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 red bell peppers, chopped

1-2 grated carrots

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 – 795 mL can chopped tomatoes, with liquid

1/2 cup water

1 – 398mL can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1- 398 mL can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup quinoa

1 can sweet corn

salt and pepper

What you do:

1.  Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat, then add the onions and saute until translucent.

2.  Add the red peppers, garlic, chili powder, cumin and cayenne and stir for another minute or so.

3.  Add the cocoa, tomatoes, carrots, water and beans and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for half and hour to and hour.  (here is where you can do a shortcut if you’re in a hurry – just add the quinoa now and let it cook for about 15 minutes)

4.  Add the quinoa and cook for 15 minutes, or until the grains are tender.

5.  Add the corn, and salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!  And enjoy the leftovers!


Spaghetti Squash with Sundried Tomatoes and Olives

I love the idea of spaghetti squash, but I find it doesn’t have quite enough flavour on its own.  As my friend Meredyth says, sundried tomatoes make everything better.  I feel the same way about olives.  This easy recipe isn’t shy on taste, and it is super healthy and all-vegetable.  And  nut.  Okay, and olives are actually a fruit . . . but you get the point.

What you need:

1 spaghetti squash

6 sundried tomatoes

1 lemon, juice and zest

2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)

1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped basil

1/2 clove garlic, finely diced

about a dozen kalamata olives

1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts

What you do:

1.  Cut the squash in half, scoop the seeds out and place cut-side down on a baking sheet.  Bake at 400F for about 40 minutes.

2.  While the squash is baking toast the pine nuts.

3.  When the squash is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes, until it is cool enough to handle.

4.  Combine the lemon juice and zest, olive oil, basil, sundried tomatoes, olives, garlic and basil.

5.  Remove the squash from the shells by scraping with a fork.  Add the other ingredients to the squash.

Ready, easy and yummy!