I don't know about you, but this massive beef recall has me completely grossed out. Even though we try to buy organic beef, especially ground beef, I'm thinking I'm just done with the whole commerically-raised-beef thing. Is organically-raised beef really any better if it's mass produced? I keep thinking: could we have somehow eaten that beef? Where could I have had it? I just made bolognese sauce, and even though I used organic ground beef, what if? what if? Upton Sinclair must be rolling over in his grave. How far we HAVE NOT come.
Because of this, and in order to support our five-year-old's continued vegetarian quest, J. and I have decided to experiment with only cooking vegetarian meals at home (and saving meat for date nights). Would we become completely vegetarian? I don't know. I don't think so. We eat a pretty flexitarian diet as it goes, limiting red meat and trying to make the bulk of the 21 meals I prepare each week be mostly vegetables and protein other than from meat.
J. suggested we start the vegetarian thing after our vacation so a few nights ago, that is what we did.
I usually have several kinds of beans on hand, and if you do, too, vegetarian chili is a cinch. Sometimes I like to add a little more "meatyness" to the chili with the addition of some sort of TVP product like Gimme Lean or Morningstar Farms Meal Starters (veggie crumbles), but you certainly can leave it out. TVP certainly comes with it own set of controversies.
VEGETARIAN CHILI CITYMAMA-STYLE
This recipe can easily be made vegan by omitting the dairy products.
- a couple glugs of olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cans Bush's chili beans (or your fave), do not drain
- 1 can black beans, drained
- 1 can pinto or cannelini beans, drained
- 1 bag Morningstar Farms Meal Starter Crumbles (or 12 oz of equivalent TVP product), optional
- a tablespoon or two of tomato paste (I use the double-concentrated kind in the tube)
- 1/2 palmful of ground cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- a splash of red or white wine vinegar
- garnish: shredded cheese, cilantro leaves, chopped onion, chopped tomato, avocado chunks, jalapeño slices, sour cream, lime wedges
In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is lightly browned. Dump in beans, crumbles/tvp if using, tomato paste, cumin, and salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Just before serving, remove from heat, splash in some vinegar and stir once more.
I served this with warm corn tortillas and creamed corn on the side. Offer garnishes and let people top their own.