Hearty Vegetable Chili

One day I was hankering (oh – my – I think a little bit of my Arkansas heritage just seeped out) for a nice thick chili.  The kind that does a tortilla chip proud.  So I went in and checked what I had on hand and here is what I came up with.  This recipe can be vegan, vegetarian or have meat in it – you choose but if you choose to add a meat, keep it lean so the chili will still be good for your heart.  Vegetable broth instead of oil is used to saute the veggies.  Don’t let the number of ingredients throw you – it doesn’t take that long and it’s worth it.  TIP:  The vegetables and “meat” can always be prepared the night before.

Hearty Vegetable Chili

1 cup         Vegetable Broth
1/2             Yellow Onion, chopped
1                Carrot, chopped
1                Celery Stalk, chopped
1/2             Red Pepper, chopped
1/2             Yellow Pepper, chopped
1                Turnip, chopped
1                28 oz can of Italian Herb Crushed Tomatoes
1 Tbsp       Tomato paste
1                15 oz can of white beans, rinsed and drained
1                15 oz can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup      Lentils, rinsed
1/4 cup      Buckwheat, rinsed
1/2 Tbsp    Chili Powder (or to taste)
3/4 Tbsp    Cumin
1 tsp           Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp        Oregano
1/2 tsp        Basil
1/4 cup      Trader Joes Soy Chorizo, browned or meat of your choice – optional
Salt and Pepper to taste
Garnish with a squeeze of lime, chopped green onions and cilantro
Serve with Tortilla Chips

1.  Combine the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano and basil together in a small dish.  Set aside.
2.  Saute the onion in 2 Tbsp of vegetable broth for 2 minutes in a med-large pan over low-medium heat.  Then add a little more vegetable broth and add remaining chopped veggies.  Saute for 4 more minutes.
3.  Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, white beans, pinto beans, lentils, buckwheat, 1/4 cup of vegetable broth and spice mixture into pan of veggies.
4.  Heat to a boil.  Then turn down to a simmer and cover for 30 minutes, stirring often.
5.  Add soy chorizo or meat of your choice, if desired.
6.  Continue to cook on lowest setting for another hour.  There are times I just turn the burner off and leave covered.  This time is used to marry the flavors a bit more and ensure the lentils and buckwheat are tender.
7.  Cut up some lime wedges.  Chop some green onion and cilantro.  Get out the tortilla chips.
8.  To serve:  Ladle chili into a bowl.  Squeeze a lime wedge over the top and sprinkle the green onion and cilantro over the top.

Servings:  4-8 (depending on how big the bowl is)