Vegetarian Chilli

5/27/2008 09:20:00 PM

Lisa Simpson: I’m gonna go get some vegetarian chili before they get desperate and add meat!

This is my beloved terracotta pot, which I use for all stews, soups, chillis, or anything gloopy.

In my ongoing quest to find delicious, healthy midweek meals, I turned to an unlikely source - Nigella Lawson's Feast. In the Partytime chapter, she has a recipe for vegetarian chilli, which has a cornbread topping, and is served with guacamole, grated cheese and sour cream. It also feeds 10. Seeing as I wanted it to be healthy, I halved the quantity, left out the cornbread topping, sour cream and guacamole, and served it with low fat grated cheese and steamed broccoli. Steamed broccoli is much tastier than it sounds - we love it! Come to think of it, the cornbread topping isn't too unhealthy - it only contains 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of oil and 40g of cheese per 5 servings - but making the cornbread does add 25 minutes onto the cooking time. Maybe I'll try it when I have a bit of extra time.

As for the chilli itself, it's pretty much a stock-standard chilli con carne, with capsicums and red lentils instead of meat. It takes about an hour to cook, but most of that time it's just simmering on the stove and you don't need to do anything. While it simmers, the red lentils cook down and become mushy, with a texture rather like minced meat. You'll see that I used chickpeas instead of the more usual red kidney beans, simply because that's what I had in my cupboard. Very healthy! The dish is high in protein and fibre and low in GI. I would have served brown rice with it instead of white, but I didn't want to scare my family away from the whole healthy-eating thing right away.

Unlike the patrons at the Chilli Cook-off (in The Simpsons), I was not tempted to add meat to this dish, and thought it was perfectly satisfying just as it was. As a bonus, I didn't get that greasy-orange taste you get when you have a minced-meat-and-tomato-dish. Woohoo!

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  1. Looks delish. I've only tried the carnivorous version, but the cornbread topping is soo the Simpsons quote :) Oh and you should try the Tunisian vegetable stew thing from Feast - it's incredible and full o' veges!

  2. I LOVE your pot!
    Just wanted to comment that instead of using red kidney beans in chili now, I use pinto beans. Can you get those? They're smaller and a less tough. I think they're more traditionally used in the Southwest here. However, apparently, in Texas, "true" chili is made with beef, and no beans. No vegetarianism for the Longhorns.
    Your version is much healthier!

  3. Looks lovely - and I LOVE your pot, it's just beautiful!



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