Vegetarian Four-Bean Chili
FOUR-BEAN CHILI (Vegetarian)
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 stalk of celery, coarsely chopped
1 green, red, yellow or orange bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 15 oz. cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz.can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2 Tablespoons blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon good quality salt (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon cumin (more or less to taste)
1-3 teaspoons chili powder (more or less to taste)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric* (optional)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, more if you like “hot” chili)
4 cups vegetable stock or water (more or less depending on soup thickness you prefer)
Instructions for Recipe Chili
(1) Sauté chopped onion, celery and pepper in olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven until partly soft.
(2) Add remaining ingredients and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally. Adjust liquid and spices to your taste.
(3) Serve with cornbread and a sprinkle of Parmesan or other cheese, if desired.
Chili, like most soups, gets more flavorful after being refrigerated for 24 hours. This recipe will keep up to one week in the refrigerator and may be frozen as well.
Notes for Recipe Chili:
-You can use other types of beans and more of one or the other according to your taste or what you have on hand.
-You can use dry beans that have been soaked and cooked in place of canned beans. Be sure to cook the beans first. Use a total of about 8 cups of cooked beans in whatever combination suits you.
-If available, using home canned or frozen tomatoes and tomato paste will increase flavor and nutrition.
-You can experiment with the seasonings. I added the turmeric and extra cayenne pepper (chili powder has some in it) when I found out how good they are for you. *Turmeric has a warm, spicy flavor and I think it enhances the flavor of the chili, but you can leave it out and still have a great chili.
Tips for making beans more digestible
In spite of the nutritional advantages, if there is a drawback to the legume family of foods, it is that they can produce digestive disturbance in the form of gas. There are several things you can do to alleviate this problem:
-If you are not used to eating legumes, introduce them slowly. It is normal for everyone to produce some gas during digestion, but it should not be painful, putrid or pervasive.
-When using canned beans, discard the juice and rinse the beans before use.
-If you are using dry beans, throw out the soaking water (or use the water for your plants or garden), rinse before cooking and cook thoroughly.
-Eat slowly, chew your food well, and don’t overeat.
-Try taking enzyme products, like “Beano,” right before you eat. This may help to alleviate gas problems by helping digestion.
-Add some fennel to your beans (or chew some fennel seeds later, should you feel any adverse effects from eating legumes or any other foods). I have also heard that adding summer savory, dill or anise to your beans will help, but I have never tried these myself. Use about one teaspoon per cup of dry beans.
Warning: Fennel seeds should not be taken in large doses by pregnant women, since they are a uterine stimulant.