This year I gave up meat for Lent, and it’s been very hard… for my mother. As I do a significant amount of cooking in our house, my mom and dad have become fairly vegetarian themselves. It’s been a tough two weeks, but it’s just their cross to bear. Last night I thought I’d try and lighten their load. With the awful rainy weather, I thought it was a shame that my family couldn’t enjoy some nice chili. So, I decided to make them some nice vegetarian chili (I wasn’t about to let up on my herbivoric household regime). I’m no saint. My mother kindly played along, and supplied me with two kinds of beans, and a good supply of veggies (she was probably thinking that if I added enough vegetables we would not have even notice that the beef was missing). I threw together some cornbread muffins and timed everything to be ready for the Badger game. Much to my satisfaction, by six o’clock our house was already filled with the enticing scents of chili spices and vegetables. By tip-off we were all nestled in our family room ready to watch Wisconsin beat Baylor and enjoy our chili. Considering all three of us polished off our bowls and went up for seconds, I’d count this one as a success. I’ll still hold off a while to test out black bean burgers with the folks. Only 24 days of Lent to go… but who’s counting?
2 tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion (chopped)
4 stalks celery (chopped)
5 large carrots (peeled, chopped)
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. mild chili powder (you can use regular chili powder, in our house we use chili to describe the weather in winter. You can add green and jalapeño peppers too. I skipped them because my dad won’t eat peppers.)
Black Pepper to taste
1 cup fresh mushrooms
1 can black beans (drained)
1 can red beans (drained)
1 can corn (drained)
1 cup spinach (coarsely chopped)
- In a large pot (we used a Dutch oven) sauté the onions, celery, and carrots in the olive oil. Continue cooking until vegetables to soften, then add tomatoes.
- Stir in seasonings, mushrooms and beans. Let simmer on low heat.
- After 45 min remove bay leaf, and add corn and spinach. Mix thoroughly and serve with grated cheese, if desired.