|Photo courtesy of BenBella Books|
As you now know, I am recently back from a trip to New Mexico, where I was traveling with one extremely picky pre-schooler (the baby is a good eater, thank goodness). I am ashamed to admit how many meals he made out of french fries, or pasta, or some other carb... he seems to be on a carb-only diet these days, and I'm not sure how that happened.
Weary from having eaten mostly restaurant meals for the past two weeks and desperate to cook something healthy and homemade that might tempt the youngster, as soon as I got home I turned to my new copy of Dreena Burton's Plant-Powered Families. This cookbook is full of healthy, straight forward, easy to make, kid-friendly recipes that the whole family can enjoy, from Pumpkin Seed & Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Bars to Artichoke Sunflower Burgers and Lemon-Kissed Blondie Bites.
The Smoky Bean Chili caught my eye, as I am still savoring the flavors of the southwest. It features three types of beans: chickpeas, red lentils, and kidney beans (although I substituted pintos for those). It also has plenty of vegetables and a touch of lime juice to really brighten it up. It was both healthy and delicious, and the publisher has graciously granted me permission to reprint the recipe below.
If you want to win your own copy of Plant-Powered Families, leave a comment on this post, and tell me your favorite family-friendly vegan meal to make. A winner will be selected on July 27th.
Smoky Bean Chili
I’ve made many batches of vegan chili over the years. This kid-friendly version draws on smoked paprika for a spicy essence that isn’t too hot. Try leftovers in Ta-Quinos (in full cookbook).
1–2 tablespoons plus ¾–1 cup water, divided
1½–2 cups diced onion
1½ cups diced green and red bell pepper (3/4 cup of each; see note)
½-¾ cup diced celery
½ cup diced carrot
1¼ teaspoons sea salt
4–5 cloves garlic, minced
1-1½ tablespoons mild chili powder
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (see note)
1–2 pinches cinnamon
Dash of crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 can (28 oz) or box (26 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (14 oz) chickpeas (see note)
1 can (14 oz) kidney beans
¾ cup red lentils, rinsed
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses
1–2 tablespoons lime juice
Lime wedges for serving
In large pot over medium heat, add 1–2 tablespoons of the water, onion, green and red bell pepper, celery, carrot, and sea salt. Stir, cover, and let cook for a few minutes.
Then, add the garlic, chili powder, oregano, dry mustard, smoked paprika, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Stir through and cover again, cooking for another 4–5 minutes. Reduce heat if veggies are sticking to bottom of pot.
Add the crushed tomatoes, chickpeas, kidney beans, remaining ¾-1 cup water, lentils, bay leaves, and molasses and stir to combine. Increase heat to bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 25–30 minutes, until lentils are softened. Stir in lime juice and serve portions with lime wedges.
Bell Peppers Note: If your kiddos aren’t fond, you can reduce the measure—and chop very, very fine!
Smoked Paprika Note: Smoked paprika adds a smoky spicy flavor rather than a hot spicy flavor to dishes, so many children enjoy the taste. It’s a great addition to a flavorful pantry!
Beans Note: You can substitute other beans like pinto or black beans. Also try mashing chickpeas slightly to add more interesting texture.
Idea: After cooking this chili, remove a portion for the adults and kick it up with some regular hot sauce, or even better to complement the smoky essence—chipotle hot sauce!