My sweet friend Lisa is an absolute whiz when it comes to cooking. She is the kind of person who can stroll into the kitchen and turn out a gourmet meal at the drop of a hat with whatever ingredients she has on hand that will come out beautifully every time and she never even cracks open a cookbook. Amazing!
She is also a former blogger (she’s hinted she might be starting up again..yay!) and I am pretty sure I made every single vegetarian recipe she ever posted on her site and they were all truly fabulous. At our house we love Lisa’s Eggrolls, Pasta, Salad, Soup and Fries and the kids gobble them down. But the very best one of all in my opinion is her spectacular Chili. Vegan, hearty, flavourful and chock full of nutrition, it’s the perfect dish to serve on a cold winter day.
Now you want to prepare yourself – this is a bit of work chopping and prepping but it is oh so worth it. And it makes a ton of chili so you can share some with your friends and family and freeze some to enjoy another time.
I like to serve this with a warm baguette (regular or gluten-free) and a light mixed green salad. Add some snow gently falling outside, a roaring fire and a full-bodied glass of red wine and it’s pretty darn close to a perfect winter evening.
Lisa’s Chili (courtesy of Lisa Faley, Flowfit.ca)
• 1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
• 3 stalks celery, chopped
• 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
• 2 cups butternut squash, chopped
• 1 large Portobello mushroom
• 1 green pepper, chopped
• 1 large zucchini, chopped
• 2 tbsp chilli powder (or to taste)
• 2 tbsp cumin powder
• 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (reserve some sprigs for garnish)
• ½ cup pearl barley
• ½ cup yellow lentils
• ½ cup green lentils
• 1 can diced tomatoes (and liquid)
• 1 can cherry tomatoes (and liquid)
• 1 can kidney beans
• 1 can black beans
• 1 can beans in tomato sauce (pork and beans – no pork)
• 3 cups water
• 1 cube mushroom bouillon
• 1 tbsp vegeta seasonings
In large pot, sauté onions, carrots, celery and squash in olive oil until onions are translucent but not browned. Add garlic, cumin and chilli powder. Cook stirring for another minute. Add both cans of tomatoes, can of “beans in tomato sauce” (this will cook down and thicken chilli) lentils, barley, mushroom and green pepper to pot. Mix vegeta and bouillon to two cups of boiling water and add to pot (reserve one cup of water for later). Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes checking and stirring frequently. Add more water as needed as the lentils and barley expand. After 45 minutes, add the zucchini and chopped cilantro. Continue to cook uncovered for another 15-20 minutes or until the squash is cooked through and the sauce thickened. Add the two cans of beans, cook another 5 minutes to heat through. DONE! Serve with pride!