Vegan Lentil and Bean Chili


I found a few versions of this recipe online, with my favorite version from littlebroken.com. I ended up marrying a few of the options and adding a thing or two of my own to make sure it fit my specifications.

Like I mentioned earlier, I have been trying to cook without a lot of added oil, so I sautéd with veggie broth here (works like a dream!). This recipe was delicious and I would DEF make again.

It’s weird, because in the past when I would try low carb diets it was always so hard. I figured giving up animals products would be more difficult than giving up carbs. Turns out veganism (for me) is way easier. I love cooking with grains and legumes, and I feel like there is just so much variety to be had.

Ingredients
  • 1, diced Red Pepper
  • 1, diced Green Pepper
  • 4, large diced Garlic Cloves
  • 2 cups Lentils
  • 1 can Cannellini or Black Beans
  • 5 diced Tomatoes
  • 1, diced Jalapeno Pepper
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 4 TBSP Chili Powder
  • 1 TBSP Garlic Powder
  • To taste Salt and Pepper
  • 32 oz Vegetable Brot
  • 3 Handfuls Spinach
Instructions
1. Dice garlic, peppers and tomatoes. Soak lentils and beans in cold water. Rinse.
2. Add a splash of veggie broth to a large stock pot and then toss in garlic and peppers.
Cook for 5 minutes until tender (add more veggie broth if necessary)
3. Add chili pepper and garlic pepper. Cook for additional minute.
4. Pour in broth plus 1 cup of water. Add lentil, beans, bay leaf and spinach.
5. Bring to a boil and then lower to a low simmer. Cook for 45 minutes covered, checking every 15 that there is enough liquid remaining (Lentils will absorb). Add more liquid if necessary.
6. When lentils are tender, remove bay leaf. Pour half the mixture into blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour back into the pot, stir and serve.
***I garnished with vegan cheese, but you could also throw some avocado, tofutti sour cream or other extra on top.
Details

Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 45 mins Total time: 1 hour Yield: 4

Earthlings

I could barely make it through the trailer of Earthlings. I feel like I need to watch the movie, but I am not sure if I can.

I may have started this journey from a more health driven stance, but every thing I read, see and hear about the treatment of animals makes me want to be a vegan not for my health, but for so many helpless animals. Day 9, and I can’t see myself ever going back.

 

Veggie Broth

I feel like people may already know this but….

Since going Vegan I use a lot of veggie broth. For one thing, I’ve been attempting to cut down on oils and I can’t cook with butter, so I need something to juice up the sauté (grossest phrase I’ve ever written? Maybe), and veggie broth is a nice way to do that. Plus, soup.

Anyway, I read in one book that an easy way to save money is to make your own broth. What I have been doing now is just tossing scraps or veggies almost past their prime into a gallon ziplock in the freezer. When I need veggie broth I just do the following:

  1. Dump all the scraps into a big pot
  2. Fill it with water and add 1/2 TBSP-1 TBSP sea salt (depends on how much broth you like with your salt)
  3. Bring that ish to a boil
  4. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 35-45 minutes.

After that I pour it into canning jars and keep it in the fridge or into ziplocks and freeze it. It is simple, gets me more mileage out of my vegetables and saves money $$$$$. Plus, it is easy to accomplish when I am already cooking bulk grains like quinoa or rice.

VIOLA!

giphy

Dude, everything you hear about food is LIES.

I’ve always been an animal product eater, for all 28 years of my life. I thought eating meat was easier, and until recently I was not a very good or comfortable cook. Throughout college I survived on a diet of ramen and mini pizzas I made by pouring pasta sauce on English muffins, pouring cheese on top of the pasta sauce and then microwaving for a minute. Basically, I sucked.

Throughout college I always dealt with digestion problems, and when I finished grad school, moved to Cleveland and started my first year of teaching, s*&^ got real. I was feeling constant and terrible stomach pressure and eventually my boyfriend convinced me it wasn’t normal and I went to a gastroenterologist. I went through a lot of tests, but the doctor told me I had a really bad case of lactose intolerance. That was stunning to me. “All of this is just from dairy?” I remember thinking. What a huge reaction for my body to have to something that is so mainstream in the American Diet. I was even more surprised when I found out that most people are at least somewhat lactose intolerant, which begs the question, why is dairy everywhere then?

For the next four years I oscillated between avoiding dairy and taking huge amounts of dairy pills. As silly and common as lactose intolerance sounds, it started me on a journey of learning about nutrition. I also finally taught myself to cook, an experience that was akin to karate kid where I suddenly realized that I could “just whip something up” in a way I never thought possible. That has ramped up in the last year and I have read and watched all kinds of information about nutrition, with more and more of it pointing me toward veganism. At first I tried to ignore it, but eventually (read in the last month or so), it became impossible to ignore. I have slowly been falling down the rabbit hole (or perhaps climbing out of it) as I discovered all kind of research that everything you are told about food is basically false.

  • You do not need protein from meat, and you can get plenty of protein from plants.
  • Milk does not make your bones strong (in fact some research says it actually does the opposite).
  • Plants are more than enough food to fill your plate, and keep you big and strong.
  • Animal protein is connected to cancer, and often cancer can be avoided by veganism.
  • Our meat/dairy industry is destroying the environment.
  • As much as I tried to avoid it, animals are being severely abused in order to put meat on plates. I watched some terrible s*^& about this, and cried. I wanted to turn it off, but I can’t turn a blind eye on the problems anymore.

So here we are.

I am not here for a single reason. I am here for many reasons, including but not limited to taking care of my body and avoiding disease, taking care of the environment, and not spending my money on hurting animals. This is not going to be the perfect journey, and I am not going to be the perfect vegan. I will make mistakes, and it will take me time to get where I want to be, but I will live by certain rules.

  1. Vegan, vegan, vegan. Limit processed foods and sugar. Focus on whole foods.
  2. When I mess up, dust myself off, get right back on the plan.
  3. Feel no need to justify myself to family, friends and others who may judge, or claim I am not a real vegan.
  4. Continue to read literature on veganism.
  5. Keep this blog for accountability.
  6. Start with food and then try to expand my veganism to other realms of my life.
  7. Be honest, even if it is hard.

I can’t say exactly what J’s reasoning is, but perhaps we can focus on that in the next post.

Here goes nothing!