White Bean Chili Con Carne
Good morning everyone! It’s a Sunday morning here in little old Grahamstown and the sun is out and ready to bring some physical & emotional warmth to the first week back at University.
It’s been a really busy week settling back into the University and teaching rhythm. I am so excited to be back teaching Yoga – I find it one of the best aspects of my life here in Grahamstown. It’s always so wonderful to share something I am so deeply passionate about and something that has changed my life in so many hundreds of ways. It really does set my heart on the best kind of fire when I am able to help people hold space for themselves. I also always find that when I’ve had a good break from Uni and teaching and have had time to dedicate to my personal practice I am able to bring much more back to my teaching practice.
I must say, though, I am really missing being in Jeffrey’s Bay. Being calm and held by the ocean’s energy, having the days to languidly read and do Yoga and eat good food. It was such a deeply nourishing holiday on all of the levels: physical, emotional, energetic, spiritual, mental, social, cultural.
On the last day of holiday, I made this BIG pot of white bean chili con carne which was inspired by a DELICIOUS vegan chili con carne we ate while in Jeffrey’s Bay from Nina’s Restaurant. It will suffice to say that we were very impressed with JBay this holiday – the vegan scene, the overall energy & vibe, the people, the lifestyle, the openness. But especially the development of the vegan food scene. We were so surprised that they offered vegan options at all – let alone offering a whole range of frozen to-go meals that are also vegan. For such a small town in Eastern Cape, South Africa to be catering for vegans by creating delicious chili con carne’s and everything in-between (chocolate avocado cakes, raw slices, date balls, full-on vegan meals like curries and vegan alfredo pastas etc.) showed such an immense growth and development in the plant based movement itself. It made me very hopeful! It’s reaching more people and when people are out there creating SUCH GOOD VEGAN FOOD, people will also begin to realize that vegan food is not restrictive, limiting or dull.
I wanted to create my own veggie-dense version of this Chili Con Carne so that I could share a little bit of my holiday fun with you all. But also because it really is THE perfect Winter meal as well as being perfect for those busy weeks where you have some time on a Sunday evening to prepare some food beforehand and either keep it in the fridge or freezer. We did both and it has been a life-saver since!
We served ours with freshly cooked basmati rice, fresh coriander/cilantro, avocado & lime and some freshly diced tomato.
· 1 red onion
· 1 small white onion
· 3 big garlic cloves
· ½ cup red wine
· 2 tins + 1 cup of diced tinned tomatoes
· 2 big stalks of celery
· 2 cups of vegetable stock
· 1 red bell pepper
· 1 large carrot
· 1 eggplant (2 cups chopped)
· 1 cup chopped zucchini
· 1/3 cup red lentils
· 1 tin beans (we used Butter beans, but any bean of choice will do! Kidney beans are also amazing in this), washed & drained
· 3 teaspoons of cumin
· 1/2 -1 teaspoon chili flakes
· 1 tablespoon soy sauce
· 1 tablespoon miso paste dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm (not hot) water
· Cooked basmati rice to serve
· 1 avocado to serve
· 1 diced tomato to serve
· salt & pepper
· 1 Lemon
1. To begin, place the chopped red & white onion into a BIG pot with a splash of water (or some Olive Oil if you aren't concerned with making it an oil-free recipe). Cook until tender and then add the garlic. Cook until fragrant. Keep adding bits of water as the water cooks off so that you can keep this an oil-free recipe, if you like. Then add in the cumin and chili flakes. Cook for about 30 seconds and then add in the red wine, the tinned tomatoes and the vegetable stocks.
2. Rinse the red lentils thoroughly. Then add them to the pot once the liquid is boiling.
3. Prepare and chop all your veggies (celery, carrot, bell pepper, eggplant, zucchini etc). Add them all in. Add in the 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Bring to a rumbling heat and cover the pot. Now let it cook away for about 60 minutes (but keep your eye on it)
NOTE: this entire thing cooks for about an hour – so time it so that your basmati rice is cooked as you finish it (I began cooking the basmati rice about 15 minutes before the end of the one hour of cooking time for the con carne).
4. Once it’s done cooking, turn off the heat and add in your drained and rinsed beans of choice (kidney beans, white beans etc) and now dissolve 1 tablespoon of dark miso paste in 2 tablespoons of warm water and add to the pot (this is NB because adding the miso while it’s boiling will kill of the healing bacteria in miso paste, so make sure the heat is off). Add in a squeeze of lemon, salt & pepper. Taste.
5. Now serve with diced tomato, diced avocado, fresh cilantro & ENJOY!! It's also delicious topped with toasted seeds. If you’re food prepping: let it cool and then place in air-tight containers in the fridge or freezer until further notice.