After what I posted last week about not being ready for fall recipes yet, you probably think I’m a big hypocrite for posting this Veggie-Loaded Chili today. But let me explain! This is not a fall recipe, you see. It’s what I like to call a transitional recipe. It uses summer produce (which is still readily available!), but it’s a perfect dinner for a chilly September evening. And if it’s still too early for chilly evenings where you live, well, that’s okay, because you can make this chili ahead of time and freeze it.
I know I’ve mentioned this several times before, but I’m a volume eater. A lot of chili recipes have pretty paltry serving sizes, but I want to have a BIG bowl of chili. If I had a big bowl of chili made with tempeh or beans, that would mean a lot of calories–calories that I don’t need to eat. So my solution is to cram as many veggies into my chili as I can. This gives me more bang for my buck calorie-wise, but it’s also a lot tastier too. Because: VEGGIES! Isn’t a bowl full of veggies much more appetizing than a big bowl of beans?
If you decide you want to make this with summer produce and then freeze it for later this fall, you’ll follow the recipe instructions as they’re written below, let the chili cool a bit, then pack it in a freezer bag or Tupperware container and pop it in the freezer. If it’s in Tupperware, you can microwave it while it’s still frozen; otherwise, just let it thaw in the fridge for a day or two and heat it up on the stovetop over medium heat. Easy!
Chris tops his chili with pepper jack cheese, sour cream, and cilantro, while I opt to leave out the sour cream. Crumbled tortilla chips or crackers would be perfect too and if you really want to go wild, you could serve this over baked sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes! Am I slowly getting used to the idea that fall is almost here? Perhaps. But only if there’s chili involved.
A freezer-friendly chili recipe made with end-of-summer veggies.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional; 1/4 teaspoon is very spicy!)
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 1 small yellow squash, diced
- 1 small red pepper, diced
- 2 (10-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chili peppers
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 ear corn, kernels removed
- 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 can), rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans (or 1 can), rinsed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it’s softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir in the zucchini, yellow squash, and red pepper; cook until they’re softened, 7-10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, corn, and beans. Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.