There's a chill setting in Seattle, and the rainy days are upon us. This means Autumn is setting in. That said, I love making all sorts of stews and soups during the fall. I wanted to share my vegetarian chili with you (and also vegan!) to help you and your family stay warm and cozy this fall. Enjoy!
I wanted to take my normal Chili and take it up a notch, packing it full of vegetables and flavor. It's filled with your typical chili aromatics, and a few unexpected others like carrot and celery. It has a variety of beans, seasonings, and red wine vinegar to brighten the entire dish. I used my Chili Seasoning for this recipe.
When I cook stews and soups (and pretty much anything, really), I like to prep all of my ingredients, even down to the seasonings and have them already measured and laid out so I can seamlessly prepare whatever dish I'm making.
To start, I went ahead and chopped all of my aromatic vegetables (except the garlic) and put them together because these will all cook together initially.
Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil into your dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add your carrot, bell peppers, onion, celery, and jalapeno. Add a dash of salt to help draw out the moisture and lock in the flavor of the vegetables. Saute, stirring frequently for about seven minutes. After the vegetables become soft, and the red onion begins to lose it's color, add your chili seasoning (You can use my chili seasoning recipe, Click Here) and the minced garlic and stir frequently until the spices become aromatic, about 1-2 minutes.
After the seasoning and spices have become aromatic, add your drained (un-rinsed) beans, the can of tomatoes (with the liquid), and your vegetable broth. Lightly stir the chili, careful not to break up the beans. Top with two bay leaves. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally.
After the chili has simmered for 45 minutes, taste test for salt and seasoning. Add more salt if you'd like. Then, using a potato masher, mash the chili several times to break up some of the beans and vegetables. This will help the chili thicken some. Don't mash too much. You don't want it pureed. Just a 5-7 smashes would be good.
Notice between the two images how mashing it made the chili thicker, but there is still plenty of texture? After you mashed the chili, allow it to lightly simmer another five minutes. Next, remove the dutch oven from the heat and add 3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro, and 2 tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar. This vinegar and cilantro stirred into the chili really helps to raise up the flavors and enhance the chili to it's awesomeness.
I like to top my chili with fresh jalapenos, a dollop of Salsa Verde, fresh cilantro, and sliced avocado. But you can go your own way at this point. Top it however your heart desires.
Let me know if you made this and what you think!
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Medium Red Onion, Chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
2 Jalapenos (1 for the chili, 1 for garnish)
2 Medium Carrots, Chopped
2 Celery Ribs, Chopped
1 teaspoon of salt.
1 tablespoon of minced garlic (or 4 minced cloves)
3 1/2 Tablespoons of Chili Seasoning
1 28oz. can of diced tomatoes, un-drained
1 Can (15 oz.) Black Beans, drained
1 Can (15 oz.) Red Kidney Beans, drained
1 Can (15 oz.) Pinto Beans, drained
2 cups of Vegetable broth
2 Bay Leaves
3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro (more for garnish)
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a dutch oven. Add the chopped onion, bell peppers, carrots, celery, and about a teaspoon of salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, and the red onion has lost it's color. About 7 minutes.
2. Add the chili seasoning and garlic and cook until aromatic, about a minute.
3. Add the beans (drained, but un-rinsed), the can of tomatoes (with liquid), and vegetable broth. Stir lightly to combine. Add two bay leaves on top of the chili. After the chili comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
4. After the chili has simmered, using a potato masher, mash the chili 5-7 times to break up some of the beans and vegetables to thicken the chili. Careful not to mash too much. You want texture. You're just thickening the chili.
5. Simmer the chili for 5 more minutes then remove from heat.
6. Stir in the cilantro and Red Wine Vinegar. Serve in bowls, and garnish. I like to garnish with a dollop of Salsa Verde, fresh cilantro, fresh jalapeno, and slice avocado.
I love making chili. But I really don't like buying seasoning mixes. They're filled with who knows what, and a lot of times heaps of sodium. It's far easier, and way more economical to make your seasonings from scratch and store in an air tight container like a mason jar.
This way, you know exactly what you're putting in.
This recipe makes enough Chili Powder for 5 of my Vegetarian Chili recipes.
10 Tablespoons: Chili Powder
3 Tablespoons: Cumin
2 Tablespoons + 1 1/2 Teaspoons: Smoked Paprika
1 Tablespoon + 2 Teaspoons: Oregano
2 Teaspoons: Cayenne Pepper (Optional)
Place all of your ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Store in an airtight container, such as a mason jar. This Chili Powder goes perfect with my Vegetarian Chili Recipe.
If you're sensitive to spice, modify the Smoked Paprika, and/or leave the Cayenne completely out. I don't recommend adding any salt, garlic salt, or black or white pepper to this seasoning so that you can add those to whatever dish you're making.
Persian cuisine is my absolute favorite! I was introduced to it a couple years ago by Persian friends of mine. This was the first dish she ever shared with me, and it's still my favorite. This is not the traditional recipe, I've made this traditional Iranian dish with my own spin, adding more vegetables and nutrients to this already nutritious dish. It's so easy to make, and like Italian food, Persian cuisine is so much better the next day after the flavors have melded together. I try to make this dish once a week.
This is a very fresh dish, full of herbs and vegetables that are almost always in season. It's green enough for Springtime, and warm and wholesome enough for a chilly Autumn night. If you're new to cooking Persian, you'll want to add a couple inexpensive staples to your spice cabinet, including Persian Dried Limes, Turmeric, and Advieh. Advieh is a Persian spice blend, and it varies from region to region in Iran. Ultimately it'll almost always have ground rose, cinnamon, and cardamon. Essentially any Advieh you purchase from your local Persian market or Amazon would be fine. This particular blend was given to me when my friend visited Iran. If you don't have Persian dried limes, or don't want to purchase them, adding fresh lime juice at the end will work perfectly. I used fresh lime juice for the first year I made this recipe. Persian dried limes are laid to dry in the sun for up to six weeks. They have a fermented citrus smell, and taste amazing in Persian cuisine, adding a uniquely fresh taste.
You can tell from the picture above that this stew is packed full of vegetables. I'm a huge Alium fan (Onion family) and my rendition of this recipe adds in green onion, leek, garlic, and white onion. If you're not a fan of onion, you may not like it. Also, as the name suggests, this is a celery stew, so celery is the shining star of this show. If you don't like the taste of cooked celery, then you definitely won't like this dish.
You'll want to do some prep work on all of your ingredients since this version is vegetarian (traditionally with lamb it would stew for three hours), the beginning will go quick and then everything will simmer together for about an hour.
My version of this stew calls for 5-6 celery stalks. You want to be picky when selecting your celery stalks and choose the dark, vibrant green stalks (most often on the outside of the head). You'll want to use the celery leaves and sometimes the leaves aren't pretty, or are yellow further into the head of celery. Select the vibrant, green leaves. Use all of the leaves, or whatever you can salvage from the head of celery.
Next, wash the celery thoroughly to remove any dirt. Chop them in half inch pieces and put them into a large bowl. You're bowl should be large enough to hold all of your ingredients at the end.
Next, take your bunch of Parsley and chop off majority of the stems. You don't want the stems because they are tough and add a strange contrast in the texture of the stew. Divide your bunch of Parsley into two, and work in two batches. Finally chop your Parsley, making sure what little stems are left, are finally chopped. I love this part because the smell of the Parsley starts filling your kitchen.
Add the Parsley to your bowl with the celery. Next, chop the dark green leaves off your leek. We're only going to use the bottom half. Chop off the roots and slice the leek length wise. Rinse under cold water, separating the leek layers to remove any dirt (and sometimes small stones) that hide in these layers. Chop the leek into half moon shapes, about 1/4 inch thick. Add the leek to your bowl of celery.
Next, chop about 4-5 green onions in small pieces. Add this to your bowl of vegetables.
Stir your vegetables and set aside. The herbs will marinade in each others flavors.
Next chop your white onion into small pieces. Slice two cloves of garlic like you would slice almonds. Keep your onion and garlic separate from your other vegetables. You'll cook the onions and garlic next.
In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat two tablespoons of olive oil. When you notice the oil shimmering, add the garlic and chopped onion with a dash of salt. You'll want to stir frequently until the onions become soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
After the onions have become soft, you'll want to add the turmeric that will immediately fill your kitchen with the wholesome smell that is Persian cooking.
Smell that smell?? That's the smell of amazing. After the spices cook and become fragrant, stir in you vegetable mix (Celery, Parsley, etc.). Cook for 1-2 minutes until the vegetables become bright green. At this time, you should have a kettle of water on the burner heating up. Pour two cups of hot water into the pot. It's best to add nearly boiling water instead of cold. Let this mixture simmer for about 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally. Be careful not to let too much water evaporate. If it becomes too thick, add a little bit of more water a splash at a time.
As I mentioned earlier, traditionally this dish is served with lamb that has simmered for several hours. Making this dish vegetarian, I wanted to add some protein. I love red kidney beans. It's best to use dried beans that you soaked for several hours, but canned works well too (and it's convenient). Just make sure you rinse the beans really well under cold water. Toss the beans around and wash off the liquid they were canned with. You can tell they're washed thoroughly when they quit foaming.
After the stew simmers for 15-20 minutes add the red kidney beans. Fold the beans into the stew, carefully making sure you're not smashing the beans.
When the beans are added and the stew is simmering, covered, take two Persian dried limes and put them in a glass and cover with boiling water from your kettle. You want the dried limes to become re-hydrated and soften slightly, this usually takes about 15 minutes. You don't want to wait too long or they'll leak out their flavor into the water that's re-hydrating them.
Tip: The dried limes will float to the top, so you may want to weigh them down with another glass on top.
After the limes have been re-hydrating for 15 minutes, using a fork, poke a couple holes into the limes and add them into the stew and simmer another 10-15 minutes, paying attention to the amount of water in the stew. Some people prefer their stew to be more watery, others (like myself) prefer it to be a bit more heartier. Add more boiling water if you need.
If you're not using dried limes, add the juice of 1 lime at this point.
All done! Serve this stew as is, in a bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil on top, or cook some Basmati rice and serve over rice (my favorite way).
Persian Celery Stew - Khoreshte Karafs (Vegetarian)
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 White Onion, Large - Chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic - Sliced
5-6 Celery Stalks - Sliced into 1/2" pieces
1 Bunch of Parsley - Finely Chopped
1 Leek, green leaves removed. Cut into 1/4" pieces
4 Green Onions, Chopped
1 Cup or 1 Can of Red Kidney Beans - Drained, Rinsed.
1 Teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Teaspoon of Advieh
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Mint Leaves
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Persian Dried Limes, Soaked (or Juice of 1 Lime)
1 Teaspoon Salt
2-3 Cups of boiling water.
Prep: Put a pot of water on to heat up, nearly boiling.
1. Heat the oil of medium-high heat. When it's shimmering, add the onion and garlic and salt. Cook until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the turmeric and paprika, and cook until spices become fragrant, about a minute or so.
2. Add the chopped celery, parsley, leek, and green onions and saute for 1-2 minutes until the vegetables turn bright green, then add 2 cups of the boiling water. Add your Advieh. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
3. Re-hydrate your dried limes in a glass with boiling water. Allow them to soak about 15 minutes.
4. After the stew has simmered for 20 minutes or so, add the beans and fold them in gently. Monitor the water. If the stew is reduced too much, add a little more boiling water. Continue to simmer another 10-15 minutes.
5. Remove your limes from the soaking liquid and discard the water they were re-hydrating in. Poke a couple holes in the limes using a fork. Add these to the stew and simmer another 10 minutes. If using fresh lime juice, add it at this time.
Serve the stew as is, or over Basmati rice. The stew makes for great leftovers, and in my opinion tastes even better the next day! Enjoy!!
Jazz it up: You can adjust the salt and pepper to your liking, and you can add red pepper flakes while it's simmering. Experiment with adding fresh mint, and cilantro.
Let me know what you think, and how you changed this recipe to work for you.
We read the ingredient list on the food we put into our body's, but why not our pets too? If I can't pronounce it, I don't eat it. The same for my pups. These natural dog biscuits are super easy to make, require just a few ingredients you probably always have in your pantry, and the puppies go insane every time you pop open the container.
1 Cup smooth peanut butter
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
2/4 cups of milk
1/4 cup of chicken broth
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the milk, chicken broth, egg, flour, and peanut butter. You may have to use your hands. Adding more flour if too wet, and a tad more milk or broth if too dry. Your dough should be the same consistency as Play-Doh or Gingerbread dough.
Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Using a bottle cap or small circle cookie cutter press out as many circle biscuits as you can. Place them on a foil lined ungreased baking pan.
Combine and roll out the remaining dough and repeat until the dough is used up. Bake the biscuits for 20 minutes and then flip the biscuits and continue baking for another 15 minutes or so.
After they completely cool store the biscuits in an airtight container in the freezer. The cold biscuits is an added treat to the pup's snack time.
Okay, it's not a secret family recipe. This is how I make my homemade marinara sauce. I love this marinara sauce, and it brings Spaghetti Tuesday to a whole new level. When I was visiting my family recently in Georgia, I taught my sister how to make this, and it was all the rage in her household. She even froze it and made it a week later, still tasting great! It's so simple, and if you make this for your next family dinner, or friends night, I assure you they're going to think your grandmother came over and slaved over the stove all day! Shhh.... it'll be our little secret how easy it is! This sauce pairs well with a glass (or bottle if that's how you roll) of your favorite red wine and friends and family.
8 oz. Baby Bella mushrooms, chopped finely
1 28oz. can of tomato sauce
1 28oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes
1 Can of stewed tomatoes
1 Small can of tomato paste
1 Stalk of Celery (plus leaves if available)
3 Cloves of garlic thinly sliced
Salt and Pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons of dried herbs of your choice (Italian blend, oregano, etc.)
1/2 Teaspoon red pepper flakes.
Half of a large onion
1/4 Cup red wine (My favorite is Pinot Noir)
1 Teaspoon of freshly chopped rosemary
3-6 Chopped fresh basil leaves
The prep work for this sauce is the hardest and most time consuming part (and it doesn't take long). The rest of the time is allowing this sauce to simmer slowly, allowing all the magic to happen.
Take your onion, 1 carrot (leaving 1 carrot aside for the simmering), celery stalk (and leaves if you have them) and run through a food processor until chopped small. Thinly slice garlic longways (like sliced almonds). Thinly slice and chop your shallot. Wipe off your mushrooms with a damp paper towel to remove dirt. Don't put the mushrooms under running water. Finely chop the mushrooms. Chop fresh herbs. Then, take your can of whole peeled tomatoes and pour into a bowl (don't drain off the liquid). With your hands, gently squeeze and squish the tomatoes to create a sauce.
In a large dutch oven or sauce pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add carrot, celery, onion mixture, and shallot and season with some salt. Sautee for 1-2 minutes, then add garlic, and season with a tad of salt. Sautee for another minute or so and then add mushrooms. After 1 - 2 minutes more, add tomato paste and stir. After about 30 seconds, add wine and simmer until most of the alcohol cooks off, about a minute. Add all the remaining tomatoes, entire carrot, red pepper flakes and dried and fresh herbs. Season once more with salt and pepper and a quick pour (about half a teaspoon) of olive oil on top of the sauce. Stir and slowly simmer with lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Simmer for 45 minutes to over an hour, stirring occasionally. After 45 minutes or so, taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed. The longer the sauce cooks, the more the flavor develops. After sauce is done, remove the entire carrot and discard.
This sauce is amazing over cooked pasta, the sauce for your favorite lasagna recipe, or anywhere marinara sauce is called for.
Wondering why we had a whole carrot, and then throw it away?
I was taught a while ago that adding an entire carrot to your tomato sauce absorbs the acid. I thought this was an old wives tale, so I took a bite of the carrot after cooking it, and it was so bitter! I'm not sure of the chemistry behind it, but it works!
I love making my chicken broth homemade, but let's face it, sometimes we just don't have time! Here's my way of jazzing up store bought chicken broth. Keep in mind, the health benefits of bone broth come from simmering for 24+ hours, and when you buy store bought chicken broth it can contain hidden sugars and artificial bullion flavors. My favorite is Trader Joe's organic free range chicken broth. It has the least amount of ingredients for typical store bought chicken broth.
1 Bunch of Parsley
2-4 Sprigs of fresh Thyme
4-5 Cloves of garlic
2 Stalks of celery, with leaves
1 Onion, quartered
2 Boxes of Organic Chicken Both
You ready for this? This is where things get complicated. Just kidding! Pour your chicken broth in a pot, throw in the vegetables. Simmer on low for 45 minutes to an hour and a half. Strain the broth through a collander, reserving the broth. Discard the vegetables. Viola! USe the broth in your favorite recipes calling for chicken broth, or sip it on a bone-chilling night.
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