This not-quite-vegetarian recipe – from Runner’s World contributing food writer Mark Bittman – features lots of vegetables and fiber-rich beans, seasoned with a small amount of meat, which lends rich flavor while keeping the fat to a minimum. Use whatever beams you like, or add lentils, which break down and add meaty texture to the chili. Serve with brown rice, crackers, or whole grain bread.
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 Pound ground beef, pork, turkey, or chicken
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 small eggplants, cubed
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 Cup quartered mushrooms
- 1 fresh or dried hot chile pepper, seeded and minced
- 1 Teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 Teaspoon minced fresh oregano
- 1 Cup peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
- 4 Cups canned kidney beans, liquid reserved
- 2 Cups vegetable broth or more as needed, optional
- chopped fresh cilantro or scallions
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the meat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, or until well browned all over. Remove the meat from the pot and drain off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat.
Return the pot to the stove over medium0high heat. Add the onion and garlic. Stir and cook for 1 minute, or until just softened. Add the eggplants, zucchini, carrots, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until they begin to soften and become fragrant, adjusting the heat so that nothing scorches (the vegetables should start to caramelize a bit and dry out).
Stir in the chile pepper (if using), cumin, and oregano. Add the tomatoes and beans with enough of their liquid to submerge everything (use the broth or water if you don’t have enough). Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally and adding more liquid if necessary, for 15 minutes, or until the bean are very tender and the flavors have mellowed. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve garnished with cilantro or scallions.