Meatless Monday is back baby! It never actually went anywhere, I just kept forgetting to blog about it. In my quest to get healthy and lose a few pounds before my 20th anniversary trip in April, I have been testing out a plant based diet. I keep going back and forth on whether I want to include fish in my diet. I am thinking of limiting it to once or twice a month. While I decide, I am loving some of the vegetarian dishes I have made. For lunch yesterday I made a polenta pizza. . .a grilled slice of polenta topped with a slice of heirloom tomato, shredded mozzarella, garlic and basil.
This chili will knock your socks off. Not only is it healthy, it is a flavorful and spicy bowl of vegetables, beans, chiles, spices and wine. You can easily serve this to the die-hard meat eaters in your house, and it will be gobbled up.
This chili is also vegan, which means it contains no dairy products. If you are not into the vegan thing, feel free to top your bowl of chili with sour cream and sharp cheddar. The chili is quite spicy. As you see it has a jalapeño AND a chipotle chili. If you would like a more mild version, use half of the jalapeño with the seeds removed. Try not to cut back on the chipotle because it adds a deep, smoky flavor.
For her unique technique — which involves marinating tofu for extra flavor! — keep reading.
10 ounces packaged firm tofu
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 cups liquid reserved from the cooked red kidney beans
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
4 teaspoons chili powder
1 jalapeño, chopped
1 smoked chipotle pepper, chopped
1 can (5.5 ounce) of tomato paste
2 cups chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 cups cooked brown lentils
3 1/2 cups cooked red kidney beans
1 large zucchini, diced
4 cups water (for flavor use reserved liquid from the cooked beans)
1 tablespoon salt
The night before, wash and soak the red kidney beans. Cook the beans which have soaked overnight in unsalted water (very important not to add the salt as it will slow the cooking process). Use enough water (about 8 cups) to cook the beans. This should give you enough liquid when cooled to soak the tofu (1 1/2 cup), and enough reserved liquid needed to cook the chili.
In a bowl crumble the tofu into small pieces to resemble coarsely ground beef. Pour in the red wine and 1 1/2 cup of the liquid from the boiled beans. Allow to marinate approx. 30-40 minutes. This will give the tofu some color and flavor.
In a large Dutch oven heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions. Cook for 4 minutes to allow to brown. Add the garlic, continue to cook for an additional minute. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, jalapeño, chipotle, and tomato paste. Add the chopped tomatoes, the red kidney beans, lentils, bay leaves, and zucchini. Pour in the tofu and marinade, plus the 3-4 cups of reserved liquid and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for 35-45 minutes to allow the flavors to absorb and the chili to thicken. Add the salt near the end of the cooking process.