Fall's my favorite time of the year to cook. The kitchen's perfectly comfortable, no longer too hot to bear, nor yet so cold that you just want to snuggle up on the couch. Outside the window, the oak tree in the backyard is changing to soft fall colors. And there's a butternut squash, one of my favorite Fall vegetables, sitting on the kitchen counter.
The Holidays are near enough to give you a warm glow, but not so close as to make you sweat.
One of my favorite foods to cook up when the weather starts to cool down is a bowl of chili. I can eat it first thing in the morning, straight from the pot, or scarf it down late at night, sitting in bed, the hot bowl warming my hands.
But the best time has to be when I sit down at the dinner table with Desi and Jay and they polish off their bowls and ask for more.
This is a versatile chili and it comes together rather easily. I love the mild sweetness and creaminess of butternut squash in this recipe, but use your favorite winter squash-- there are no bad choices there. Mix up the beans too, if you wish. Cannelini beans are great in chilis, and so are chickpeas. So long as you follow the basic recipe, you'll end up with the tastiest, most soothing meal you'll eat in a long time.
Vegan Three Bean Chili
- 14 oz kidney beans (all liquid drained)
- 14 oz pinto beans (all liquid drained)
- 14 oz black beans (all liquid drained)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoon cumin seeds (lightly roasted)
- 1 medium red onion (diced)
- 2 medium carrots (diced)
- 1 large green bell pepper (diced)
- 2 medium tomatoes (finely diced)
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon sage (sub with 1 teaspoon if using dry)
- 1 tablespoon rosemary (sub with 1 teaspoon if using dry)
- ½ butternut squash (peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes. about 2 cups)
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- In a mortar and pestle, or a food processor, mash together the garlic, red pepper flakes, and cumin into a coarse paste.
- Heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven.
- Add the garlic-red-pepper-cumin mixture and let it sizzle, stirring lightly, about 30 seconds.
- Add the onions, green peppers and carrots. Season with some salt and ground black pepper. Cook, stirring, about 3-4 minutes or until the onions start to soften.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and herbs. Mix everything well and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes are mushy and very soft.
- Add the beans and the butternut squash. Mix well. Add 2 cups of water.
- Bring the chili to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook 40 minutes. Check the chili every few minutes and give it a mix. If the mixture gets too dry, add more water, ½ cup at a time.
- Check salt and add more if needed. Garnish, if desired, with more rosemary and sage. Serve hot.