slow cooker season is upon us

This past Sunday it was rainy and gray and gloomy out so I decided to bust out my Crock-Pot and make some chili. 

I do not discriminate against different types of chili.  I like traditional beef chili, Texas style with steak, white turkey chili– they’re all good in my book.  However, the chili recipe I fall back on time and time again is actually of the vegetarian variety.

It involves not one, not two, no not even three, but four types of beans.  It’s very hardy and packed with protein so much so that you do not even think about missing any sort of meat.

The original recipe called for couscous to be added during the last few minutes of cooking but I didn’t have any so I substituted quinoa instead and I really like what it did.  It made it thicker, added some color, (I had red and white quinoa on hand) and added to the non-meat meatiness of it.  So if you haven’t already broken out your slow cooker this season, now’s the time!

Vegetarian Chili (adapted slightly from Robin Miller’s recipe found at www.foodnetwork.com)

  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white (cannellini) beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen baby lima beans or regular lima beans
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried Mexican oregano or regular oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients but the quinoa, shredded cheese and salt and pepper. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.

Five to 10 minutes before serving (depending on temperature of slow cooker) add quinoa, cover and cook, until quinoa is tender. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.

Just before serving, top each serving with shredded cheese.

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