On today’s menu: Dawn’s Homemade Zero Waste-Vegan Chili. I’ll be the first to admit, it’s a long name, but who has time to come up with clever names when you’re cooking a bad ass meal like this one! Not to brag or anything, but my dad once described it as “Woah man, this is the S***!” So, take away from that what you will ;).
Now, I love making chili because of the simplicity. It can be dressed up or kept bare and still be absolutely DELISH! It’s possibly one of the easiest Zero Waste meals that you can make. It stores well, keeps for a long time in the fridge or even longer in the freezer and is the perfect, late night meal (for those of us hustling to the wee hours of the morning).
To make this recipe ZW, buy all your goods in bulk with your own jars (spices, beans, olive oil) and hit up a farmer’s market or even the regular grocery store for the veggies. Buy them loose with no plastic bags and be sure to wash them when you get home. For freshest ingredients, I prefer the farmer’s market for sure!
Meal Prep time: 30 minutes of prep-not including the reconstitution of the beans.
Cook time: 1 hour (again, not including the beans-that will soon be explained).
¾ cup red kidney beans
¾ cup black turtle beans
12 tomatoes, whole
1 medium onion
1 tbs of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
2 medium red peppers
1.5 cups of Veggie broth (I use my home made version)
1 tbsp sea salt
2 tsp Black pepper
1 tbsp Cumin
1 tsp Chili powder
1 tsp Cayenne
1/8 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes *if you’re not a fan of too much spice, omit this*
Optional to serve with:
Corn chips (bought in bulk)
Chopped green onions
Nutritional yeast (or grated cheese for non-vegans)
I buy my beans dried and in bulk with my own jars. You’re going to need to start by reconstituting them. You can soak them overnight and then cook them until tender if you’d like, but I aim myself towards the “instant” way. It’s not literally instant but it is the faster way. Rinse off the beans in a colander, put them in a pot and cover them with water. The ratio is about 2:1-water to beans but keep an eye on them. Add more water if you need. Cover the beans and put on high until they boil. Once the boiling starts, drop the temperature to low (1-2) and leave them to cook for around 2 hours. This is the faster version since you’re not having them soak overnight, but you can really do it whichever way you prefer.
I don’t include this in the cooking time since it only takes 2 minutes of work.
From here on out, you basically just let the beans do their thing.
Next up are the tomatoes. I buy them fresh and whole and work with them from here. Cut them into quarters, de-seed and core them. The seeds and cores go directly into the compost, unless you maybe have some chickens, I hear they like this as a snack :P. Once all of your tomatoes are ready, keep them aside for later use.
Heat the olive oil in a deep pot, dice the onion and slice the garlic. Add to the hot pot. Cover and cook them on medium until the onions are translucent, stirring frequently. Roughly chop the red peppers and add to the onions, let cook for another 3 minutes. To this, add your prepped tomatoes, veggie broth and sea salt. Cover and let simmer on low-medium heat for 20 minutes, or until super tender.
When you have reached your desired tenderness (not falling apart, but you can put a fork in the flesh and remove it with ease), remove from heat, but keep in the pot. You’re going to use a submersion blender to blend the veggies until they’re smooth. If you don’t have a submersion blender, use a regular one and just work in batches. Be careful while handling the hot veggies and broth, I’ve gotten splashed a number of times and it’s hot! Like, wicked hot!
Before you’re fully finished blending, stir a fork through it to insure that all the large chunks are out. After your little smoothness check, you add all your beans and the spices. Start with the quantities above for your spices and alter them to your personal preference. Let the chili simmer on low-medium heat, partially uncovered for about 30-40 minutes to really blend the flavors and to cook off any excess water. Don’t forget to stir the chili every few minutes to avoid burning.
Serve straight or prettied up with sliced avocados, corn chips and nutritional yeast (shredded cheese for non-vegans).
Hope you enjoy this recipe! For other recipes like this, or general tips and tricks for living a Zero Waste lifestyle, check out my website www.live-waste-free.com. Also www.facebook.com/livewastefree.