My Uncle Ralph, a true wise guy, used to make the best chili. And served with my Aunt Laura’s home- baked bread, it was the “hit” of the “family.” My vegan version is just as spicy as Uncle Ralph’s but won’t shorten your lifespan, since it has no saturated fat to clog your arteries. A very heart healthy cooking recipe.
Makes 3-4 Servings
Extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 red onion, diced
3–4 teaspoons chili powder (or to your taste)
Scant pinch smoked paprika
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small can chopped green chilies
1 (32-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 squares non-dairy, dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup quinoa, rinsed well
1 cup dried pinto or borlotti beans, rinsed well
1 bay leaf
Spring or filtered water
Cracked black pepper
2–3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
Place a small amount of oil along with garlic and onion in a soup pot over medium heat. When the onion begins to sizzle, season with a pinch of salt, chili powder to taste (it gets hotter as it cooks), and paprika and sauté for 2–3 minutes. Stir in celery, a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute. Add chilies, tomatoes, tomato paste, and chocolate and stir well. Add quinoa, beans, bay leaf, and 3 cups of spring or filtered water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 hour or until the beans are soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer for 3–4 minutes more. Remove bay leaf and serve garnished with fresh parsley.
COOK’S TIP: Borlotti beans are the Italian answer to pinto beans so if you can’t find them, feel free to substitute pinto beans in this dish.