This week is vegetarian dinner week! Mike and I decided to do the humane thing try to eat less meat. Ok… that’s not true. We ran out of chicken and realized it after my weekly trip to the grocery store. I confess. But we also decided NOT to run out and get more chicken. So our dinners this week will, in fact, all be vegetarian. Now, let’s get started…
I have this friend, a former colleague actually, who is hilarious and a great cook all at the same time. Every day at work she’d have some ridiculous story to tell, ranging from the shocking number of exchange students who lived with her family over the years or updating us on her brother’s audition for the Blue Man Group. She was chock full of stories. And, as I mentioned, she cooked. A lot. She always had something creative and interesting for lunch as the rest of us sat there eating our sad turkey sandwiches. In fact, she once came to work with a bandage on her hand after having stitches following an encounter with a can of black beans. I could not imagine ever opening a can of beans with such gusto that I’d need stitches, but somehow it made complete sense when it happened to her.
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She recently shared this recipe for cashew chili with me; it originally came from an ex-boyfriend. She booted the guy and kept the recipe. Can’t blame her. When I first read the recipe, I wasn’t sure how the nuttiness of the cashews would work with the chili flavor, but I had to give it a try.
I made a huge pot of this chili and split it into containers for me to take for lunch. My husband doesn’t care for celery (my pot was loaded with celery), so I didn’t think he would be interested in this. He took one bite and suddenly a few of my lunch containers of chili became HIS lunch containers of chili.
This chili was incredible – so delicious! And not one bit of meat in it. Plus, it is ridiculously healthy.
I’ll give you the recipe as she sent it to me and will include the changes that I made in the instructions.
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 3-5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 large green peppers, chopped
- 2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
- Optional: 3 carrots, chopped
- 1 can corn
- 1 large can whole tomatoes
- 1 large can or equal part dry kidney beans (or mix black beans and kidney beans)
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano, minced
- 1 cup cashews roasted unsalted (If you can only find salted, that’s fine. Just be sure to adjust the salt that you add later.)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon coriander
In a large pot, sauté onions and garlic in vegetable oil until onions soften, a few minutes. Add peppers, celery, and carrots and sauté until soft (10 min max). I only had one pepper and I didn’t use carrots, so I used extra celery. I also added two jalepenos with the seeds and ribs removed.
Add all the spices and herbs and fry to take the edge off, a few minutes. Add can of tomatoes, crushing them as you do. Add beans, corn and red wine vinegar shortly thereafter. (I skipped the corn because I didn’t have any. I also only used one can of black beans… it worked great.) I minced a couple chipotles and added them for some additional smokiness and heat. In my opinion, that was a great addition! Don’t forget…those puppies are HOT.
I also had to add a little bit of water. The liquid from the can of tomatoes wasn’t enough. If you do add water, make sure to taste after about 15-20 minutes of simmering to make sure it is flavorful enough.
Let the whole thing boil for about 30 minutes.
During this time, brown the cashews in an oven or toaster. You can also add them to a dry skillet. Be sure to keep tossing them so they don’t burn. Add the cashews to the pot and boil for another 5 minutes.
Serve with the usual chili accompaniments.