I love chili. I mean, I really love chili. I love chili that is bold, chunky, "meaty", and full of beans. I like it smokey, with a little bit of a kick. And I like guacamole on top. I rarely use a spoon to eat my chili, but instead opt for the more versatile tortilla chip.
I make chili year-round and I always make it on Sundays during football season. Chili just goes with football. Football Sundays are junk-food days in our house, so having a bowl of something that still feels like junk-food but is actually good for you is an added bonus.
I know you have heard me say this a million times, but I will say it again. When you use canned beans, always buy the reduced sodium version and thoroughly strain and rinse them. Canned beans have a ridiculous amount of salt in them and this gets rid of a large portion of it. And it gets rid of that goopy, yucky crap they can them in. You can absolutely prepare your own beans from scratch and keep the sodium way down.
Veggies are essential in chili as they add to the "chunky" element. I just dice them up and throw them in the crock pot raw with everything else. I used to saute them ahead of time, but have found that it makes no difference once the chili has finished cooking. So that saves me 10 minutes and makes for one less pan for my husband to wash when cleaning up after me.
The other thing we have to talk about is meat, or fake meat in my case. It is only recently that I have even been able to eat fake meat because everything on the market was made with glutenous ingredients. I think Beyond Meat's chicken strips and ground meat were the first fake meat that was gluten-free and that I was able to eat. Gardein has been making fake meat products forever, but they did not have a gluten-free option until about a year ago. For my chili I use either Beyond Meat's or Gardein's fake ground beef. I'm embarrassed to say that it was only today that I decided to check into the total nutritional differences between normal ground beef and "fake" ground beef. I was amazed to realize that both meatless products had more protein than ground beef!
Other than the sodium content, it is easy to see that either of the meatless products are a much healthier option for you. Although Gardein's Beefless Ground wins in the nutritional contest, I actually prefer the texture and flavor of Beyond Meat's Beefy Crumble. In fact, I remember when it first came out a year or so ago, the Today Show had a blind taste contest with real ground beef and Beyond Meat's version and most of them thought the meatless product was the "real" meat! Fake meat has come a long way. You won't be able to tell the difference and the health benefits alone are the best reason to give this recipe a try as is. I buy mine from the frozen food section in my local Target; so you should be able to find it fairly easily.
Like I hinted to above, the cool thing about my chili is that I make it in a crock pot. It is so easy that it almost makes me feel like I'm being lazy—and it's ok to be lazy on football Sundays. Twenty minutes of prep work, throw it all in the crock-pot, set it for either 4 or 6 hours and you are done.
Time: 20 minutes prep, 4-6 hours in the crock pot
1 can each of reduced sodium black beans, red kidney beans and great north or cannellini beans
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 c. frozen sweet corn
1 13.7 oz bag of gluten-free meatless crumbles
2 large carrots, diced
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
2 jalapeños, diced (or none if you don’t like heat)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
1-2 tsp. kosher salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp. course ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ancho chili powder
Drain and rinse well all three cans of beans in a colander. Place in crock pot.
Dice all the vegetables and place in crock pot.
Add the remaining ingredients to crock pot and carefully stir to mix.
Set the crock pot for 4-6 hours, stirring and possibly reseasoning every few hours as needed and get ready for game day!
Serve in a bowl with a dollop of guacamole, vegan sour cream, vegan shredded cheese or just eat with a bag of tortilla chips!
Nutritional Estimations for 1 serving: Calories 275. Total Fat 2 g. Cholesterol 0 mg. Sodium 1118 mg. Potassium 363 mg. Total Carbs 45 g. Fiber 14 g. Sugars 10 g. Protein 22 g. Vitamin A 91%. Vitamin C 85%. Calcium 12%. Iron 29%.
Don't worry if it's just of the two of you eating this huge crock pot full of yummy chili. It's perfect for lunches during the week and freezes well.
Enjoy the game!