Fall is always the craziest time of year, in my opinion. School is back in session, football dominates almost all free time, the days get shorter, the weather gets colder, and then holidays start popping out of nowhere!
I love the fresh tastes of fall fare, but sometimes I’m just too busy to get all the way to the farmer’s market and cook extensive meals. It’s unfortunate, because with the turn of seasons all I want to do is throw on comfy sweats and eat something warm and hearty and flavorful.
ENTER: My slow cooker. It’s my absolute favorite tool for yummy meals that taste like they took forever, even though they didn’t.
This Meatless Monday recipe is a healthy go-to for anyone who’s crunched on time, looking for flavor, and really hungry. It will satisfy even the most hard-headed meat-eaters. (Trust me, it has.) I don’t use the term “Award-Winning” too loosely either; two years ago this chili recipe won third place out of about 20 entries in a chili cook-off, and it was the only meatless option. Not too shabby, right?
Award-Winning Fajita Chili (gluten-free, vegan)
-3 organic bell peppers (red, orange, yellow)
-one large or two medium/small organic onions (yellow or sweet white)
-16 oz organic white mushrooms
-5 cloves organic garlic
-2 28 oz cans organic diced tomatoes (with jalapenos or chilis for extra spice)
-2 15oz cans organic low-sodium black beans (drained & rinsed) OR 2 cups dry, soaked, cooked, & rinsed
-1 15oz can organic low-sodium great northern beans (drained & rinsed) OR 1 cup dry, soaked, cooked, & rinsed
-1 15oz can organic low-sodium pinto beans (drained & rinsed) OR 1 cup dry, soaked, cooked, & rinsed
-Organic olive oil spray
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp oregano (dry)
1 tbsp basil (dry)
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1. In a food processor (or by hand), finely chop onions, peppers, and mushrooms (separately). Mince garlic.
2. In a large pan, saute the onions and garlic until they are translucent (2-3 minutes). Add chopped peppers and saute until soft (2-3 minutes). Transfer to the slow cooker.
3. Spray pan with olive oil and add chopped mushrooms. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until they are soft and cooked through. Drain and add to slow cooker.
4. Add the canned tomatoes to your slow cooker. Rinse the beans and add to slow cooker, along with spices.
5. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 hours. If cooking overnight, leave on warm the next day until ready to eat.
6. Add some cayenne pepper for extra spice if needed.
Serving suggestions: serve over rice or macaroni noodles.
Wendy Fry is a vegan athlete who currently lives in Philadelphia and teaches first grade. Read more about her healthy transformation here: www.nomeatathlete.com/wendy/