I love German food. It’s one of my favorite parts about living abroad. However, there are times when I need a break from the meat and fried potatoes. In the summer, it’s easy enough to whip up a salad and claim I’m “healthy.” But once the weather gets cold, I want something hot to eat.
The problem is that I’m also feeding a man whose diet consists almost entirely of meat and he needs a meal that will fill all 6’4” of him. So I ventured into the impossible- find a hot meal, filled with veggies that’s also protein rich and delicious. Bonus points if it includes chocolate.
So I began experimenting and eventually came up with the vegetarian chili recipe below. It’s delicious AND it gives you a chance to claim that you have a “secret ingredient” (spoiler: chocolate) which I’ve always considered the mark of a great cook. It’s the reason I’ve been ruining otherwise good meals by adding cinnamon for the past 2 years (mostly a terrible idea).
• 1 sweet potato, diced small
• 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 bag frozen corn
• *1 red bell pepper chopped (optional)
• * 2 medium zucchini diced (optional)
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
• 3 tablespoons tomato paste
• 2 cans (15 ounces) white beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
• 2 tablespoons chili powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 3 squares semi-sweet chocolate (approximately 1 ounce) or 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1.5 cup vegetable broth
Toppings: shredded cheese, jalapeño, avocado, cilantro, green onions, sour cream
In a heavy pot (I used my enamel Dutch oven), heat olive oil and add chopped onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Then add tomato paste, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Once the spices are fragrant (less than 1 minute), add sweet potatoes and carrots and mix until coated in spices.
Allow potatoes and carrots to cook until they start to get tender. If your pan gets hot and you’re worried about burning, you can add a couple of tablespoons of chicken broth to the pan and lower the heat.
Add all of your beans to the pan as well as the can of crushed tomatoes and chocolate or sugar.
Add chicken broth to thin out the sauce a little and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and add corn.
Continue to simmer for 10 minutes (and potatoes and carrots are fork tender), stirring occasionally.
Finish with toppings above and some cornbread and enjoy! If you’re looking to kick up your family’s veggie intake, add in the optional red pepper and zucchini.
Author’s Profile: Kelly is a DOD wife, devoted dog-mom, a mediocre cook, a whiskey aficionado and an avid traveler who’s exploring the Kaiserslautern area with dog and husband in tow.
Featured Image Photo Credit: © Kelly Lauer