Tag Archives: peppers

Award Winning Vegan Pumpkin Chili

veganchili

It’s been a while.  Things have been a little crazy, but wanted to share this recipe.  If you plan to cook to a big crowd for Halloween or Thanksgiving chili is the way to go.  I got a prize at work for entering my vegan pumpkin chili to a Chili Cook-off contest.  It starts out a little sweet and ends with a kick.  I added pumpkin flavors to give it an autumn twist.  The level of hotness is fiery hot, so adjust the recipe to your spice level.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 zucchini (cut in cubes)
  • 1 red pepper (cut into cubes)
  • 1 cubanelle pepper (cut into cubes)
  • 2 serrano peppers (remove seeds and cut into small cubes)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (remove seeds and cut into small cubes)
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can of organic pumpkin (It has to be a can of pure pumpkin.  Don’t use pumpkin pie.)
  • 1 ½ tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp of cayenne
  • ½ tsp of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp of vegan worcestershire sauce (I used Wizard’s Organic sauce and you can get this at Whole Foods.)
  • ¼ bottle of Sam Adam’s Pumpkin Beer
  • 1 cup of corn
  • 1 15 oz can of cannellini beans
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans
  • 1 ½ cups of veggie broth
  • spring onions (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil under medium heat in a large pot
  2. Sauté onion and garlic
  3. Once onions are slightly caramelized sauté zucchini, red pepper, cubanelle pepper, jalapeno, and serrano pepper until soft
  4. Add crushed tomatoes, pumpkin, beer, chili, cumin, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, worcestershire sauce, cinnamon, and cayenne.  Cover pot and cook for 15 minutes on medium low heat
  5. Add cannellini beans, black beans, and corn
  6. Add veggie broth as needed to create the thickness you need.  I used all 1 ½ cups of veggie broth
  7. Cook on low heat for 45 minutes
  8. It gets better overnight if you transfer the chili into a slow cooker and keep the temperature on warm
  9. Dress it with spring onions before you serve
  10. Sprinkle mild shredded cheddar if you like to make it vegetarian

A Very Vegan Thanksgiving

Oh Thanksgiving – a day for family, football, and lots of feasting.  I attended typical Thanksgiving dinners with turkey, stuffing, and gravy.  What on earth did I eat then?  Rule #1 if you’re a vegetarian or vegan attending a party – eat before you go or bring a vegetarian dish.  Trust me – people will appreciate a healthy dish in the mix.

The first Thanksgiving meal was at Richmond VA.  I made a pumpkin cheesecake that happens to be dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free.  Tastes like the real deal.  This was so easy to make.  I got the recipe from this video.  Give it a try!  You’ll be impressed.  My family absolutely loved it.  They didn’t believe it was a cheesecake without cheese.

pumpkin

I brought over eggplants I had in the fridge.  Forgot to take a photo, but I basically placed them in the oven for about 20 minutes and had it with sauce.  My mother-in-law then turned it into a sweet and sour eggplant salad for me. It was delish!

The next day I had my second Thanksgiving meal at my Uncle Mark’s lovely home.  They had turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and all of the above except for a vegetable dish.  I had a feeling about this, so I brought over a big dish of roasted vegetables with  beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, garlic, and white potatoes.  It’s seasoned with fresh thyme, rosemary, marjoram, sea salt, olive oil, and pepper.  They were soft in the inside but crispy on the outside.  Let’s just say there was nothing left at the end of the night.

veg

I was going to make a lentil loaf with cranberry sauce as another vegan dish, but there was so much food.  I’ll table that for another blog post, maybe for Christmas.

And then there are Chinese dishes.  One of Mama Chiang’s famous appetizers is her pork stuffed vegetables with oyster sauce.  Of course she wouldn’t leave out her plant-eating daughter, so she made me a special dish.  Instead of meat, she stuffed the vegetables with a secret tofu mix.  It’s better than the meat version.  It’s like a light hors d’oeuvre.  The slightly sweet topping was a perfect combo with peppers, tofu, eggplant, and even bitter melon.  I don’t like bitter melon, so my mom didn’t want to torture me.  She also made me yummy green beans, so I didn’t feel left out from the fam digging into the green bean casserole.  Mama Chiang is always so thoughtful.

stuffedtofu

Being aware of what I eat this year made me appreciate the time with my family.  When I was a kid and up until now, my uncle always made an American Thanksgiving dinner.  I always looked forward to it because I pretty much ate Chinese food every day.  I realized it’s more than the American meal.  It’s an American tradition where I can really catch up with my family and be thankful.

Quinoa Party Boats

Endives are great for any appetizer combination. I like to call endives party boats because they’re a perfect dish to serve at a party. I always have endives handy in my fridge because they last for long time, so if someone plans to come over for a visit or if a potluck comes up I can whip up a quick app. You can simply put any ingredient in your party boat like hummus or marinated vegetables. Today I’m going to use quinoa (pronounced keen-wah).

I was at Costco the other day and came across a tasting station. My ears perked up when I heard “Try a sample of this delicious quinoa.” I can’t tell you how healthy quinoa is. People ask me where do you get your protein and quinoa is on my list. First of all, it’s a complete protein which includes all nine essential amino acids. Secondly, it has low glycemic index – a food rate based on how much they make your blood sugar rise. Its gluten free, diary free, and complicated cooking free. They call it the “gold of the Incas” and indeed it is. I typically season plain quinoa, but this Nature’s Earthly Choice Quinoa is easy peasy and cooks in 15 minutes. There’s a variety of flavors you can choose from: garden vegetable, sundried tomato, roasted garlic & olive oil, and mushroom. I happen to taste all of them, but I decided to get garden vegetable and roasted garlic & olive oil. I’m using garden vegetable for the party boats.

Makes about 12 party boats

Ingredients
1 box of Nature’s Earthly Choice Quinoa Garden Vegetable (stove top instructions are listed on the box)
1/3 cup mushrooms in cubes
1/3 cup orange bell pepper in cubes
1/3 cup yellow heirloom tomatoes in cubes
2-3 endives (depending on size)

Quinoa

1. I wanted to add more texture to the quinoa mix, so I chopped up a few vegetables I had in the fridge – mushrooms, orange bell pepper, and yellow tomatoes. You can mix any vegetables you want.

2. As you can see it’s very simple and fast.

3. Add mushrooms, bell pepper, and tomatoes 10 minutes into cooking the quinoa.

4. It should take 15 minutes to cook. My rule of thumb is waiting till the quinoa is translucent enough so you can see the rings.

Endives

1. Cut the core about 1/2 inch and a few leaves will fall. Remove the leaves from the outside, which are the bitter ones, and take the leaves that fell from the inside. The leaves in the inside are your party boats.

2. If there are a few leaves attached to the core, then you may have to cut a few inches of the core again. Gather the leaves that fall for your party boats.

Party Boats

1. Take a spoonful of quinoa and place it on your endive

2. Enjoy the party!