lenten chili with guacamole
This lenten vegetarian chili with guacamole is an easy weeknight favorite and if you end up with leftovers – it tastes even better the day after!
Chili can spark great debates about how it should be eaten. Whether you like yours on it’s own or with rice, is up to you. During Lent, we always serve our chili over brown rice. The reason is a little nutrition combined with traditional know how that amounts to a complete protein on your plate.
There are twenty different amino acids that can form a protein, nine of these amino acids, our body can’t produce on its own. In order to be considered “complete,” a protein must contain all nine of these essential amino acids in roughly equal amounts. For this reason, these nine amino acids are considered essential amino acids —we need them in food form because our body can not synthesize these from other available amino acids. Since proteins are the building blocks of the body this becomes a consideration during long periods of fasting.
The majority of plants and grains do not contain complete proteins; however, meat, dairy, seafood and eggs do. During long meatless and dairy-less periods it is possible to obtain the necessary protein for our diets through the combining of certain foods. Traditional and ethnic fasting recipes tend to combine legumes and grains in some fashion.
While it is not necessary to consume complete proteins at every meal, over the course of a day or days it makes a difference. The following food combinations yield a complete complement of amino acids.
- Grains (rice, corn, wheat, barley, etc.) and legumes (peas, beans, lentils)
- Seeds (Sesame or sunflower) and legumes
- Hummus and pita
- lentils and rice
These are good examples of combining foods such that all 9 of the essential amino acids are present.
Aside from proper combining of foods, the following are good plant sources of complete protein to include in your diet.
Soy (tempeh, sprouted tofu and miso)
Rice and Beans
Now, for the chili.
lenten chili with guacamole
2 cups of any combination of the following beans : red kidney beans, white kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans
1 onion red or yellow, diced
2 carrots diced.
5 cloves minced garlic
1/4 – 1/2 cup chili powder (we use Penzey’s regular). Use your judgement here, different chili strengths for different palates.
Salt and pepper to taste
2 chopped red peppers
1 carrot, chopped small
2- 14 oz cans diced organic tomatoes
3 cups water
The night before, place beans in a bowl and fill to cover with water. Leave until you are ready to make chili.
To make the chili, rinse beans and place in large pot with water to cover. Turn the heat to high to bring to boil and reduce to medium. Skim any foam that accumulates. Cook for an hour. When the beans are done drain. You may reserve some of the cooking liquid.
When the beans are almost done (they will begin to soften), saute the onion, red pepper, carrots and chili powder with 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot. Saute for three minutes, until the chili powder becomes fragrant.
Add remaining ingredients.
Cook over low simmer, with loose lid on the pot, for approximately 45 minutes. Check on the consistency, you may cook longer if you like a thicker chili.
Serve over brown rice topped with a hearty scoop of guacamole (2 avocados, 1/2 clove garlic, bunch cilantro chopped, 2 tablespoons red onion chopped, juice of one lime – mash it all together).