Sunday, January 25, 2015

Eating For Your Health/Vegetarian Chili

Last week I shared that I will be starting the Daniel Diet on February 1st. There isn't a lot of caffeine in my diet, but I do drink a few cups of green tea every morning. So in preparation, I have been cutting back on my tea intake and limiting my tea to only one tea bag each morning. If you do decide to do the diet, I highly recommend reducing your caffeine over a few days rather than doing it all at once. If you do it all at once, you will experience a headache that may last for a few days. 
A couple of ladies have said that they would like to join me. Thank you! It's nice to know that I won't be alone :) As I said last week, the Daniel Diet is basically a vegan diet, with exceptions. Remember, potato chips are vegan, but fried foods and processed foods are to be avoided. I plan to stay on the diet for at least 21 days, I may extend it to the entire month of February. I'll post how I'm doing on Sundays. You are more than welcome to join me. Leave your progress in the comment section, or you are always welcome to email me, sewbussted@yahoo.com. Good luck!

A friend of mine sent me a recipe for a vegetarian chili that sounded very interesting. The recipe is packed full of vegetables, but the interesting ingredient is the orange juice soaked bulgar. I decided to give it a try and I am so happy that I did. I was afraid that it might be a little bitter to the taste, but not at all. In fact, it has a savory and somewhat sweet taste.
The recipe is from Charlie Palmer's Kitchen. The only change I made to the recipe was to use fire-roasted tomatoes rather than just the plain chopped tomatoes.

Charlie Palmer's Vegetarian Chili

½ C bulgur wheat
1 C fresh orange juice
¼ C olive oil
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 T kosher salt
1 T chili powder
¼ t cayenne pepper
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1 T oregano
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and diced
1 eggplant, trimmed and diced
2 small yellow squash, trimmed and diced
2 small zucchini, trimmed and diced
1-1/2 lbs. mushrooms, quartered
1 28-oz. can chopped tomatoes, with their liquid
1 T tomato paste
1 16-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 16-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Crumbled goat cheese for garnish

*A note about the chili. What sets this vegetable chili apart is the bulgur wheat soaked in orange juice.  Adding it in the final step gives the chili the weight and mouth-feel of protein;  and, the mild acidity of the absorbed citrus juice plays well against the richness of the cooked spices.

In a bowl, soak the bulgur wheat in the orange juice until the liquid is fully absorbed, about 45 minutes.
In 4-quart stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the bay leaves, salt, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, coriander, and oregano.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring to thoroughly incorporate all of the ingredients.
Add garlic.  Cook for about ½ - 1 minute.
Add all vegetables, the canned tomatoes with juices, and tomato paste.  Stir carefully to combine all of the ingredients and prevent the paste from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cover the pot, decrease the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice during the cooking process.  This allows the liquid from the various vegetables to escape, creating a kind of vegetable stock in which they simmer.
Stir in the chickpeas, kidney beans, and the orange-juice soaked bulgur wheat.
Cover and simmer for another 25 minutes.  Remove and discard the bay leaves.
Serve the chili topped with crumbled goat cheese.

Since I am avoiding dairy products, I opted to forgo the goat cheese and top my chili with diced green onions. The flavor of the chili is robust and quite satisfying. I hope you give it a try!

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  1. That looks yummy! I made this veg chili on Saturday and it was a big hit. Since some of the reviewers mentioned that it was a bit spicey, I only added one can of green chilies, and substituted one mild poblano for the jalopeno. Looking forward to having the rest for my lunch today! http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/The-Best-Vegetarian-Chili-in-the-World/Detail.aspx?soid=recs_recipe_seed

  2. That looks great! One of my favourite cookbooks is called 80 Vegetarian Chilis -- love them.