Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: Midwestern Spice Chili

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Midwestern Spice Chili

I have been craving chili for awhile, but had avoided making it until I could come up with something creative, as I have, over the years, pretty much ‘chilied’ myself out. You see, chili was one of the first things I learned how to cook back when I was still an omni, so I made it all the time and wore myself out on it (and Brett too!). Then I came across SusanV’s Gold Rush Chili and thought it was a good starting point. I modified it to our tastes, and this is what I came up with!

A little note of warning though, if you don't like spicy food, either cut out or cut down the roasted hot peppers and cayenne.

Midwestern Spice Chili
1 cup kidney beans, cooked
1 cup navy beans, cooked
1 cup black beans, cooked
15 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1/2 butternut squash, cubed and roasted
1 sweet potato, peeled, cubed and roasted
jalapenos and other hot peppers, roasted and sliced
1/2 bell pepper, roasted and diced
1/2 cup corn, cooked
1/4 onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup water
regular chili powder
chipotle chili powder
Mexican oregano
cayenne (of course)
black pepper

Heat water in a large pot, add onions and cook 5 minutes, add garlic and cook another few minutes or until veggies are soft.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Spice to your liking and simmer over low heat for a half hour to an hour for the flavors to meld.

This makes quite a bit of chili. We had our fill for dinner, portioned out two servings for lunch and then froze the rest. You could also just cut the recipe in half.

I also thought I’d leave you with the ‘recipe’ for one of my favorite snacks: mixed nuts and dried fruit. I call it a ‘recipe’ because there is no actually preparation really involved other than mixing the ingredients together in a bowl. But I thought I’d share this snack as it’s delicious, healthy, and filling.

J's Yummy Snack Mix

(Note: All my ingredients were organic and purchased from the bulk section. It cost less that $5 to make a HUGE container full of this.)

roasted peanuts*
raw almonds
raw sunflower seeds
raw cashews
dried mango
dried cranberries
dried cherries

*This is the only nut I bought roasted and salted as I wanted a little salitness in the mix. You could just use raw peanuts too if you wanted.

Mix everything together and chow down.

So yummy!

'Til next time!


Vegan_Noodle said...

Oh, that chili looks good.

And i love the addition of dried mango to trail mix! I should go get some from the bulk bins to add to mine....

Jennifer said...

Thanks! It was nice and spicy, just the way this girl likes it! I think it may have been a bit spicy for Brett, and he was just being nice. I really have to be careful about that! I made fajitas so spicy one time that my guests were sweating while I was happily digging in.

I thought the mango was a nice touch. At first I wasn't sure how well mango 'went' with the rest of the nuts and fruit I had, but it's delicious.

Bianca said...

Yum! I've never thought about adding butternut squash to chili but I think I'll start. Great idea!

And thanks for adding my blog. Yours looks great! I'm gonna add it to my blog roll too!

And I know what you mean about looking at food blogs at work...I always wait until the end of the day, when I'm starving for dinner. It never helps but I can't resist drooling over everyone's pics.

Anonymous said...

I only discovered chili a few years ago, and I've been hooked ever since! I love variations of it, it's so flexible. =) And your snack mix sounds sooo good. Nature's real snack!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

hehe I don't think I could ever wear myself out of chili-- there are sooo many flavor combinations! One of my newest favorites is sweet potato chili. But yours sounds delish as well.

Lizzy said...

Ohhh, what a wonderful dish! Still want waffles for dessert? *hands over* ;)
I think I could count on both hands how often I've had chili in my life and since that's not really a lot I think I might try this one the next time I crave chili =)

And your snack mix looks exactly what I've been snacking on lately: nuts (too many salted pistachios) and dried cranberries, always a winner! Definitely =)

Veghead said...

Do you want to adopt me and feed me?

Okay, thanks. ;)

Monika K said...

Hey - somehow I missed reading your tag yesterday, so I'm commenting on it now (oops!). I know people sometimes find the "tell us more about yourself surveys" time-consuming and annoying, but I love getting to know my favorite bloggers better. How else would I know you are 5'1 and high-five challenged? (-: Great random facts - I can totally relate on the math thing. I was (and will be again) working as an accounting tech, even though I'm an English and German double-major; go figure! The things we do to be able to buy groceries... (-:

Happy Herbivore! said...

that chilli looks like my pepper stuffing - but better!

& I must make that trail mix! what a beautiful snack

Cookiemouse said...

What an excellent chili dish! I love spicy food so this recipe is perfect for me, and seems just right for the damp weather here.

Leng said...

Hi Jennifer!

I see you have a kitty cat also. I love cats :-)

That chili looks like it'll be really easy to make, but what is Mexican Oregano?

The Yummy mix is definitely a good one. I love dried mangoes!

Jennifer said...

Bianca - I think I could add butternut to most any dish and be happy! Well, maybe not, but I do love it.

No problem, I like your blog, thanks for adding me as well.

Haha! Self imposed torture!

Romina - For some reason, I have never been too creative with chili, I will have to be more so now!

Yes, I couldn't agree more, who needs candy bars and all that junk when nature provides such a delicious, natural, healthy snack?

Chocolate Covered - Sweet potato chili? Sign me up! Do you have a recipe for it?

Lizzy - Aw thanks for the virtual waffles. :-)

I don't know if it's 'cause I'm American or what, but I couldn't tell you just how many times I've had chili, so many. But now that I've learned that I can be creative with it, I'll probably have it more.

Ooooh, I was eye balling the pistachios at the store, but thought I had enough already, I'm going to get some to add to it when it's time to replenish my 'stash', and dried cranberries are my favorite dried fruit! Though dried apricots are a close second.

Veghead - Hahahaha! Anytime you're in Missouri.... ;-)

Monika - I think they are fun too! Haha! Too funny, I majored in psychology and sociology in college and now I do data analysis and enjoy it, so go figure. Yes, and all in the name of buying groceries to support our cooking habits. :-)

Happy Herbivore - Oh, I bet this would be fantastic in a roasted pepper.

Trail mix is my favorite snack! Dried fruit and nuts, what could be better?

Cookiemouse - I bet this would be good damp weather food. Hearty, easy to make and filling. And I love spice, so you know this was a hit with me.

Leng - Hi! I actually have two of them, but good luck getting a picture of them together where they aren't fighting. Hehe.

Mexican oregano - ok, well Wikipedia can explain it better than me so:

"Mexican oregano, Lippia graveolens (Verbenaceae) is closely related to lemon verbena. It is a highly studied herb that is said to be of some medical use and is common in curandera female shamanic practices in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. Mexican oregano has a very similar flavour to oregano, but is usually stronger. It is becoming more commonly sold outside of Mexico, especially in the United States. It is sometimes used as a substitute for epazote leaves; this substitution would not work the other way round.

Several other plants are also known as oregano in various parts of Mexico, including Poliomintha longiflora, Lippia berlandieri, and Plectranthus amboinicus (syn. Coleus aromaticus), also called Cuban oregano."

You can find this at:, just scroll down to the section called 'Other plants called oregano'. It's not integral to the dish, though it does give it a more authentic smell and taste, if you can't find it, you could leave it out and the dish would still turn out.

Billy said...

Wow, that looks good. Another recipe I may have to try.

Thanks for the comment on my blog. I replied over there.

I also added you to my blogroll!

Leng said...

ah I see. Thanks for the link (both of them). That's so interesting. I didn't know there was more than one type of oregano. Well, I should have guessed because there are different types of spinach, green beans, lettuces etc. Brain fart moment. haha.

Miss Dottie only cries for food--that's it. LOL Her main goal is life is to eat. Whereas, the other one, Shabazz (domoestic med-hair), meows NON stop. Sometimes I think she's trying to communicate with me by mimicking human sounds. really weird, but quite amazing at the same time.

Rural Vegan said...

I love the idea of adding butternut squash to chili, I'm definitely going to give that a whirl before spring arrives!

Billy said...

I feel so special being on the top of your blogroll. Wait...maybe it's by newest entry. Hmm...I'm going to assume it's not, though. :)

(chandelle) said...

wow, that's really beautiful. i've always been wary of sweet potatoes or squash in chili but i might have to try it now.

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