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Vegetarian Chili
(Food #15: May 22, 2005)

vegetarian chili
Spider Cañon™ vegetarian chili—as bold as regular!
cleaning jalapeno
Remove the seeds; leave the white veins
   I love chili; it's my signature dish. But sometimes, with beef or lamb, it can get pretty fatty. This recipe is for a very low fat vegetarian version of Basic Spider Cañon™ Chili. Instead of beef I've used bulgar wheat, a high protein cracked wheat with the cooked look and feel of ground beef. But how about the flavor?
   I've followed the standard Spider Cañon™ flavor formula: one ounce or more of Spider Cañon™ chili powder for every pound of beans and meat, combined. And the flavor is good–good enough for this to become my new favorite.
   Calories? Here's my estimate:
1 cup vegetarian chili with beans (made with dried beans)–
   less than 200 calories–3 Weight-Watchers® points;
   no saturated fat!
1 cup regular chili with beef–
   about 400 calories–about 6 Weight-Watchers® points.
   This recipe makes about a quart. Give it a try. I believe you'll like it as much as I do.
    vegetarian chili
  • olive oil or canola oil, 1 Tbsp.
  • bulgar wheat, 1/4-1/3-cup dry
  • celery, diced, 1/4-cup
  • yellow onion, diced, 1/2-1 cup (more is better)
  • garlic, crushed, 1 tsp. (fresh is better)
   Heat the oil in a skillet and toast the bulgar wheat. Add the celery and continue heating until it turns translucent. Add the onions and heat until they are translucent.
  • green/red bell pepper, diced, 1/2-1 cup (more is better)
  • Jalapeño pepper, diced,
    (for medium-1/2 pepper; for hot-1 pepper)
   Remove the seeds from the jalapeños but not the white veins-that's where the heat is. Protect your hands with gloves or kitchen mitts.
   Add all the peppers and continue heating until they're soft.
  • beans (pinto, kidney, etc.), with liquid, about 10 oz (one can)
  • diced tomatoes, with liquid, 1/2–cup
  • tomato paste, 1/2-6 oz. can(1)
  • Spider Cañon™ chili powder, 1 oz. or more
  • vinegar or lemon juice, 1 Tbsp. (optional)
  • brown sugar, 1 Tbsp. (optional)
  • water, 2–3 cups
   Add the beans, the tomatoes, and the chili powder. (If you like Cincinnati-style chili, whisper "cinnamon and allspice" over the pot.) Add the vinegar or lemon juice and the sugar. Simmer the chili about 20 minutes, covered, to cook the wheat.
   Add the water as you cook to adjust the thickness of the chili and continue simmering. The wheat will continue to absorb water as the chili sits, so don't simmer it too dry.
  • salt, 1 tsp.
  • fresh cilantro or parsley, 1 tsp. to 1 Tbsp.
   Just before serving, add the salt and the cilantro and stir well. Return to simmer.

   Serve alone or over rice.
   This chili is also a perfect hot dog chili. Just mash the beans before you add them or substitute refried beans.

Protect your hands from hot chiles with gloves or mitts.
protect your hands
I like these kitchen mitts. They're convenient and sturdy, and they don't cost too much.

(1) If you're not a vegan you can leave out tomatoes entirely. Just substitute 1 can beef broth. Try it–you'll be pleasantly surprised!
Where do you get the bulgar wheat?
Try the hot cereal section of a local supermarket or a health food store. I get mine from a small Mediterranean grocery. It's a lot cheaper there, and it comes in three texture grades. I like the coarse; it's most like ground beef.
   You can get the disposable vinyl gloves from your local industrial paper or janitorial supplies company.

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