Vegetarian Chili

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped (I use yellow onion)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chopped oregano or 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable base + 2 cups water OR 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 15-oz. cans beans, drained (1 dark red kidney, 1 chick peas, and 1 pinto)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • red pepper to taste (optional)

Directions

In a 3-quart microwavable casserole, combine the oil, garlic, onion, red and green peppers and stir well to coat with oil. Cover tightly with a lid or vented plastic wrap.

Microwave on high for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring once during cooking. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, basil, fennel seeds, cocoa, thyme, and cinnamon. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 4 minutes, stirring once.

Place in crock pot, stir in tomatoes, veg. base+ water (or veg. broth), beans, and balsamic vinegar. Cook on low for several hours--around 8, give or take a few. Around an hour before eating, I take the lid off and turn it to high to thicken it a bit more.

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You can also cook on the stove, but I still prefer microwaving first as directed above. If I cook on the stove, I bring the final mixture minus the vinegar to a boil first, and then bring it down to a simmer, add the balsamic vinegar, cover and let it simmer slowly for 3 hours (last hour is uncovered).

Or you can microwave the whole thing for the shortest cooking time and it's good this way, too. Use a 5-quart casserole instead and follow directions above. After adding tomatoes, veg. bouillon and beans, re-cover and microwave on high for 12 to 15 minutes or until boiling. Uncover, reduce setting to medium and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the vinegar. Microwave on medium for another 30 to 40 minutes, until the flavors are blended and the chili has thickened. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Keeps very well in refrigerator for a few days, freezes very well for at least 6 months.