Thursday, March 15, 2012

Quick Vegetarian Chili with Avocado Salsa

I'm making another two-part recipe tonight - a bowlful of hearty veggie chili, and a super fresh salsa that goes on top.  This chili is quick to make, and relies on convenient ingredients, but the fresh avocado salsa gives an otherwise ordinary bowlful a bit of flair, plus heart-healthy fats.  You can make the chili in advance (it will keep up to 2 days in an airtight container in the fridge), but prepare the avocado salsa just before serving.

For the Avocado Salsa:
  • 1/2 cup peeled and finely chopped avocado
  • 1/3 cup chopped and seeded tomato
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped and seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
1. Combine all of the salsa ingredients in a bowl, mixing together gently.

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (about 2 and 1/2 tablespoons), Calories 59

As mentioned, serve immediately, whether over this chili or with your favorite tortilla chips.  If you're planning to make the chili, then read on.

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles
  • 2/3 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley (such as Mother's)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 (15-ounce) drained can black beans
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) undrained can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1 and 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6 tablespoons vegan sour cream
  • 6 lime wedges
  • 18 baked tortilla chips
  • 1 recipe Avocado Salsa
1. Heat the canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and bell pepper; saute for 3 minutes.

2. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic, and canned green chiles; cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the barley, water, black beans, canned tomatoes, and vegetable broth; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Note: this is the perfect time to toss together the ingredients for the Avocado Salsa.

3. Stir the cilantro into the chili, and ladle 1 cup chili into each of 6 bowls.  Top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream, 1 lime wedge, 3 tortilla chips, and 2 and 1/2 tablespoons Avocado Salsa.

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (1 cup chili, 1 tablespoon sour cream, 1 lime wedge, 3 chips, 2 and 1/2 tablespoons salsa), Calories 313 

Tasting Notes:
I was surprised to find the chili a little bland;  I'd increase the spices all around next time, and maybe use fire-roasted canned tomatoes instead of plain.  The barley also felt oddly out of place in a chili.  Instead, try 2 cans of beans, or stick with 1 can of beans and stir in meatless crumbles (from Yves Veggie or Lightlife) instead.  The Avocado Salsa had nice fresh flavors of lime and avocado, but that was overpowered by the hot chili underneath. Next time I'll prepare a double batch of salsa and pile on more per serving.


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