Three Bean Vegetarian Chili

So according to TMJ4 Meteorologist Scott Steele, winter is not quite ready to relinquish its hold on us just yet.  More snow is coming our way this afternoon and overnight, which means a little more shoveling, bundling, slippery roads and, when it comes to dinner time, more cozy comfort food.  But spring break is on the not-so-distant horizon,  and maybe you’ve been spending extra time at the gym preparing to fit into your favorite swimsuit, Daisy Dukes or vintage spandex tube top.  I hope you’re not going to wear a tube top, actually.  I’m sure not, good grief.  Last time I wore a tube top was the summer of ’74.  I was six.  It wasn’t a good look then either.   The long and the short-short of it is that comfort food rules, comfort food calories do not, and neither do tube tops.  :  ) 

I’ll tell you right now, three punks walked past the stove top and panned this dinner before it even hit the table – and since that doesn’t happen here very often I laughed it off and fed them something else (Cheerios, I believe).  I don’t expect your kids to like it either — but heck, make this for yourself anyway.    Meatless but hearty at the same time, and the leftovers make a great lunch.  Dinner is served! : )

SOURCE:; original recipe by Cooking Light

2 red bell peppers (I used jarred roasted red peppers)
3 T. Sendik’s extra virgin olive oil
1 c. chopped yellow onion
2 t. ground cumin
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes
1 t. paprika
1/4 t. kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. vegetable or chicken broth
1 1/2 c. (1/2″) cubed peeled butternut squash
1 (28 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

For Serving:
Thinly sliced scallions
Sour Cream (Daisy Sour Cream is on sale)
Shredded Cheese
Corn chips (Frontera Tortilla Chips are on sale)

Preheat broiler.

Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise.  Remove and discard seeds and membranes.  Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Broil 15 minutes or until blackened.  Place pepper halves in a zip-top plastic bag; seal.  Let stand 15 minutes.  Peel and chop peppers.  (Alternately, swap in diced jarred roasted red peppers.)

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add onion; cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Stir in cumin and next four ingredients (through garlic); cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add bell peppers, broth, squash, and tomatoes with juices; bring to a simmer.  Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add beans; simmer 25 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally.  Serve in heated bowls and allow diners to garnish their chili as desired.

COUPLE’A THINGS:  I let this cook down for nearly an hour because I wanted a really thick chili.  Also, I thought this could have benefitted from a quick hit of chopped cilantro before serving – that’s just me.  I am a self confessed cilantro freakazoid.  We liked this served with a small scoop of basmati rice in the bottom of the bowl.  Hope you like it.

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | February 27th, 2013