Growing up with a dietitian for a mother and a doctor for a dad, you might think that my family shunned processed foods and sprinkled holy water at innocent diners on their way into McDonald’s. You’d be wrong. Our household was recognized all across Lexington as having the best snack cabinet in the city, and I myself ate Lucky Charms for breakfast and six Oreos for dessert for roughly eight years of my life. Mom’s motto was always “everything in moderation,” something that has stuck with me as I’ve tried to be a healthy eater in a city where literally anything can be delivered to your door in thirty minutes (except Starbucks, which is kind of a travesty, really).
All of the above is not to say that we didn’t eat healthy while I was growing up. After all, Mom wrote cookbooks and was always trying out recipes on her willing and ravenous family. One of our favorites, especially during Kentucky football and basketball seasons, was her veggie chili recipe from her first cookbook Magic Beans (dedicated “To Kristen and Rachel, my littlest bean eaters,” my biggest claim to fame thus far). The recipe requires no more than ten minute of prep in the morning, smells amazing within an hour, and reheats wonderfully over the course of the week. And with the second coming of the polar vortex and the impending Big Game weekend, is there really anything more necessary than a solid chili recipe?
Photo credits Patti Geil, aka Mom.
I’ve adapted Mom’s recipe a bit to suit my tastes (she uses celery in hers, basically, and I do not), and since it is a veggie chili, I like to throw in red lentils or garbanzo beans for some extra protein; otherwise I’d be eating it two or three bowls at a time. Carnivores can easily add in some ground turkey, and I also spike mine with lots of hot sauce since my taste buds have a crazy high heat tolerance. Enjoy this super-easy recipe, and let us know if you made any delicious alterations (and who you’re rooting for!) in the comments!
Mom’s Veggie Chili (adapted from Magic Beans)
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 medium green pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cilantro
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 14.5 ounce cans no-added-salt stewed tomatoes, undrained
15.25 ounce can whole kernel corn, undrained
15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chunky salsa
Optional: 15 ounce can garbanzo beans OR 1 cup uncooked red lentils OR 1 pound cooked ground turkey.
Throw all ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low for eight hours. Pair with some hot sauce and healthy cornbread, and enjoy for days to come!