Welcome to my first post as an official blogger for MeatlessMonday.com, a group that started the Monday Campaigns to promote health and being kind to the planet. Their concept is simple. Just go meat free one day a week. Meatless Monday has since turned into a global movement (active in 29 countries) with a wide network of participating hospitals, schools, worksites and restaurants around the world. You can read more about the history and concept by clicking on my ‘Why Meatless Monday” tab or the Meatless Monday icon on my sidebar.
Now that it has finally rained in California, and the groundhog has determined another 6 weeks of winter (we are relieved here in the parched West, although our East Coast friends are probably feeling done already) its time to bring back the hearty soups and stews. Black and White Chili is a tasty vegetarian (vegan, if you omit the dairy toppings) version of an old favorite. This is a great party or family dish to share with a large group. Just stack some bowls or mugs next to the pot of hot soup and set up a ‘Toppings Bar” with sliced avocado, scallions, various shredded cheeses, chopped jalapenos, chopped cilantro and sour cream or non-fat yogurt. The chili goes great with warm corn or flour tortillas that can be rolled into casual burritos. My favorite side though is garlic toast made with fresh sourdough or ciabatta. Its a great way to use day old bread too. Just add a tossed salad and you’ve got a complete meal. For a creamier chili you can stir up to one cup sour cream right into the chili just before serving . To spice it up add more cayenne. For a less spicy version, reduce or omit the cayenne pepper and use half the green chilis.
Beans are one of nature’s perfect foods. They are an excellent source of protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates and low in saturated fat. They are flavorful, packed with nutrition and inexpensive to boot. Beans are very versatile and can be made to suit any palette. What more could you ask for?
Tip: Canned beans are very convenient and I like to keep a supply in my pantry, however dry beans are inexpensive and easy to prepare. They just take a little planning ahead. Soaking the beans helps remove some of the indigestible sugars that cause a gassy belly. The traditional way to prepare beans is to rinse and cover with 2-3″ cold water. Soak 8 hours or overnight. Drain. Or you can Quick Soak them; rinse dry beans and cover with 2-3″ cold water. Bring to a boil and boil 2 or 3 minutes. Remove from heat, Cover and let sit for 1 – 3 hours. Drain. To cook the beans, cover with 2’ clean water and cook 45 minutes to 3 hours depending on type of bean. Cooked beans should be tender but not falling apart.
Black and White Chili
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced 2 4 oz cans diced green chilis 1-2 zucchini, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth 1 tablespoon chili powder 1 teaspoon cumin 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional) 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 (15.5-ounce) cans black beans or one cup dry beans (cooked-see tip above)
2 (15.5-ounce) cans cannellini or great northern beans or one cup dry beans (cooked-see tip above)
Sour Cream or plain yogurt
Shredded jack, jalapeno jack or cheddar cheese
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 loaf crusty bread, sliced
3 tablespoons grated cheese, Parmigiano or Romano, optional
Chopped fresh parsley