Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Quinoa Comfort Chili
Two things you need to know. First, comfort food doesn't need to make you crash. Second, vegan food can be amazingly comforting. Save all your "Yeah but's" for just a minute and stay with me here.
One of my go-to's when my anxiety kicks in is comfort food. I know I'm not alone in this, but there can be a steep downside. Comfort food is almost always high in carbs and/or highly processed. One of the reasons it's so comforting is because those things will numb you out and slow down your system. Can you say "Food coma?"
This kills motivation, and saps your energy, which sends you back into your head, spinning around the same stuff that had you feeling anxious to begin with. Not good.
But what if you could get all that comfort without the crash of a carb overload that's going to lay you out and leave you feeling lethargic? That's why we're here. Don't believe me? Make this chili and see for yourself.
- Avocado Oil or other high temp cooking oil. High quality coconut oil works well too.
- 1 medium red onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1-1/2 -2 lbs sweet potatoes chopped into 1/2 inch pieces.
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 jalapeño pepper seeded and chopped (if you want to add heat, there are better ways than leaving the seeds in so don't do that)
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 6oz can of tomato paste (seems like a lot, but just go with it)
- 28oz can diced tomatoes
- 3 cups veggie broth
- 3/4 cup of quinoa rinsed and drained
- 2 15oz cans black beans rinsed and drained
Expert tip for those who don't cook that much. Do your prep before you start cooking. Clean and cut all your veggies. Put all your spices together in a little bowl, or at least get them out of the cupboard because you don't want to be running around looking for everything and measuring it out while the fire is on. If you have anxiety, that's just going to jack it up, and make cooking 10X more stressful. That's the opposite of what we're going for here, ok?
Another thing is to try to have your broth ready and even heated up so that you don't throw a bunch of freezing cold broth all over your nicely cooking veggies and stop them cooking. Because how would you like it if someone threw a bunch of cold water on you while you were in your nice hot shower? That's how your veggies feel about cold broth. Don't do them like that.
Grab your soup pot, heat up a tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Throw in the onion and let it soften up for a few minutes. Then add in the red pepper and jalapeño pepper and cook for a few more minutes to let those pepper soften up. Last is the garlic. Throw that in and stir for about 30 seconds.
Now toss in the sweet potatoes and another 1/2 tbsp of oil. Cook for another 5 minutes stirring occasionally.
Next is the spices. Throw in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, salt, pepper, and tomato paste. Stir it up really good so the spices and tomato paste get all over. Cook for a few minutes to warm up the spices and let them really release their flavors.
Now stir in the tomatoes, broth, quinoa, and black beans.
Bring it to a low simmer, and then reduce the heat to let it simmer for about 25 minutes. You want the quinoa to be cooked, and the sweet potatoes to be soft, but not all mushy. Especially if you're going to reheat this.
Toppings and optional additions
Here are some of my favorites.
Like it spicy? Slice up some fresh jalapenos and throw them on top. Or stir in some of your favorite hot sauce. I do it this way because Kisma doesn't like things as spicy as I do and it bums me out when she can't eat the food I made.
Avocado! This adds a really nice creaminess.
Other ideas. Chopped cilantro. Chopped red or green onion. A little spritz of fresh lime juice.