September 3, 2009

Crunchy Fresh Vegetable Chili

There's a chili in the air! Or maybe just in my stomach...

Well anyway, it has been a wee bit cooler in NYC this week, to the point where I am really enjoying warm, cooked food for dinner. As much as I continue to delight in raw breakfasts and lunches for the most part (and feeling great, might I add), there's something about a cozy Kuzu Stew or a mushy bowl of chili that warms the soul and welcomes autumn.

Turns out tonight's chili was anything but mushy!

In the spirit of Radventures, I wanted to make some lentils (possibly my favorite bean), and chili sounded good, but I didn't want to default to my old McCormick seasoning packet + canned tomatoes & beans formula. That's tasty, but I knew I could do better, and using fresh, whole foods at that.

I then remembered bookmarking this recipe for Lentil Chili with Cumin, Corn and Green Onions on Bella Eats. Sounds like a good start to me!

Crunchy Fresh Vegetable Chili

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup dried green lentils
  • 1.5 cups fresh cherry/grape tomatoes
  • 2 ears fresh corn
  1. Puree the tomatoes in a blender. You should end up with about 1 cup puree.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot on medium. Add onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add chili powder, cumin, cayenne, oregano and sea salt; stir 30 seconds.
  3. Add water, lentils and tomato puree. Bring mixture to a boil and reduct heat to medium-low. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Add water if necesssary (though I needed no additional).
  4. Cut corn off the cobbs and add to the chili after the first 30 minutes have passed. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes or so, until the lentils are tender and liquid has reduced to your liking.
  5. Serve as is or over your favorite raw veggie(s). I pulsed jicama chunks in my food processor and served my portion over the jicama "rice." Fresh cilantro or basil is also a really nice addition.
Makes 4 servings

Between the fresh corn and jicama, it was quite the crunchy bowl of chili! I loved the contrast of those textures along with tender lentils. The jicama was way sweeter and pear-like than I anticipated, so I don't know if I'd serve chili this way again. Still, it made for an exciting Radventure and I have now conquered a jicama, if nothing else!

As for dessert, I am still grooving on daily doses of my latest homemade obsession, balmy butter. It's especially delightful stuffed into date halves!

But why stop there when there are giant Turkish figs in the house?

...And chocolate?

These treats need to show a little respect and be put in their place. My belly, that is.

I happen to have snapped a few pics of other treats I enjoyed today, which were many. Even though I knew full well that it was Thursday, I had Friday in my heart and I have the sweet evidence to prove it.

For example, my wallet says apples + bananas for breakfast...

...but I say raspberries and concord grapes from the farmer's market.

These bad boys make me want to smack my lips like the little girl in the Welch's grape juice commercials. Dark grapes do actually taste like grape juice--imagine that!

This afternoon, I indulged my second-favorite habit (top favorite being eating, of course), grocery shopping. I stopped by the little health food market on the other side of Union Square from my office and picked up a few things I'd been coveting, along with an impulse buy of 0.22 cents' worth of unsweetened carob-covered almonds.

Instant obsession alert! Good thing I only bought four--these were shockingly good for a curiosity purchase. I couldn't believe how naturally sweet the carob coating was. Definitely fuels my interest in trying more carob-based treats, as opposed to chocolate (which will always have my love, no worries).

What I was really after, though, was a coconut-pineapple smoothie from Jus.

I think I was secretly hoping for a coconut shake more like what Bonobo's makes, which is generally coconut meat + water and whatever other flavor/fruit/veggie you ask for. This was more like pineapple + ice and a little hint of coconut, however. Delicious in a virgin-pina-colada kind of way, but not the solid dose of creamy coconut I was hankerin' for. Good thing I picked up a certain somethin'-somethin' during aforementioned health food store trip to fix that crave. ;)

And just because my sweet tooth rages like no other, I had one more tiny curiosity snack worth mentioning: chocolate-almond Energy Chunk from bulk bins at Integral Yoga (my mecca).

I mean, we already knew I like these Energy Chunks a whole lot--I've mentioned others of their flavors previously, all of which are chocolate- or carob-based--but this was the first kind to actually feature whole chunks of chocolate! Holy swoon of healthy snackage!

And yes, that does in fact mean that I consider chocolate a health food. If you are looking for a blog with a different attitude towards chocolate, look elsewhere. Preferably on a blog without 'chocolate' in the title. ;)

Tomorrow actually IS Friday! Huzzah! I don't know about you, but I plan to have no plans during my Labor Day staycation.


Lizzy said...

i spy chocolate, veggie chili, and more chocolate! this girl LOVES all this! yummmm!!!!!

nighty night!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

Sooo many good things but id have to say the carob almonds would get my vote...and 22 cents, rock on mama! The energy chunk thing of course looked good, but there are so many competing bars and healthbars and energy snackie type things that stuff has to be so off the charts ridic for me to indulge. Then again, maybe it is :) Your chili looked really good too but where Im at it's still 100 degrees out so no chili for awhile. Turkish figs...would you believe I have never had a fig? I'm serious. Dates, yep, and they are my new BFF with sunbutter but no figs. I should get on that, huh.

Gina said...

I kind of consider chocolate a health food too, seriously! As long as I don't consume too much, but I always have 1-3 pieces a day :)

The dinner looks great. And, I need to start buying fresh figs, badly. Everyone posts about them and I know I would like them a lot.

Deva (Voracious Vorilee) said...

Your labot day plans mirror my own! I'm excited for a relaxing long weekend at home.

I consider chocolate to be a health food as well - it's full of antioxidants, it tastes good, and it's SO versatile!

brandi said...

those carob-covered almonds sound great!

I'll be working on Labor Day - not excited about but I need the hours AND I'll get to work from home, so it won't be bad.

Gena said...

Great, great, great idea! Lentils are my fave legumes, and this is a great recipe for me to share with some of my clients, too (with major props to S&C of course). Thanks lovebug!

Missy said...

We almost ran into eachother at Integral Yoga! I was staring at those chunks but moved over to the dried fruits! Hmm I may have to go back today for some chocolate!

Anonymous said...

chocolate is definitely a healthy food, it has tons of antioxidants! I can't live without it! :D

and groceries shopping is also my favorite thing to do, because? it involves food!!!

K from ksgoodeats said...

Oh lawd, carob covered almonds?! Yes, please!!

That chili sounds really good! I love crunchy corn kernels :)


Erica said...

I agree with your comments on my blog! I would love if being veggie became more mainstream/accepted.

The chili and the dessert plate both look delicious! I want to make that chili! Love lentils. There is a farm right near my house with pick your own grapes...I need to stop by. I want to smack my lips like the Welch's grape girl!

Enjoy your staycation ;)

healthy ashley said...

Diana, this chili looks awesome! I love how refreshing and un-typical it looks. Yummmmmy!

Enjoy your weekend :)

Hayley said...

That chili recipe is on my list of things to make once the weather starts cooling down more. It's been beautiful here, too! A friend of mine said she's got tons of figs from her garde (tree?) to give me so I'll be trying my first fig ever! I'm excited! The only fig I've ever had is in a Newton.

Ada said...

Yum, I love Jus. It's one of my favorite smoothie places in the city. I especially like their number 15 smoothie which contains juicy hunks of honey dew:)

Anonymous said...

Yep, chocolate is DEFINITELY a health food :-)

I just saved that crunchy recipe... it looks so good! Can't wait to make it.

Anonymous said...

That chili just looks stupid good. I feel like every time I plan my meals for the week, I need to check your blog first!