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Vegetarian and vegan food is rich with variety and tradition

Try delicious Asian stir fries, Indian curries, Ethiopian stews, hearty soups, Italian pastas, creative salads, Latin American tacos and burritos, avocado sushi, chili, oven-roasted vegetables, and much more.

Main meal ideas

Hearty soup
Start with water or a soup base made from vegetable bouillon cubes, vegetable juice, tomato juice or packaged soup mixes. Add potatoes, split peas, lentils, carrots, kale, spinach or any leftover vegetables. Season with bay leaves, salt, herbs or miso. For additional flavour add fried leeks, onion or celery. Serve with toasted bread.

linguine-with-veggies-seitan
Linguine with veggies and seitan

Split pea soup
Serve with crusty bread.

Pasta
Cook up your favourite noodles, then add a sauce such as tomato, pesto, mushroom, or just herbs and olive oil. Sauces can be purchased ready-made or create you own. For a heartier meal add in somes diced tofu, chickpeas, lentils or nuts. Toss in some steamed veggies or serve on the side. Pasta is best cooked until al dente (tender but firm). Taste it to tell, then add cold water or drain right away to stop the cooking process. Rice pasta is a nice gluten-free option, but make sure not to over-cook as it can turn to mush.

Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/emilychang/433338268/">emilychang</a> / <a href="http://foter.com/Food/">Foter.com</a> / <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">CC BY-NC-SA</a>
Photo: emilychang / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Sandwiches
These are some of the fastest meals to make, especially when eating alone. Start with your favourite bread, tortilla, rice cracker, wrap, etc. A healthy variation is to have a whole-grain open face sandwich.
• Add a spread such as mashed avocado, hummus, a store-bought dip, nut butter or tahini. Or instead of a spread use butter, coconut butter, mayo (vegan versions are available), flax oil or olive oil.
• Next add lots of fresh salad veggies such as cucumber, lettuce, kale, sprouts, avocado, tomato or even apple or pear slices.
• For a more substantial sandwich throw in some plant-based ‘meats’ or cheese, veggie burgers, falafel, tofu or fried tempeh.
• Include a favourite condiment such as dijon mustard, sauerkraut or salsa and add salt and pepper to taste. The possibilities are endless.

Stir Fry
Stir-fries are fast and tasty. Fry any combination of fresh vegetables, onions, tofu, tempeh, packaged veggie meats, nuts or seeds. If necessary add a splash of water early on to prevent the oil from smoking, or lower the heat. For flavour use soy sauce, ginger, garlic, hot pepper, or a dab of toasted sesame oil. To create a sauce, add about a half cup of water when the vegetables are half cooked, and simmer. The liquid can be thickened by adding 1 Tbsp of cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp of cold water. Tip: add in any greens near the end as they don’t take very long to cook. Keep it super healthy by only using a small amount of oil. Serve on rice, quinoa, couscous or pasta.

Rice bowl / Noodle bowl
Fill a bowl with cooked brown rice or noodles. Top with flax oil and soy sauce (or Braggs), or with a sauce made from tahini or almonds (tahini/almond butter, water, lemon, garlic and salt). Add steamed greens, toasted seeds, and avocado slices. See recipe below.

Options: add cucumber, pickled or grated ginger, nori seaweed or tofu or tempeh (lightly pan-fried). Note: brown rice takes 40 minutes to cook and soba or rice noodles take about 10 min. Quinoa is another good grain to try and only takes 15-20 minutes.

Substantial salads
Start with cooked potatoes, lentils, beans, rice or quinoa. Add fresh veggies – there are dozens to choose from. Then top with fresh herbs, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, croutons, avocado, artichoke, olives, sunflower sprouts, etc. Apply your favourite store-bought dressing or just drizzle on some flax or olive oil along with salt, lemon juice or vinegar. See our Salads page online for more ideas.

Pizza
Using fresh pita bread or a store-bought crust, apply a layer of sauce (pizza tomato sauce, a container of pesto or just drizzle on some olive oil and salt at the end). Next add your favourite toppings such as: green and red peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, olives, veggie pepperoni or cheese (Daiya is the best vegan option), etc. For a cheeseless pizza try adding extra olives for richness. Gluten-free pizza crusts are available in stores and online.

Indian-style curry
Cook lentils, chickpeas or potatoes with some store-bought curry paste (follow the directions on the jar), then add veggies. Delicious served with flat bread (roti, naan, chapattis) or on rice. Tip: Save time by using canned chickpeas, parboiled rice or quinoa.

[Note: Curry paste (sold by the jar) is a real time saver, but you can make it yourself with any combination of cumin, coriander, mustard seed, turmeric, hot pepper, oil or vinegar, garlic or ginger. Fresh spices are best.]

Thai curry
Combine Asian veggies with coconut milk and green curry paste (store bought). Cook until done. Serve with rice or noodles.

Taco/Tortillas
Enjoy with spiced refried beans (from a can or make your own) and all the fixings. You can simply buy a taco kit and use beans or packaged veggie ground ‘meat’ instead the suggested ground beef, or buy some tortillas or other flat corn breads and build your own by adding beans, salsa, tomato, greens and avocado. Top with fresh coriander.

Keep it super healthy by buying tortillas with only 3 ingredients – corn, water & lime – no oil! They’re often sold frozen at natural food stores and fresh at Latino markets. Very convenient to use. Toast them straight out of the freezer in a toaster oven (but be careful – they burn quickly).

Chili
Chili is a hearty meal that freezes well. 15 minute chili – In a large pot, place a can or two of beans, a can of stewed tomatoes, any quick cooking veggies you want (corn, zucchini, onions, peppers, etc) and chili powder, salt and hot pepper to taste. Bring to boil, then reduce heat till done. In place of the spices, you can also use a package of Fantastic Foods Vegetarian Chili Mix (contains soy TVP) plus 2 1/2 cups of water. Chili from scratch – soak beans the night before and cook with chili powder and hot pepper plus any other spices, herbs and salt to taste. Add veggies and simmer for up to one hour.

Oven-roasted veggies
In a baking dish, place large slices of potato (with the skins), squash, turnips, parsnips, carrots, onions, whole garlic cloves, etc. Drizzle with olive oil and rosemary, then roast until tender. Options: include cubes of tofu or veggie meat. Serve with rice or other grain.


More ideas

Shish kebabs
Thread mushrooms, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and green pepper onto a skewer. Add tempeh, seitan or firm tofu. Baste with BBQ sauce, then grill.

Couscous
African speciality of zucchini, carrot, turnip, chick peas and onion, cooked in tomato sauce spiced with Harissa hot sauce. Served on couscous pasta with currents.

Spinach lasagna
Try making vegan lasagna by layering spinach, tomato sauce, crumbled tofu, light miso, and noodles.

Ratatouille
Hearty stew made from eggplant, zucchini, tomato, onion, garlic and seasonings.

Savoury pies
Hearty potato, tofu, or millet with veggies and meat-less gravy. Best to use a recipe for these or buy ready-made.

Falafel
Middle eastern speciality served with pita bread, tomato and tahini sauce.

Crepes
Savoury or sweet.

Ramen Noodles
Add green onions, watercress, ginger, tofu, etc. (You can throw away the flavour pack and add soy sauce or miso instead).

Risotto – Fry onion or leek and chopped mushrooms (wild or shiitake are nice) in the bottom of a large pot until soft. Add dry brown rice and fry for 2 minutes. Then add twice as much water as rice, and a soup stock cube. Add some chopped carrots, squash, chickpeas or beans for a heartier version. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer until everything is soft and saucy – about 40 minutes. Check on it a few times, stir and add water as needed. Adding a green vegetable closer to the end such as asparagus, green beans, zucchini or broccoli adds colour and nutrition.

Quinotto – For a faster risotto try using quinoa.

My favorite meal, risotto, is still delicious without cheese and butter when rosemary and a flavorful balsamic are incorporated.
– Andrea, late 20’s, Vancouver

Very fast vegetarian convenience meals

Natural food stores and many grocery stores stock many different quick-cooking vegetarian foods. Try tofu hot dogs, veggie burgers that you can pop in the toaster, pizzas, chili mixes, canned foods, savoury pies, pasta sauces, tofu scrambler (instead of scrambled eggs), etc.


Veggie Challenge main meals ~ 7 days of recipes

Note: 1 cup = 8 fl oz = 240 ml  /  1 Tbsp (tablespoon) = 15 ml  /  1 tsp (teaspoon) = 5 ml

Monday ~ pasta theme

Pasta with Broccoli, Tomatoes and Pine Nuts
Serves 4, <30 minutes

1 lb (450g) your choice of whole-grain pasta
2 heads broccoli (1 lb)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts
A big pinch of chili powder
1 (28 oz/796ml) can tomatoes, chopped
Fresh parsley as garnish

Boil water for pasta. Prepare according to package directions.

Meanwhile, steam or boil broccoli pieces until tender crisp.

Sauté garlic in oil in a large frying pan until lightly brown. • Add pine nuts, chili powder and tomatoes, and simmer over medium heat for five to ten minutes. • Stir in the cooked broccoli and drained pasta. • Serve with fresh parsley.


Tofu, Pasta and Olives
Serves 4, <40 minutes

Pasta with a creamy sauce made from soft tofu and steamed vegetables.

16 oz (454 g) soft or medium tofu (2 blocks)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 cups kale or spinach, chopped
2 tsp mix of basil, oregano, thyme (dried)
1/4 cup light miso
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives (black), chopped
1/3 cup pitted green olives, chopped (or substitute with sun-dried tomatoes)
1 lb (454 g) fettuccine, linguine, or other long noodles
Pepper to taste

In a small pot of simmering water, poach tofu for three minutes. Drain and set aside.

In the bottom of a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, kale, basil, oregano, thyme. • Cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes or until onions are translucent, reducing heat to low after 3-4 minutes. • Add tofu and miso. • Blend using a hand blender until smooth and creamy (for a chunkier sauce, mix ingredients by hand using a potato masher or fork). • Stir in chopped olives.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta until al dente (tender but firm), then drain.
Immediately toss with tofu mixture and season with pepper.

Note: if you have time, buy quality olives with pits and remove them yourself.


Tuesday ~ rice bowl / noodle bowl / quinoa bowl

<a href="http://www.blogto.com/restaurants/fresh">BlogTo – Fresh</a>
BlogTo – Fresh

Green Goddess Rice Bowl
Serves 4, <30 minutes

Brown rice with steamed greens and tahini sauce.

2 cup greens (kale, broccoli, bok choy, spinach etc.)
1 cup sunflower seeds
4 cups cooked brown rice
Tahini sauce (recipe below)

Lightly steam greens – don’t overcook – or they will taste horrible and you’ll lose valuable nutrition.

Lightly toast sunflower seeds in toaster oven or in a dry skillet (you’ll only need a couple of tablespoons per serving – keep any extra in a jar for future use.)

Assembly: Add half a cup of rice to each bowl. • Add tahini sauce. • Top with steamed greens and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

Variations: Use soba (3-4 oz per serving) or other whole grain noodles in place of rice. Add marinated or sautéed tofu for extra protein. Top with sliced avocado, pickled ginger and mineral-rich nori seaweed. This dish can be served warm or cold.


Tahini sauce

1/2 cup water
6 Tbsp tahini
3 cloves fresh crushed garlic
4 Tbsp lemon juice (1 1/2 lemons)
3/4 tsp salt

Stir ingredients in a jar, or blend in a blender until smooth. Add extra water for a thinner sauce. (store any extra sauce in the fridge for future use).


Steamed Vegetables with Soba Noodles
Serves 4-6, <40 minutes

16 oz (454 g) soba noodles (2 packages)
2 heads broccoli, cut into 2-inch spears (peel outer skin from stalks if tough)
4 carrots (cut into diagonal slices about 1/4-inch thick)
2 red peppers, sliced
1 head cauliflower (break into 1-inch florets)
Miso-almond sauce (see recipe below)

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. • Add the soba noodles to the boiling water in the first pot. Cover and turn heat to medium. Follow package directions for cooking time (usually 6-8 minutes).

Place a steamer over 1 inch of water in another pot; bring this to a boil also. • Arrange vegetables in steamer and cover. • Cook over medium heat until tender. Don’t overcook.

Drain the noodles and add about 1/2 cup miso-almond sauce and mix. • Serve vegetables on top of noodles and ladle additional sauce over the vegetables.

Variations: Try using other vegetables, such as snow peas, zucchini, bok choy, green beans, asparagus, etc. Other sauces can also be used or simply top with tamari soy sauce and grated ginger.


Miso-Almond Sauce
(Makes 1 3/4 cups)

5 Tbsp light miso
7 Tbsp almond butter
1 cup boiling water

Place the miso and almond butter in a medium sized bowl. • Add half of the water and mash with a spoon until it becomes a uniform paste. • Add the remaining water, and mix until well combined.

Serve over hot steamed vegetables and tofu, or mix into hot soba noodles.


Wednesday ~ Indian-style curry theme

Quick Veggie Masala 

Serves 4, <40 minutes

This dish is quick when you already have the rice cooked. You can also save time and add nutrition by not pealing the potatoes.

4 potatoes, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp Indian curry paste*
1/2 cup of water
2 cups green vegetables, such as peas, green beans or spinach, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp lemon juice (optional)
4 cups cooked brown rice (2 cups dry)

Boil or steam potatoes for 15 minutes.

In a separate pot, sauté onion, oil and curry paste until onion is browned. • Stir in vegetables, potatoes, water and tomatoes and cook gently until tender.

Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve over generous portions of brown rice.

Variations: Add cooked chickpeas or lentils for an extra hit of protein. This dish also goes very well with rotis or chapattis.


Red Lentil Dhal
Serves 4, <40 minutes

This recipe always turns out rich, spicy and satisfying. Using curry paste (sold by the jar) makes it fast and simple to prepare.

1 cup dry red lentils
1 large onion, chopped
1 Tbsp oil for frying
3-4 cups water
1-2 tomatoes, chopped (optional)
Cinnamon stick (optional)
1 Tbsp Indian curry paste*
Salt to taste

Sift through the lentils and remove any tiny rocks (some brands are better than others).

In a large pot, sauté onion with oil and curry paste until softened. • Add rinsed lentils, water and optional tomato and cinnamon stick. • Bring to a boil then simmer covered at a low boil for 20 minutes until the lentils become creamy. • Add salt to taste.

Serve as a soup or over rice.

*Note: if you can’t find curry paste for sale, see recipe below.


Brown Basmati Rice
Serves 4, <50 minutes

2 cups brown basmati rice
4 cups water
1 tsp salt

Bring rice, water and salt to a boil in a pot with a tight-fitting lid. • Simmer for 40 minutes on very low heat. Do not lift the lid or stir!

Variations: add a small handful of cloves, cardamon pods, whole black peppercorns, or lemon peel to the rice before cooking.


Basic Curry Paste
Makes 1/2 cup, <20 minutes

2 1/2 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cracked black peppercorns
1/2 to 2 tsp chili powder or cayenne
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp vinegar (white or apple cider)

Roast coriander and cumin seeds in a dry pan until smelling fragrant. Then grind the seeds using a coffee grinder or mortal and pestle.

Put all ingredients except vinegar into a small bowl and mix together well. Add more or less chili depending on how hot you want it. • Add the vinegar and mix to a smooth paste.

Keep for up to one month in a jar in fridge.


Thursday ~ stirfry & salads

Walnut Broccoli Stir-Fry

Serves 4, <40 minutes

2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 Tbsp oil
1 cup mushrooms, such as fresh shiitake, sliced
1 head of broccoli, coarsely chopped
1 cup walnuts
1 cup water
1 Tbsp cornstarch, dissolved in two Tbsp cold water (optional)
3 Tbsp soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté onions and carrots with oil in a wok or large pot until onion is tender. • Add mushrooms, broccoli and nuts and stir for one or two minutes.

Add the water, cover with a lid, and simmer for a few minutes until broccoli is bright green. Don’t overcook. • Add soy sauce, salt and pepper, and cornstarch dissolved in cold water (to thicken the sauce)

Serve with brown rice (40 min.), quinoa (17 min.) or whole-grain noodles (10 min.).

Variations: Be creative! Experiment with different combinations of fresh veggies, tofu, tempeh, seeds or nuts. For more flavour, try adding ginger, garlic, or hot pepper.



Spinach & Lentil Salad with balsamic-orange dressing
Serves 4, <30 minutes

Try this tasty salad served with whole grain bread.

1 bunch of fresh spinach, washed
1 orange, peeled and sectioned
2 Tbsp almond slivers
1 cup brown or green lentils from a can (or cooked*)

Ingredients for dressing

Zest and juice of one orange
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

Rinse lentils then combine with spinach, almonds and orange.

Whisk dressing ingredients together. • Add salt and pepper to taste.

* When dry, these lentils need to be boiled then simmered for up to 30 minutes until soft.

Based on a recipe by Casey Young (she and her husband took the Veggie Challenge).


Greek Salad
Serves 4, <30 minutes

Half head of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
Half English cucumber, sliced on the diagonal
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 small red onion, chopped
1/4 cup black olives (Kalamata)
10 cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (for a vegan soy feta see our salad page online)

Dressing ingredients

1 Tbsp balsamic (or red wine) vinegar
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Dash of salt

Toss salad in a bowl. Arrange artfully.

Combine dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake. • Pour on dressing just before serving. • Garnish with black pepper.


Friday ~ comfort food theme

Mexican Black Beans with Tacos or Tortillas
Serves 4, <40 minutes

16 corn tacos or tortillas
¼–½ cup water
1 red onion, finely diced
1 (30 g/1 oz) Mexican seasoning package(Frontier Organics, El Paso)
1 (19 oz/540 ml) cans black beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked)
2 Tbsp salsa (mild, medium or hot)
1/2 lime, juiced

Toppings

2 tomatos, diced
Diced red onion (from the bean prep above)
2 cups, shredded lettuce
1 red peppers, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 cup, shredded vegan cheese (optional)

Heat water in a medium saucepan. When it’s boiling, add half the diced onions and taco seasoning and stir to combine evenly. • Add beans, salsa, lime juice and stir. Let cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. • If you have a hand immersion blender, puree the beans or mash with a potato masher (they’ll hold up better on the tostada shells).

Prepare any or all of the toppings.

Spread a thick layer of the mashed beans on the toasted corn tortillas or in the tacos and serve with toppings and guacamole (recipe follows)



Guacamole
Serves 4, <10 minutes

2 ripe avocados
1 lime juiced
½ tsp salt

Mash the avocados with a fork. Add lime and salt. Stir until evenly combined.

Variations: Guacamole is delicious when simple, but you can also add a clove of crushed garlic, diced red onion, fresh chopped cilantro, a few dashes hot sauce or salsa, and/or finely diced tomatoes.


Pesto Pizza
Serves 4, <30 minutes

1 (12 oz) pre-baked pizza crust*
2 Tbsp pesto, store-bought
1 tomato, sliced
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp chili pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 cup grated veggie cheese (optional)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

Place crust on an oiled baking sheet; bake at 400° for 10 minutes.

Spread pesto evenly over crust, leaving a small border. Top with rest of ingredients, except basil. Bake at 400° for 8 minutes or until crust is golden. Apply basil.

*A less expensive and delicious option is to buy a package of fresh pizza dough at the supermarket (look for whole wheat), or make your own from scratch.


Saturday

Here are some fancier dishes for Saturday night.

Chickpea Risotto
Serves 4, <40 minutes, +20 waiting

Jenny of the Veggie Challenge team, loves to add chickpeas to many of her dishes. Here’s one of her favourites.

1 large onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups brown rice, uncooked
4 1/2 cups water
1 soup stock cube
1 (19 oz/540ml) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked)
Seasonings: salt, pepper, oregano, or basil
1 cup asparagus or green beans, chopped
Fresh Italian parsley as garnish

In a large pot with a tight fitting lid, sauté onion and mushrooms in oil. • When the onion becomes golden, add the rice and stir for two minutes.

Add water, stock cube, chickpeas and seasonings to taste. • Stir well, then cover and simmer until the rice is cooked (about 40 minutes).

Near the end, stir in asparagus or green beans • You may want to uncover towards the end to reduce the liquid, if necessary. Mix should be saucy. Garnish with parsley.



Sauteed Greens
Serves 4, <20 minutes

4-5 cups washed greens (bok choy, kale, collards, rapini, spinach, etc.)
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 Tbsp olive oil
Sea salt or soy sauce to taste

Pour 1/2 inch of water into a large pot and bring to a boil. • Add greens, cover and steam until wilted (about 2 minutes). • Remove greens and drain.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and add garlic. Sauté over medium heat 30 seconds. Add greens and sauté for a few minutes. Don’t overcook. • Season with salt or soy sauce.

Variations: Add diced ginger or hot pepper to the oil. Garnish with carrot slivers, sesame seeds or enoki mushrooms.


Orange Teriyaki Tofu
Serves 4-6, <20 minutes + 1 hour baking

Everyone who tried this simple dish at our recipe-testing meeting raved about it. The orange flavour really comes through.

16 oz (500 g) firm tofu (2 blocks)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1/4 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp grated orange peel

Cut tofu into large bite-sized squares and place in bowl. • Blend remaining ingredients. Pour over tofu. • If time allows, marinate for one hour or longer.

Remove tofu from marinade and place in small casserole dish along with 1/2 cup marinade. Bake uncovered in preheated 350°F oven for one hour, gently stirring and basting with marinade every 20 minutes.

Garnish with chopped parsley or fresh coriander. Serve with rice and salad.


Sunday ~ soups & chili

Sunday is a good day to clean out the fridge and make soup or chili out of any veggies to use up. Plus you can freeze portions for easy meals during the week.

Basic Miso Soup
Serves 4, <20 minutes

4 cups water
1/2 cup cubed tofu
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks (optional)
1 sheet dried nori seaweed, cut into strips (optional)
1/2 cup miso
2 Tbsp sliced green onion

Pour the water into a pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and add the tofu and carrots. Simmer for 2 minutes.

Turn off heat and add the miso to the pot and stir well. Top with green onion and nori and serve immediately.

Variations: Add greens, mushrooms or noodles.



Simple Black Bean Soup
Serves 4, <30 minutes

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp ground cumin
2 -3 cloves garlic (optional)
1 small red or green chili pepper (optional)
2 (15 oz/425 ml) cans black beans*
3 cups water (or add soup broth or soup stock cube)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Sauté onion in olive oil in the bottom of a pot. Add a splash of water if too dry. • When onion becomes translucent, add cumin, garlic, if using, and cook for one minute. • Add chili pepper to taste (some chilies are hotter than others.

Add black beans and water (or broth) and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for 15 minutes. • For a smooth soup, use a hand blender to blend the ingredients in the pot, or transfer to a blender.

Serve with a garnish of cilantro.

*Note: you can also use dry black beans. Sort through 1 1/2 cups of beans for any rocks, soak overnight, rinse, then bring to a boil with enough water to cover and simmer for up to one hour until very soft. Hand blending them part way through will speed things up. Note: if your beans are old they may take longer to get soft.


Veggie Chili
6-8 servings, <50 minutes

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp salt or to taste
2 zucchinis, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
1-2 jalapeño hot peppers, de-seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, diced or crushed
2 (28 ounce) cans whole tomatoes
1/4 cup chili powder
2 tsp ground black pepper
3 (15 ounce) cans beans such as kidney, pinto, or black
2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. • Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the zucchini, green peppers, jalapeño peppers, and garlic. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.

Mix the tomatoes into the pot. • Season chili with chili powder and pepper. • Stir in the beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes. • Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.

Tip: Taste how hot the jalapeño pepper is before deciding how much to use. The heat level can very quite a bit, and some may have no heat at all. • For a “meatier” chili throw in a package of ‘ground’ veggie meat.
Save $: sort and soak dry beans the night before instead of using canned beans. Increase cooking time by 10-15 minutes to allow beans to soften completely.