If you are like me and have had more chili in your life than anyone probably needs (thanks to plenty of time spent skiing in the mountains, and a recipe that my sisters and I knew how to make, growing up), you probably don’t get crazy excited over the idea of a nice, warm bowl of chili for dinner. This one is different though. It’s the perfect recipe for possibly the first thing you eat this year.
I have made it with black-eyed peas, because some say that eating black-eyed peas on January 1st brings us good luck. I am willing to buy into anything that may bring some luck, especially if it will definitely bring the delicious (and feed a crowd/freeze well). I have another lucky black-eyed pea recipe here if you’re looking for options.
As always, this is a clean, healthy recipe and is meat-free (although adapts well to any type of meat if you are catering to different palates/people and need to put an extra pot on. More importantly, we have added sweet and ‘beefy’ kabocha squash and some hearty winter greens right at the end, taking this chili to an entirely new place where you will want to spend some time.
It’s not traditional (I’m pretty sure the $2 chili out of the styrofoam cup that you bought as an excuse to loosen up your ski boots for a few minutes wasn’t either) but we tend to focus less on traditional around here and more on does it taste good, and is it nutrient-dense. It SO does and definitely is.
The squash and kale additions make this chili a little more seasonally appropriate (where I’m from) but also add a rich sweetness from the squash, immediately balanced out by the grassy, bitter greens. So much more interesting than all of those tomatoes and peppers by themselves.
I would think the squash and all of its orange beta carotene is pretty lucky on its own, but you can’t ignore the gigundo healthy benefits of the kale (dark, leafy, cruciferous, glucosinolates = an anticancer new years day party -way more fun than it sounds) and all of the luck that comes with good health.
Among the more chili-appropriate, health-promoting spices, we have added turmeric (one of the most well known and celebrated anti-inflammatory foods) because it gets along well with the other spices commonly found in chili/tex-mex-style cuisine. Even if you make a big pot of your own chili recipe (or get your kids to, because they know how to make it) add some turmeric with the other spices. No one will really taste it, but their bodies will hardly believe how lucky 2016 is so far.
My husband’s response to this recipe upon first taste was ‘whoaaaaa, it tastes like chili’. My response was of course, ‘it is’, but I get that it doesn’t look like it in a traditional way. If looking more like chili is an important selling point to you (or your guests), use a mix of beans (black, kidney) to go with the lucky beps, and make sure to set up a fun garnishing bar with fresh chopped cilantro, lime, avocado, red onion and maybe some homemade cashew sour cream (see speedy recipe below).
This not only turns it into a party, but you will also be getting the heavy metal cleansing effects of the cilantro, the healthy, anti-inflammatory effects of the avocado, the vitamin c from the lime, and the quercetin-rich, free radical-scavenging red onions. Also, they freshen up the chili with their rawness and make it kind of fancy and worthy of a first meal of the year. And maybe even second and third (the leftovers taste even better).
Wishing you all a happy, healthy, fun, adventurous and lucky 2016!
- 2 tsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
- 2 c dried Black-eyed Peas (soaked overnight, rinsed and cooked with kombu)
- 1 Leek, diced
- 2 Red Onions, diced
- 6 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1-4 Jalapenos, small diced
- 3-4 Tomatoes (4 cups), diced
- 1 medium Zucchini, diced
- 1 large Bell Pepper (any colour), diced
- 200 g Kabocha Squash (half of a big one) (or other winter squash), seeds removed, large diced (skin ON)
- 3 c Tomato Passata (tomato purée, sold in a jar)
- 3 c Water
- 1 head (or more!) Kale, chopped
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 2 tsp dried Oregano
- 2 tsp dried Turmeric (1 Tbsp + 1 tsp is using fresh)
- 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
- 2 tsp ground Cumin
- Several grinds of Black Pepper (to improve turmeric absorption)
- 2 bunches of Cilantro
- Sea(weed) Salt to taste
- Lime Juice
- Avocado Slices
- Red Onion dice
- Jalapeno slices
- Cashew Sour Cream (soaked cashews, lime or lemon juice and enough water to blend it all together until very smooth)
- In a large pot, sauté the onion, leek and garlic together in the coconut oil and a splash of water until translucent.
- Add the spices and mix well. Continue to sauté for another minute.
- Add the peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, jalapeno, tomato passata, water and cooked black-eyed peas.
- Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Add the squash, put the lid on and let simmer on med/low for another 20 minutes or until the squash is cooked through.
- Stir in the chopped kale and cilantro (reserve some cilantro to garnish).
- Adjust salt and pepper.
- Serve in bowls and top with fresh avocado, cilantro, jalapeno, red onion, cashew sour cream and lots of lime juice.