Hearty Vegetable Chili + Why Tomatoes are AWESOME

I am one of those cooks.

 Aren’t these tomatoes beautiful? garden tomatoes are the best!

Aren’t these tomatoes beautiful? garden tomatoes are the best!

One who will randomly create a dish and NEVER write down what’s in it. It drives Jeff nuts! He knows I will probably forget what I added to the dish… and he is so right. I usually do.

Now that I am a Wholesome team member, I have forced myself to write things down.

I randomly created this chili because I had too many tomatoes sitting on my kitchen counter and I was in the mood for something comforting and warm.

Hearty Vegetable Chili | Wholesome LL

What’s makes my chili different? I use corn and carrots. Yep, not the common vegetables you find in chili, but I think it balances out the texture of the beans.

 You don’t need oil to caramelize vegetables.

You don’t need oil to caramelize vegetables.

 Mash the beans to thicken the chili. it adds an amazing texture!

Mash the beans to thicken the chili. it adds an amazing texture!

Also, I mash some of the beans to help thicken the chili.

What’s the great thing about my chili? If you don’t have some of the vegetables the recipe calls for, add what you have or sounds good to you. Don’t have fresh tomatoes on your counter? Use canned tomatoes--I’ll be doing that once my garden tomatoes are officially harvested.

First, I have to be straight with you. I don’t like fresh tomatoes. I take them off every sandwich and I remove them from every restaurant salad.

Yep, you heard it right. This plant-based, Wholesome team member doesn’t eat fresh tomatoes.

Weirdly enough, I have a goal to teach myself to like raw tomatoes… not there yet… but I’m getting closer! Yes, I know it’s a weird goal. Thankfully, I love them in cooked dishes.

Let’s do a quick rundown of why tomatoes are AWESOME. Here are three reasons why you should find a way to add tomatoes to your regular diet:

  • A study found that people who ate tomatoes or tomato products daily cut their chances of depression in half compared to those who ate them once a week or less. (1)

  • Tomatoes reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Why? The yellow fluid surrounding the seeds has a compound that suppresses platelet activation. (2)

    • Platelets trigger blood clots that cause heart attacks and most strokes. This is similar to the reasons some individuals take baby aspirin to reduce the risk of heart attacks.

  • Cooked tomatoes, instead of raw, are the best when it comes to your body’s ability to absorb the lycopene (3).

    • Lycopene is the antioxidant which gives tomatoes it’s red pigment and has been shown to play a role in preventing and slowing several types of cancer.

There are many other benefits to eating tomatoes, but we’ll touch on more another time.

If you try the chili, tag wholesome on your social media and let us know what you think! (Instagram: @wholesomellc; Facebook: @wholesomellc; Pinterest: wholesome_llc)

❤️l a u r e n

Wholesome Chili

Wholesome Garden Vegetable Chili

Serves 6 Hungry People

optional toppings

avocado

cilantro

tortilla chips

ingredients

1 medium onion, chopped

3 carrots, diced

2 red peppers, or green, chopped

2 zucchini, or yellow squash, diced

Garden Vegetable Chili | Wholesome

1 cup frozen organic corn

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

28 oz can of diced tomatoes, or 7 - 8 ripe tomatoes

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 ½ tablespoon ground cumin

½ tablespoon paprika, or smoked paprika

2 teaspoons oregano

2, 15-ounce cans red kidney beans (reduced sodium if you can)

1, 15-ounce can black beans (reduced sodium if you can)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

4 cups veggie broth (Note: If you like really thick chili, use a little less veggie broth. My husband likes it a little “runny”.)

Salt (Note: If you are using canned tomatoes, add to taste. If you are using fresh tomatoes, 1 teaspoon will do)

½ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

1 tablespoon lime juice

directions

Make life easy. Dice and chop all vegetables before you start anything. If you are using fresh tomatoes, cut them in 4’s and add them to a food processor. I like them “crushed”.

Put a large soup pot on the stove and get it hot! Once hot, add the onion, carrots, and peppers. Stir pretty consistently so the vegetables don’t stick. This process will help caramelize the vegetables without any oil. If the vegetables start to stick, add 2 tablespoons of water at a time. Cook for 8 - 10 minutes. While the above is cooking, chop the zucchini and garlic. Measure your corn.

Then, add the zucchini, corn, and garlic. I add these last because I don’t want their moisture to get in the way of the caramelizing above. Cook 3 - 4 minutes until the zucchini is soft.

While the zucchini is cooking, drain and rinse your beans. You’ll want to add one can of red beans to a bowl and mash them with a fork or potato masher.

Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Stir and cook for one minute or so.

Now, add your mashed beans, whole beans, and tomatoes to the pot. Stir.

Add your tomato paste, vegetable broth and lime juice.

Bring the pot to a boil. Then let it simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with cilantro and avocado. My husband likes to add broken tortilla chips.

Enjoy!

References

  1. Niu K, Guo H, Kakizaki M, et al. A tomato-rich diet is related to depressive symptoms among an elderly population aged 70 years and over: a population-based, cross-sectional analysis. J Affect Disord. 2013;144(1-2):165-70.

  2. Willcox JK, Catignani GL, Lazarus S. Tomatoes and cardiovascular health. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2002;43(1):1-18

  3. Bohm V, Bitsch R. Intestinal absorption of lycopene from different matrices and interactions to other carotenoids, the lipid status, and the antioxidant capacity of human plasma. Eur J Nutr. 1999;38:118-25.

Wholesome Hearty Vegetable Chili