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Vegetarian Kids - Chilli Bean Recipe Courtesy of Cookie and Kate

As my 10-year-old daughter Abbie moves towards vegetarianism, meal times get harder and harder. As with a lot of things these days I am filled with mixed emotions: admiration, frustration, and worry simultaneously.


Worry being the top of my list. I am concerned about being able to supply my growing child with all the protein she needs. YES I have watched The Game Changers movie and know the arguments from both sides; I understand the brainwashing tactics of the meat industry, but also the potential nutritious lack from a vegetarian or plant-based diet if not executed properly. Abbie is not a bean eater, she doesn't like tofu, and as for lentils...that's another story. I asked Abbie why she has decided to move towards vegetarianism, and this was her response:


“I want to be vegetarian because I want to save all the animals, I want them to be happy but sometimes it’s hard because sometimes I do like meat”

then adding


"I don’t like the texture of chicken, pork and lamb anymore - it’s too chewy. I will still eat cow (steak) but I’d rather not eat it at all. But bacon is my weakness as I love the taste.”

In times of need I reach out to my Green School community for recommendations of veggie recipes that their kids enjoy, and (as ever) I got a heap of ideas to try. The first one was from my friend Chloe who recommended a recipe from @cookieandkate which I wanted to pass on to you. This one pot wonder is not just an amazing bean chilli, I have also incorporated it in the following ... * A quesadilla with cheese * Spaghetti sauce * The base of a pizza Note: I didn't add the chilli in the kids version but I put fresh chopped chilli on mine. I am very happy to support Abbie’s decision, and now my job is to keep a close eye on her diet and to introduce recipes with pulses and legumes that will increase her protein intake. I’m pleased to say, things are changing: she is open to trying new things with a lentil dhal recently being added to her menu. Any other delicious dishes we discover on our vegetarian adventure I will be sure to share through my social channels, including Instagram and Facebook And finally, thank you so much to Kate, from Cookie and Kate

HOMEMADE VEGETARIAN CHILLI


The smoky, complex flavour of this simple vegetarian chilli comes from basic pantry ingredients, vegetables and spices! It makes great leftovers, too. Recipe yields 4 large or 6 moderate servings of chilli


INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 medium red onion, chopped 1 large red bell pepper, chopped 2 medium carrots, chopped 2 ribs celery, chopped 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced 2 tablespoons chilli powder*. 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika* 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 large can (28 ounces) or 2 small cans (15 ounces each) diced tomatoes**, with their juices 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained 2 cups vegetable broth or water 1 bay leaf 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnishing 1 to 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar or lime juice, to taste Garnishes: chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, tortilla chips, sour cream or crème fraîche, grated cheddar cheese, etc.


INSTRUCTIONS

In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, carrot, celery and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Stir to combine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, chilli powder, cumin, smoked paprika and oregano. Cook until fragrant while stirring constantly, about 1 minute.

Add the diced tomatoes and their juices, the drained black beans and pinto beans, vegetable broth and bay leaf. Stir to combine and let the mixture come to a simmer. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, for 30 minutes.

Remove the chilli from the heat and discard the bay leaf. For the best texture and flavour, transfer 1 1/2 cups of the chilli to a blender, making sure to get some of the liquid portion. Securely fasten the lid and blend until smooth (watch out for hot steam), then pour the blended mixture back into the pot. (Or, you can blend the chilli briefly with an immersion blender, or mash the chilli with a potato masher until it reaches a thicker, more chilli-like consistency.)

Add the chopped cilantro, stir to combine, and then mix in the vinegar, to taste. Add salt to taste, too—I added 1/4 teaspoon more at this point. Divide the mixture into individual bowls and serve with garnishes of your choice. This chilli will keep well in the refrigerator for about 4 days or you can freeze it for longer-term storage.


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