Meatless (Debate) Monday: Vegetarian Chili

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This Vegetarian Chili is perfect for spooning into your dropped jaw during tonight's political debate.

There will probably be some jaw-dropping comments made during tonight’s presidential debate, so here’s a warmly spiced, hearty Vegetarian Chili to spoon into your mouth during those moments. You can feel good knowing that this Meatless Monday recipe does not include ingredients from pork barrels or any lame ducks.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 yellow onion
1 medium eggplant
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 tablespoon canola
1 zucchini
2 to 3 portobello mushrooms, black gills scraped out with a spoon
4 ounces kale, cut into thin ribbons then roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups water
4 ounces sour cream (optional)
2 scallions, sliced thin (optional)
1 avocado, sliced thin (avocado)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
1 tablespoon minced cilantro (optional)

Directions
In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper, oregano, and cayenne pepper.

Cut the onion, eggplant, and bell peppers into a small dice that will fit nicely on a spoon, then heat the canola oil in a large soup pot, set over medium-low heat. Add the vegetables and sweat, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant begins to break down and the onions are tender – about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the zucchini and portobello mushrooms into small dice and add them to the pot along with the kale pieces. Cook this mixture for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the mushrooms release their liquid.

Sprinkle the spice mixture and garlic into the pot and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly to toast the spices and prevent the garlic from burning.

Pour in the diced tomatoes with their juice, the rinsed black beans, and the water. Simmer the chili on low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, then serve as is or with optional garnishes.

This recipe makes about 8 servings.