“Cooking is one of the greatest gifts you can give to those you love.” – Ina Garten
One of the best ways to pull myself out of a funky mood is to share my cooking with people I love. Earlier this week, I was feeling a bit down on myself about not prioritizing things correctly and was honestly rather grumpy. However, I really needed to cook something up and decided the comforts of a vegan potato chili were exactly what I needed. I’m currently rooming with some other amazing girls from my travel group and it was an extra treat to be able to share it with them after they arrived home for the day.
Chili is one of my favorite comfort foods because it is easy to make and you can make a ton of it. It reheats well, so it can be the perfect meal prep food to toss into lunch containers for the rest of the week. Better yet, it freezes well if you make way too much (as I typically do).
Plus, chili is one of those great meals that can have so much variety! From the types of veggies used to the spices to the types of beans, you really cannot go wrong. That is one of the beauties of it. Can’t find one of the ingredients you are looking for? Swap it for a similar substitute and it will still taste delicious.
This is a bit of a saving grace for me, as it can be difficult to find the ingredients I am hoping for in various countries. Amusingly enough, I was actually planning on making a sweet potato chili (same recipe), but was shocked when I discovered that purple potatoes in Peru are just “regular” potatoes with purple skin. I was bummed at first, but the chili was just as delicious as I could have hoped for! Easy swap 🙂
Another struggle I have while traveling internationally is not being able to find canned beans as easily as I do at home. While it takes a bit more prep work, I have grown more accustomed to cooking up a bunch of dried beans. It is much easier than you would think! I don’t even soak mine overnight. Of course, I did a bunch of research and found an amazing article on Epicurious about different techniques to cook beans and what worked best for them. This is their method:
“[How to cook quick-soaking beans:] Place 1 lb. dried beans in a large, heavy pot. Cover with water about 2” above top of beans. Cover pot, bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Let rest 1 hour. Stir in 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Uncover, reduce heat, and simmer until beans are tender and creamy, checking after 1 hour and adding more water as necessary to keep beans submerged, 1–1 1/2 hours total.”
I cook a bunch of beans all at once and freeze whatever I do not plan to use right away. I use quart-size freezer bags, which usually measure similarly to a can of beans. If you plan to freeze some, I would keep some of the remaining water in the bag as well. Try to push out as much air out of the bag as possible and lay the bag flat to freeze. This will make the storage of multiple bags much easier.
If you are interested in freezing some of the chili after you have made it, I would follow the same bag storing approach, using quart-size or gallon-size bags. I’m telling you, it is just as good reheated later on!
Okay, without further adieu, let’s make some Vegan Potato Chili!
This recipe is adapted from Cookie & Kate.
Easy Vegan Potato Chili
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2-3 bell peppers, chopped (whatever variety you like)
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes (or sweet potato)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, with their juices*
- 1 can (15 ounces) white beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked white beans
- 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked kidney beans
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Suggested garnishes: avocado, cilantro, squeeze of lime; non-vegan: cheese or sour cream
- In a large pot or dutch oven, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chopped vegetables (onion, peppers and sweet potatoes) and a bit of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start turning translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the garlic and spices (chili powder, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, and another dash of salt and pepper) and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Add the liquid ingredients (tomatoes, beans and broth), and stir. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, until the potatoes are tender and the chili has reduced to a heartier consistency, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Divide the chili into individual bowls, garnish as desired and serve.
I hope this recipe brings you as much comfort as it brought me this week. Chili makes me want to grab a fuzzy blanket and a good book on the couch. Talk about the perfect way to end an evening!
I also have to tell you all how amazing Peru has been so far. If it wasn’t the chili that brought me out of my funk yesterday, it was definitely my roommate screaming when she noticed the sun setting outside our window. Just look at this beautiful pink sky >
What kind of ingredients do you love adding to your chili? Maybe a bit of quinoa or something totally unique? I would love to hear about it in the comments below! And do not forget to ask any questions you have. I am always happy to help.
Enjoy your weekends ahead!
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