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House-Bound Vegetarian Chili

This is from our first Meatless Monday show and since it’s a day when most of us are storm-bound, it was a meal made from scrounging.


  • From the pantry: 3 fat cloves of garlic, chopped
  • a cup or so of chopped onion (I used our 3 remaining cooking onions)
  • a large can of tomatoes, chopped (I had most of a can frozen in a glass jar)
  • a can of beans: kidney are traditional but whatever you’ve got will do. I’ve used pinto beans.
  • olive oil
  • Oregano: a big pinch
  • chili powder: a good tablespoon
  • turmeric: maybe ½ tsp
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • From the refrigerator: 2 or 3 carrots, chopped
  • a handful of mushrooms, chopped
  • if you have any celery, chop however much you like, including the leaves (We’re right out of celery, but I love it in chili)
  • fresh thyme, leaves only: 1 to 2 tsps
  • From the freezer: a little more than a cup of chopped peppers (I used red and yellow from a bag of grilled frozen peppers, store-bought)
  • a cup or so of frozen peas


Heat a nice splash of oil in a large skillet, preferably one with a lid.

Add the carrots, onions, garlic and tumeric and stir for a few moments

Add the onions and chili powder and stir until onions become translucent.

Then add the peas, tomatoes, cumin, oregano and thyme.

Bring to a boil, add the kidney (or pinto) beans, stir, reduce the heat, cover and leave the kitchen for about 15 minutes.

When you come back, the kitchen will smell lovely and warm. Add fresh ground pepper and sea salt to the chili. Taste and correct seasoning. I added a generous pinch of chili pepper flakes to give the chili a bit of a kick.

This looks like it would serve 4 ravenous or 6 hungry people. We’ll probably freeze some or just keep it on hand for lunch as well as supper.

To serve, spoon the chili into bowls. I haven’t got any nice fresh herbs to chop on top, which is what I might do ordinarily.

Stan Parsons at the Merchant Warehouse here served chili, the regular kind, a couple of Fridays ago and he served it topped with a tortilla chip and some freshly grated cheese. Looked very appealing.

I have some aged white cheddar and some parmegiano reggiano, which is what Italians call Parmesan. It’s old and hard and utterly indispensable in my view, as it lasts a long time and can perform wondrous tricks in the kitchen.

We still have a couple of pears so I’ll peel and slice them onto half of a plate for dessert. I’ll pour a wee dollop of balsamic vinegar on the other half of the plate, then some thin slices of parmegiano reggiano.

Next week, we’ll have made it to Corner Brook and brought home all sorts of fresh things. And what to do with it all will be the subject of next week’s…

Meatless Monday!