You just woke up and you’re 1 week in to the new year. On go your slippers and you walk out of your bedroom. You know you have to look. Burying your head in the sand never did anyone any favors. So you brace yourself and your gut squeezes tight. You breathe deep as the numbers are loading. You wince, close your eyes, and slightly open them to check the damage of the holiday season. Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t have bought myself those extra Christmas gifts. And holy hell?! How did I spend that much on groceries when I was away for 2 weeks out of the month? But I liiiike to eat healthy and it makes me feel good so I can justify countless trips to farmers markets, Whole Foods and the Coop. Realistically, it’s nothing you can’t recover from. But you DO have to recover and that’s the hard part. After reassessing where some of my money is going I am buckling down on my groceries and restaurant spending. It’s too bad because it’s something that I am really good at and I hate to be a quitter. But saving for more fun things like trips abroad and to snowboard in the mountains is worth the lifestyle change. Going cheaper doesn’t mean eating noodles out of a styrofoam container. I can still get fresh veggies and fruits from the farmers markets and eat satiating delicious meals. It’s just going to take some planning and a teeny bit of discipline. I am aiming to cut my bill by $100/month by meal planning, writing lists to avoid impulse buying and using what I have on hand instead of heading to the store for more goods because I want to experiment. This will actually force me to be a bit more creative, so I’m excited to see how these next few weeks go. Chili is a perfect “clean out your pantry” dish. Most of these ingredients are in our pantries or cheap to buy. But this chili has a little something extra. One: it’s vegan. Two: it’s topped with a warm cornbread, which can be made gluten-free if needed. You can skip the dippin’ because it’s already there for you. This is something that my mom used to make and is a recipe that I adopted from her recipe book that she made for us as Christmas gifts a few years ago. It’s so warming which is perfect for warming up after playing in the snow or a cold rainy day, just like today.
Vegan chili sin carne cornbread pie (gluten-free)
2.5 c. cooked and rinsed white, black and pinto beans(See notes for tip on cooking dried beans)
2 cans diced tomato
1 can tomato paste
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow), chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. cacao powder (optional)
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 tbsp. chopped parsley leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. cornmeal
1/4 c. oat flour (gluten-free if gf)
1 tbsp. arrowroot powder (or oat flour)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 c. non dairy milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. chopped parsley
1 tbsp. chopped spring onion
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
Combine the milk and apple cider vinegar in a cup and set aside.
In a large pot sauté the onion in olive oil over medium-low heat until soft and tender. Add garlic and bell pepper and increase to medium heat and cook for 5-6 minutes.
Add the beans, tomatoes and tomato paste and stir to combine. Add in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes covered, stirring occasionally .
Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 425˚ F. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with a fork until well combined.
Pour chili mixture into a 9 inch skillet or 2 quart casserole dish, leaving some room (1″-2″) to pour the cornmeal mixture. (You may have some leftover which you can freeze for an easy lunch). Pour the cornbread mixture over the chili in the skillet. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Notes: To save time for cooking dried beans I start them in the morning by covering them in a pot with water, boil the water while I’m cooking breakfast and then turn off before I leave for work, leaving them covered. This allows them to cook in the low heat contained in the pot throughout the day and may only take another 20 minutes to cook when I return home.