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Spicy Vegetarian Chili

With the start of this new year my husband and I decided we wanted to make it a year about getting healthy and watching what we eat. To do this we decided to join Weight Watchers since we personally know so many people who have had great results with the program. We have been on the program now for a whole month and it has been amazing! I thought there wasn’t anything new that I could learn about eating healthy, but my eyes have been opened to some new truths. The biggest thing the program teaches you is portion sizes and just how to count and calculate what those are. For us it wasn’t so much a matter of what we were eating, but how much. And the other beautiful thing about the program is it allows room for everything in moderation! My birthday happened to fall within the first few weeks of joining the program and I indulged in an 11 point slice of cheesecake, when I am only allowed 26 points per day (and 49 extra points for the whole week), and I still lost 2 pounds that week! See you can have the cheesecake one day, just not every day! :)

Now about this delicious chili…this was on the cover of the Jan/Feb issue of Food Network Magazine, which just happens to be their “light” issue. This chili is completely meatless and you wouldn’t even know it. There is so much flavor and texture in this chili from all the wonderful vegetables and beans. The one thing about this chili that I would say is the “secret ingredient” is the grated cauliflower added toward the end of the cooking process. Cauliflower doesn’t have much taste to it, however in this dish it gives the look and texture of ground chicken or turkey. And for all you Weight Watchers members out there, one serving (about 1 1/2 cups) is only 4 points!

Spicy Vegetarian Chili

I brought this as a healthy option this past Sunday to our family Super Bowl party and it was liked by all who tried it. It is a little spicy, however I thought the spice level was perfect, but if you are not a fan of spicy you might want to adjust it by leaving out the chipotle chili or adjusting the amount of chili powder.

Spicy Vegetarian Chili

This is the perfect chili for others who are looking for a healthy way to start their year or to any one just looking to keep warm during these cold winther months.

Spicy Vegetarian Chili
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2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large bell peppers (1 green, 1 red), chopped
3 medium carrots, finely chopped
Salt
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons dried oregano
½ to 1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ cup brewed coffee
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
½ head of cauliflower
½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers, carrots and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots begin to soften, about 8 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes.

Add the chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, chipotle, and tomato paste and cook, stirring until the tomato paste is brick red, about 4 minutes (add a splash of water if the mixture begins to stick).

Add the coffee and simmer until almost completely reduced, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, pinto beans and 2 ½ cups of water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens slightly, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim the large stems off the cauliflower and coarsely grate the florets on a box grater. About 10 minutes before the chili is done cooking, stir in the grated cauliflower. Cook 10 minutes, then remove from the heat. Stir in the chopped cilantro and season with salt. Add some water if the chili is too thick. Serve with your choice of toppings.

Servings: 6-8

Adapted from: Food Network Magazine, Jan/Feb 2012, Cover Recipe

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