If you work in an office, chances are at some point, you will be asked to contribute to The Office Potluck and if you work in my office, you will probably be asked to do this a LOT. My office loves a potluck–birthdays, holidays, you name it and we throw a potluck for it! I’ve noticed a few things to be true for every single one of them:
- There has to be fried chicken. Seriously, if there is no fried chicken, people might just opt out of the potluck entirely.
- Greg must bring his famous Asian chicken salad. I’m not sure if it’s a blessing or a curse that the office staff will not accept any other dish from him, but at least he doesn’t have to wonder what he’s bringing to the potluck.
- The vegetarians in the office get stuck with the sad, bagged salad and limp veggies from the veggie tray picked up in a rush that morning on the way to the office. Really, folks, nobody likes those veggie trays. Don’t buy ’em!
So, for the last day of Vegetarian Awareness Month, I swore to become more aware of the vegetarians and vegans in the office and made something special for them. Chef Chad Sarno’s Smoky Veggie Chili perfectly fit the bill and to my surprise, it was a big hit with the omnivores as well! This chili has a perfect amount of heat and is so full of vegetables that the meat isn’t missed at all! Chopping lots of vegetables always takes a bit of time, but once the initial preparation is out of the way, the chili comes together very quickly. I was lucky enough to have some hatch chiles in the freezer that I added to the recipe, but of course that is completely optional. The chili is fantastic the first day that it’s made, but if you can, make it a day ahead. You’ll find that the flavors really come together after a night in the refrigerator!
Smoky Chipotle Vegan Chili
Recipe lightly adapted from Chad Sarno’s Smoky Veggie Chili
- 1 medium sweet or white onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 1/2 Cups vegetable stock (divided)
- 1 large sweet potato, cubed
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped
- 3 roasted hatch chiles, chopped (optional)
- 1 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes (I used Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes)
- 1-15 1/2 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1-151/2 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup chopped kale
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Ancho chili powder (If you don’t have Ancho chili powder, simply use 1 tablespoon of regular chili powder)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 t/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1-3 chipotle chilis in adobo (depending on how much heat you prefer), chopped
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- Green onion, sliced
- kosher salt
- Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large soup pot. Saute the onion and garlic until they become translucent and begin to brown. Add 1/2 cup of the vegetable stock to deglaze the pan.
- Add the chili powders, cumin, smoked paprika, chopped chipotles to the pot and stir well to completely coat the onion in the spices. Cook for about 1 minute until the spices become fragrant. Add the cubed sweet potato and the remaining 2 cups of vegetable stock to the pot and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes until the potatoes start to become tender.
- Pour the canned tomatoes into a large bowl and crush them with your hands, discarding any tough bits. Pour the crushed tomatoes into the pot with the potatoes along with the zucchini, mushrooms and the rinsed canned beans. Season with a teaspoon of kosher salt. Simmer for about 20 minutes until all of the vegetables are tender.
- Add the chopped kale and cilantro to the pot and cook for an additional 5 minutes until the kale is wilted.
- Serve with chopped avocado, sliced green onion and dairy-free sour cream (recipe follows).
Non-Dairy Sour Cream
Adapted from Chad Sarno
- 1 cup cashews,
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- pinch of salt
- In a medium bowl, soak the cashews in water for at least 2 hours.
- In a blender, add the soaked cashews and enough water to just cover them, the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and salt. Blend on high speed until creamy