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It’s camping season! Actually, it’s sort of the middle of camping season. See, in California, we are lucky to have great weather that allows you to camp almost any time of the year. It depends on how much of the elements you’re willing to weather (it rained on us this year over President’s Day weekend). But generally speaking, there is some place you can camp whenever you feel like it.
And lately, I’ve been wanting to camp a lot! In fact, this year, we’ve gone twice already. The aforementioned trip in the rain near San Luis Obispo. And then we went to Utah and Colorado to camp in Moab and Mesa Verde. Something about being able to unplug and enjoy nature.
In Utah, we went to Arches National Park and spent a couple days hiking. The hike to Delicate Arch was awesome. This photo doesn’t quite do it justice, but it was neat to see the snow capped mountains in the distance.
Arches National Park had beautiful scenery and breathtaking landforms. We were there in early spring, so the clouds (and storms and rain and hail and snow) came and went pretty quickly. Desert climate for you, right?
But sunrise in Moab over our campsite was stellar.
And, of course, being me, I was obsessed with food the whole time. Yes, I’m the one who goes on vacation and cooks almost every meal. Also a great way to keep warm when it’s 28°F overnight.
While in Mesa Verde, I found this awesome cookbook called Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations (<- affiliate!). Cookbooks friends, cookbooks! Leave it to me to go camping and come home with a cookbook. Regardless, the book is full of traditional recipes and recipes using traditional foods including heirloom beans such as Anasazi beans and Zuni Gold beans.
In addition to the cookbook, I brought home 10 pounds of dried beans. I mean, it’s really just too easy not to bring home dried beans. I make a pot of beans almost every week, and decided to make a few of the bean recipes from Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations (<- affiliate!). One of my favorites was this vegetarian chili with Anasazi beans. The original recipe is Pinon Chile Beans which is very similar to a tomato based ground meat and bean chili. Since I had 10 pounds of Anasazi and Zuni Gold beans, I decided to use some of those in my vegetarian chili.
Even in summer, I love chili and this vegetarian chili with Anasazi beans is no exception. It’s an easy, fast recipe and hearty enough to be a meal in itself. It’s a great addition to chili mac or chili fries. And you can’t make only a little. In my experience, Anasazi beans need little to no soaking time before cooking. Prepare them the way you would other beans such as pinto or black beans. You could also use Anasazi beans in this sweet potato enchilada casserole.
A bonus with this vegetarian chili recipe is that you can easily make it in a dutch oven over a campfire! Or, make the vegetarian chili ahead of time, freeze it, and heat it over the campfire. I put vegetarian chili in gallon ziplocs, lay them flat on a baking sheet, and freeze them that way. They make great ice packs in a cooler if you’re car camping, and defrost more quickly since they have a greater surface area. This sweet potato chili with black beans is another excellent camping meal.
Let me know if you try this recipe. Leave a comment below or share it on social media with the hashtag #seasonedvegetable!
Vegetarian Chili with Anasazi Beans
This vegetarian chili made with Anasazi beans is easy and fast! Make ahead or make a double batch for a hearty dinner to serve with your favorite toppings.
small onion , diced (about 225 grams)
green bell peppers, stems removed, seeded and diced (275 grams)
Smart Ground or your favorite meatless crumble
28-ounce can whole fire roasted tomatoes
jalapeno peppers, stems removed, seeded and diced
cooked Anasazi beans
cooked kidney beans (14.5-ounce can)
Toppings such as: sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro, avocado, green onions
In a large pan or pot, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and salt. Cook, stirring frequently until onions are translucent and fragrant, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Stir in garlic, bell peppers, Smart Ground and chile powder. Cook another 5 minutes.
Roughly chop the whole canned tomatoes. Then add tomatoes pot. Add in jalapeno, Anasazi beans, kidney beans and corn.
Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes until heated through. Serve with plain or with your desired toppings.
Adapted from Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations
The original recipe calls for pinto beans but I used Anasazi beans. They’re quite similar, but the Anasazi heirloom beans make this dish a little more unique! This is an easy recipe that feeds a crowd and could easily double. Use frozen corn to make this vegetarian chili any time of the year. But fresh corn or grilled corn are excellent in this vegetarian chili with Anasazi beans.
The recipe itself is vegan and you can serve this vegetarian chili with your favorite vegan toppings.
The original recipe calls for 2 pounds of lean ground beef. You could also use ground turkey in this recipe instead of the Smart Ground.
CHECK THE FRIDGE
Have other vegetables in the fridge? Carrots or dark leafy greens could easily be added. Can’t find Anasazi beans? Double up the kidney beans, or use a mixture of pinto and kidney beans to keep it interesting.
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