Big Batch Vegetarian Chili

When it starts to get cold, and there’s a chill in the air, there’s nothing like having a warm hearty bowl of something tasty. This is a very basic chili recipe which is easy to make, filling and perfect for meal prep or batch cooking. It’s also vegetarian and vegan friendly. Check out the recipe as well as tricks and tricks below!

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Not only does this recipe have spices to give it flavour but several key ingredients boost the nutritional power. All these ingredients are plant-based.

Tomatoes are a good source of dietary fibre, potassium, iron. Like other fruits and vegetables, tomatoes are source of antioxidants. Tomatoes are one of the major sources of the carotenoid lycopene. Lycopene is of particular interest because it may possibly reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers. Cooking tomatoes actually enhances their lycopene content.

Sweet Peppers are a good source of Vitamin C and dietary fibre. They give some colour and added flavour to this recipe.

Capsaicin is a phytochemical found in chili powder and paprika. This is the compound that gives peppers their spiciness. Capsaicin has been widely studied for many different properties which include boosting metabolism and decreasing the risk of some cancers.

Beans and lentils are an incredibly good source of fibre. They also are a vegetarian and low-fat source of protein. This combination of nutrients it was makes them very sustaining. Not only is fibre filling the soluble fibre in beans and lentils may also help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol. Folate and B Vitamins are also found in beans. Some other minerals can be found in beans and lentils including potassium, magnesium, selenium and iron. Iron is of particular importance for anyone following a vegetarian or vegan diet to try and incorporate into their meals.

Recipe Suggestions: Serve topped with some crushed whole grain tortilla chips, diced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, or even low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt!

 

Tips and Tricks

When batch cooking sometimes it is easy to get bored of eating the same thing over again. Here are five variations or hybrid recipes for the basic chili recipe. You will never get bored of batch cooking this recipe when you have these easy variations to mix up your meal plan!

Tex-Mex Casserole – Mix basic chili with cooked rice or quinoa. Pour into a baking dish and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Broil in oven until topping is golden brown and cheese melted.

Taco Salad – Start with a base of your favourite salad greens. Layer with chili, chopped avocado, shredded cheese and tortilla chips.

Chili Pie – Put chili into a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Top with either a batch of cornbread or mashed potatoes, or sweet potatoes. Bake in 350 F oven until cornbread is baked or potatoes are golden brown.

Chili Stuffed Peppers – Clean bell peppers and chop off their tops. Cook peppers in boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove and stuff with chili then top with shredded cheese. Bake, covered, in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes until cheese is melted.

Chili Pasta – Use the chili as a pasta sauce for whole grain pasta and top with grated cheese.

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Greek Chicken Souvlaki Recipe

Chicken souvlaki was one of my favourite items to order in Greece. Souvlaki literately translated means “meat on a stick”. Being gluten and dairy intolerant it is challenging for me to find menu options but chicken souvlaki is gluten and dairy free so this was one of my staple orders when I was in Greece.

They originally made souvlaki with pork and beef, but as these are red meats, and red meats may cause greater levels of inflammation in the body compared to white meats like chicken breast, making souvlaki with chicken has its advantages.

 

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Chicken souvlaki is also a very versatile dish. You can serve it alongside a Greek Salad or in a pita with a variety of toppings like olives, tzatziki, tomatoes, peppers etc.

I had an interesting experience at a restaurant in Athens where I ordered chicken souvlaki. My meal came to my table skewered into half an orange which they set on fire to keep the chicken warm (see photo below). It was quite surprising when my waiter brought that to my table and set it down before me!

Athens Chicken

Another meal idea inspiration is chicken souvlaki with roasted vegetables. It’s a great combo because you can roast the vegetables and cook the souvlaki at the same time! Prepare your vegetables (just drizzle some cut up vegetables with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and a little garlic powder) and put them in oven 10 min earlier than the chicken because they take a little longer to cook (about 35 min). When it’s time to put the chicken in the oven give the vegetables a shake. When you turn over the chicken souvlaki again give your vegetables a shake to ensure even cooking. There you go! A 2 for 1 deal meal ready in 35 min!

Chicken Souvlaki and Roasted Vegetables

I love how simple this recipe is to make! You just marinade and grill the meat. If you don’t have a grill or a barbeque, you can always roast the skewers in the oven at 350 F for 25min instead. In fact, baking and grilling meats are a healthier way to cook meat vs. frying for example. Furthermore, the ingredients that go into souvlaki marinade (lemon juice, olive oil and garlic) will not add extra calories, fat or sugar like barbeque sauce or other marinades might but they still combine to give the meat an incredible flavour.

Greek Chicken Souvlaki

 

Greek Stuffed Eggplant Recipe

Do you know the power of a family meal? There is nothing like the feeling of coming home to a home-cooked meal and enjoying good food with people important to you. On my recent trip to Greece to spend time with my family. While I was there, I had some incredible home-cooked and traditional Greek meals. I dedicate this recipe to my cousin, who made this very meal for me my first night in her home in Greece.

Greek stuffed eggplant,  also known as melitzanes papoutsakia. The translation of papoutsakia is actually “little shoes” which I think is rather cute, and so is this dish!

It is a very filling dish and one or two eggplants will be more than enough to satisfy you!

Not only does this meal taste incredible, but there are so many good things about the ingredients! Check out the nutritional benefits that some ingredients offer:

Eggplant is a very high-fibre vegetables which is one reason this dish is so filling! Owing to their purple colour, eggplants are high in anthocyanins, the blue-purple pigment with antioxidant properties which can help protect cells from free-radical damage.

Onion are a vegetable low in calories but which provides moderate amounts of fibre, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium. Onions are also a source of a phytochemical which may raise levels of a protective enzyme that inactivates cancer-causing agents in the body!

Tomatoes are highly nutrient dense providing fibre and many vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and potassium. The red pigment “lycopene” which gives tomatoes their colour which may act as an antioxidant in the body to reduce the risk of some cancers, and cardiovascular disease.

Olive Oil must be the most iconic of Greek cuisine ingredients. Olive oil is a source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) which may lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Olive oil is a staple in any Mediterranean diet and may be one reason for lower rates of chronic diseases observed in those who follow a Mediterranean diet. Olive oil is a source of two powerful phytochemicals which may protect against breast cancer, clogged arteries and high blood pressure.

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There are some variations you can try with this recipe. You can top your eggplant with cheese or a slice or two of tomato.

Whatever meat you choose, look for lean ground meat as it is lower in less healthy fats (the olive oil we use in this recipe will still provide with fat – which is important for good health – but a much healthier fat). If you really want to make something special, try substituting ground lamb for ground beef in the recipe below.

Of course, you can always make this meatless by swapping the ground beef for a can of lentils, rinsed and drained.

This recipe goes great paired with a Greek Salad!

Greek Stuffed Eggplant

Sharing some of my favourite photos from Greece below to make this even more authentic!