Greet fall with soups, chili and stews
As we move into the middle of October, many people find themselves dreading the cooler weather but looking forward to those annual holiday festivities.
For me, I find myself savoring the flavors of fall and suddenly adding cinnamon, pumpkin and ginger to anything I can.
Fall is my favorite season and, in my opinion, much too short between the extremes of summer and winter. While summer and winter both have their own flavors that I enjoy, fall brings the ones I’ve been craving since last year.
It’s not just flavors though. It’s textures and scents too. There’s nothing better than walking in the door after being out in the brisk fall air and smelling homemade soups and stews. And while summer has it’s pescatarian and vegetarian versions of hamburgers and hot dogs, I find the coming of fall to be a relief.
I no longer have to struggle to change up my menu with new entrees. There’s always a new soup, chili or stew to try.
Since becoming a pescatarian, my views on these types of items have changed drastically. During my teenage years, you couldn’t pay me enough to eat soups or stews. I might have dabbled in chili, but they just didn’t seem satisfying. Now, I can’t get enough of homemade soups.
While I’m an advocate for soups during the chilly weather, canned soups always concern me. While not only being heavily salted and made with more preservatives than I could possibly name, many companies use meat stocks and gravies. And while not all do, I always consult the ingredients list on the back of the can in case.
Soups, chili and stews are easy to make and incredibly delicious though, so I find no need to even consider canned ones. Additionally, I can control what’s in them. So if I like my tomato soup on the thicker side or my chili a little spicier I can make sure it’s to my liking.
Homemade soups also give you a great opportunity to add more proteins and vegetables than you would find in a can.
While a canned vegetarian soup may have very few black beans, I can load mine up with it. Or I can experiment with add- ing some soy products like tofu or edamame, which are a form of soy beans. It’s all up to my imagination and preferences.
Soups, chili and stew can literally take a half- hour to make too. While some are intricate and seem to take forever, some simple yet savory ones take only as long as the time to chop up the ingredients and throw them into a pot.
Additionally, since I am the only person in my family with a veggie based diet, soups, chili and stews pleases every member of my household with only one meal preparation. If it’s a good soup, no one even misses the meat product.
Now, soups, stews and chili aren’t the only thing making my fall menu. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin chai tea, pumpkin tempura and, well, just about any other pumpkin product is there too. Each year I look forward to finding anything I could want in a pumpkin flavor.
And now we come to another recipe. What’s it going to be? Well, I love a nice hearty bowl of chili, so here’s my two bean chili, which can easily be changed to a three, four or more bean chili, just be sure to add more liquid. Two-bean chili Ingredients: One can of black beans, rinsed and drained
One can of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
One can of crushed tomatoes with basil
One medium green or red pepper One jalapeno Two cloves garlic One cooking onion
In a large pot heat over medium-high, heat one to two tablespoons of olive oil. Add garlic and sauté until the garlic starts to brown. This should take one to two minutes. Add onion and continue to sauté until the onion softens, another one to two minutes. Add peppers, sauté until peppers soften and onion becomes a translucent color. Pour the can of crushed tomatoes into the pot, making sure to stand back in case of splatter. Mix together and add rinsed and drained beans. Season the chili to taste with black pepper, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder and hot sauce. Serve with rice, noodles or eat on its own.
Food for Thought Caitlin Burns