Thanks so much to Kastriot Marku, a manager at Sam Snead’s Tavern here in Maitland, who joined us to make vegetarian chili on a cold January night. Warm and savory, we all came back for seconds!

CHEF’S TIP: Did you know that leaving the pit in an unused half avocado or adding the pit to a container of guacamole will help keep the flavor and color longer?

sam snead

Vegetarian Chili

Serves 6. Prep time about 30 minutes. Cook time up to 2 hours.

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions

1 cup chopped red bell peppers

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 to 3 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced (to taste)

1 medium zucchini, diced (stem ends trimmed)

1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms (about 5 large), stemmed, wiped clean, and cubed

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped

3 cups cooked black beans, or canned, rinsed and drained

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 cup vegetable stock or water

2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (about 3 ears)

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Cooked brown rice

Sour cream or plain yogurt, and/or diced avocado, and/or shredded cheese, garnish

Heat oil on medium high. Add onions, bell peppers, garlic, serrano peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms,  and cook until slightly caramelized.

Stir in chili powder, cumin, salt, cayenne. Add tomatoes, black beans, tomato sauce, vegetable stock, and cook until thickened to taste (anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours).

Add corn and cook until thoroughly heated. Stir in cilantro. Serve over rice, if desired, and garnish to taste.

Nutrition information, per serving: calories 311; fat 7 g (saturated fat 0.5g); protein 13g; carbohydrates 51g; sugar 15g; fiber 12g; cholesterol 0mg; sodium 1,040mg

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