Bean & Butternut Squash Vegan Chili – Ate by Ate Cooks Fall Comfort Food!

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Ate by Ate is baaaack!  Taking a week off was one of the weirdest feelings in the world.  I haven’t stopped blogging for more than a day in the last two years so with the exception of posting some photos to Ate by Ate’s Facebook galleries, not blogging at all for a week was a complete 180.  I don’t think there will ever be a time when I’ll feel completely caught up, but a week off was exactly what I needed.  It took the pressure off, I got to do a little bit of holiday planning with friends, and while I still feel like there are a million things to do for Ate by Ate, at least I’m a tiny bit caught up on sleep at the very least!

And now we’re ready to dive right into the holiday blitz!  I’m so, SO excited for Christmas and the holidays.  I’m excited to see friends, to give my family and friends their presents, and of course, to eat!  I’m currently working on the December Food Calendar (the 1st draft went to Food Bloggers of Canada last night!) and I’m planning my weekends of food the best I can.  I forsee Christmas cupcakes, vegetarian yummies, tea, hot drinks, peppermint and candy canes, cookies, baking, and hopefully lots of special winter menu items and comfort food!

Cooking up a storm!

My week off from blogging not only allowed me to do some heavy-duty planning for the month of December, it also allowed me to cook for the very first time!  I KNOW!  The girl who has only ever baked has finally cooked a great, hearty meal all on her own from scratch!  For those of you who don’t know, my mum has always done the cooking in my family and shoos me out of the kitchen.  Always has, probably always will so long as I’m living under the same roof.  I consider myself lucky when I can take out my baking sheets and mixing bowls without so much as a frown.  Maybe I’m exaggerating a little.  Point is, I’ve read food magazines since the age of 8, have watched more cooking and food shows than I have anything else, have been fascinated by cooking and baking and the culinary arts for years, but have never truly cooked!

Boiling water for pasta and noodles doesn’t count.  Making sandwiches and salads don’t count.  Or eggs.  I’m not discrediting the preparation of those foods at all because goodness knows making food isn’t a skill you’re just naturally born with, but it’s just different for me because of how I’ve grown up.  I’m not a food blogger with a wealth of cooking experience under her belt and I don’t have a plethora of recipes (although I do hope everyone enjoys the cookie and baking ones I do post!); but what I do have is a willingness to learn and a passion that sees no end.

So, what did I end up making as my very first, real foray into cooking?  VEGAN CHILI!  I cannot tell you how happy and elated I feel about this meal!  I couldn’t stop smiling for the entire day after I made it.  I feel so proud that I did it all on my own and that it didn’t taste awful – I got the thumbs up from both my brother and my mum and I thoroughly enjoyed it myself!  I took a cue from this vegetarian chili recipe from All Recipes.com, modified it, and made it my own.  And best of all, I used the most amazing, delicious and fresh butternut squash from the Evergreen Brick Works farmers’ market to make it!  And if you can believe, it feeds 4 hungry stomachs and is incredibly hearty!  I hope you all enjoy it as much I did!

Bean & Butternut Squash Vegan Chili recipe

Serves 4 to 6

(adapted from “The Best Vegetarian Chili in the World”, allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 fl oz/796 mL) no-salt added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 can (19 fl oz/540 mL) no-salt added red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 can (19 fl oz/540 mL) no-salt added mixed bean medley (white kidney beans, chickpeas, romano beans), rinsed
  • 1-1/2 cups peeled, chopped butternut squash
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 Tbsp. crushed red pepper/chili flakes
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 can (12 fl oz/341 mL) corn kernels

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in large, deep nonstick skillet on medium heat.  Stir in onion and garlic; cook 3 min. or until onion is tender.  Add tomatoes and oregano; cook 5 min., stirring occasionally.
  2. Add beans, butternut squash and spices; stir until evenly combined.  Add water, bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 25 min.
  4. Stir in corn, cook 5 min.  Serve with hummus or avocado.

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Weekly Feature: The Grad Lounge – Vegan Chili to Warm Up the Winter

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On winter days, after a grueling day at work or school, waiting out in the cold for the bus, and shovelling the never ending heaps of snow off your driveway, you crave warmth and comfort.  Something you can curl up with on the couch with a blanket in front of the television.  Maybe a bowl of soup, or a warm bowl of rice or noodles in broth…or maybe chili.  I’ll be honest, I was never the biggest fan of chili.  Between soup and chili, I would choose soup any day.  But I’m very pleased to say The Grad Lounge gave me a newfound appreciation for it, and I think I know why.  I hate meat chili.  Okay, maybe hate is too strong a word, but it makes me go “blech”.  And The Grad Lounge’s chili is vegan with enough vegetables to cover a corn field and it SO hearty and juicy and yummy and GOOD.  It’s the kind of food where each spoonful is just as enjoyable as the last and you can’t seem to get yourself to eating it.  THAT GOOD.

Now, I may cancel out the vegan and make mine simply vegetarian by adding a dollop of sour cream (because I love sour cream the same way I love cream cheese!  Wow, what a dairy whore I am), but the chili on its own is accompanied by a roll or corn muffin, and comprised of chopped green and red bell peppers, onions, celery, and jalapeño peppers, as well as plenty of red kidney beans, green lentils, black beans, crushed plum tomatoes, and corn.  The vegan chili is seasoned with Mexcian chili pepper oregano, ground cumin and coriander, and sprinkled with a bit of salt and pepper.  This is a Grad Lounge staple; it’s available every day, hot and fresh and by far the best chili ever! 😀  This owns meat chili any day and I’m so glad this bowl of awesomeness brought me over to the other side of the pond!  This item has quite the faithful following and fanbase.  It should have an appreciation club.  I’d totally be a member.

*****

The Grad Lounge is located at 166 South Ross at the York University Keele campus.  And just a reminder that The Grad Lounge and GSA are hosting a Dinner & Dialogue event tomorrow in the Grad Café from 5:30pm-7:30pm.  Free movie screening (Spike Lee’s ”4 Little Girls”) and free food with some thoughtful discussion about the movie afterward.  All grad students are welcome!  And thank you again to Mike and Paul for helping me out with the ingredients, I really appreciate it!