black bean chili with vegetables

While on vacation we still love to eat well. That means I have spent hours researching where to eat during the planning phase of our trips. Over the years, we have traveled a lot with my hubby’s Ironman training and races.  And as with many athletes, we have to really plan how and when to get the right calories.

We travel with food, ship food, and source food at our destination. But, after staying in so many hotels/motels, we decided a change was in order. Yes, I love me a great hotel stay and still get that in, but the comfort of having what your family really needs is even better.

We started renting houses and apartments and cooking for ourselves. In NYC, we had a tiny kitchen so my frequent walks for the best products were great and I would always lose a few pounds. In Hawaii, everything was from my neighbors’ organic farm or the rancher and local fishermen. And as I sit here writing this at our rental in Virginia, my best friend is the slow cooker. I will share a secret – a great source to find local, clean food is to ask your local organic farmer which restaurants they supply.

Back to the business at hand…When my family was feeling the need for a little comfort food, where else could I turn to but chili. But we wanted a lighter, healthier version and most important for me, I didn’t want to spend so much vacation time over the stove. Slow Cooker to the rescue!

bean and vegetable chili recipe

Here is a simple and yummy dish.

 Slow Cooker Bean and Vegetable Chili Recipe 

In a pan with a little water or olive oil sauté:

  • 1 diced onion
  • 2-3 minced garlic cloves

When nice and sautéed add the following.:

  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 -4 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika (I use Simply Organic spices)
  • 1-2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
  • 3 diced tomatoes or 1 -14.5 oz can
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mild chili peppers diced or 1 -4 oz can
  • 30 cooked oz beans – you can use kidney or black or even white

Mix all the above together in sauté pan and add water if needed.  You do not have to sauté, but I think the flavor is better.

Oil the slow cooker pot and put a layer of the bean mixture in, then layer with chopped or sliced sweet potatoes, and other vegetables such as zucchini and peppers. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Grate a layer of cheddar cheese on potatoes if you want and repeat all the layers until you run out of beans.  I have the oval slow cooker so I did 3 layers. Next time I will double the recipe, because it freezes so well!

Slow cook on low for 4 hours. Yummy!

I serve with a fresh spinach, beets, and orange salad drizzled with balsamic vinegar and whole wheat bread.  Yes, I baked a loaf and brought it with me.  But that’s just me…..

What is your favorite chili recipe?