Visiting my closest friend in Hamilton, Ontario, our four boys played until exhaustion. And then some more. After a jaunt to Niagara Falls, the Guiness World Book of Record Museum (you can skip it. Really), and lunch at a glorious local winery, we were all starving. I thought of ordering pizza, but she whipped up the best vegetarian chili I’d ever had. The original recipe is from Real Simple, but we’ve modified it to be even more kid-friendly.
Not only do the kids love it, but you can utilize their ‘talents’ in the kitchen to chop, cut chives with scissors, assemble the ingredients, and earn some extra allowance by taking the veggie remnants out to the compost. It’s never too early to encourage kids to help out in the kitchen. Even in the Montessori method of schooling, kids are encouraged to grate soap and carrots to bolster development of fine motor skills. They may be little, but they are mighty and can do lots to help out!
Served with sour cream and chives, it’s like a whole day’s worth of veggies in one – a hearty, satisfying meal. Oh – and there’s chocolate in it, so you can get your kids to put in that ingredient and I guarantee they won’t let a drop go to waste….
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 large can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 can spicy red pepper
- 1 can black beans, rinsed
- 1can kidney beans, rinsed
- 1 medium sweet potato , peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
- sour cream, sliced scallions, sliced radishes, and tortilla chips, for serving
- In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cocoa, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Add the tomatoes (and their liquid), beans, sweet potato, and 1 cup water.
- Cover and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chili has thickened, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours (this will shorten total recipe time).
- Serve the chili with the sour cream, scallions, radishes, and tortilla chips.