Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Vegan Chili: A Low Fat Recipe for the Nine Days

For those of you are not in the know.  The "Nine Days" are the nine days leading up and including the 9th of the Jewish Month of Av, Tisha B"Av which is considered the saddest day of the year for the Jewish people.  It is the day that the both Jewish temples in Jerusalem were destroyed, the first in 586 BCE and the second in 70 CE.

 For Orthodox Ashkenazim, Jews of European descent, the three weeks before Tisha B'av are considered a period of mourning and during this time do not  celebrate weddings and other major occasions, listen to live music, shave or have a haircut. The last nine days of this period are even stricter for the Orthodox Ashkenazim who in addition to the above restrictions will not eat meat and drink wine (except on the Sabbath) bathe in hot water, swim for pleasure, or do laundry.

I gave you this brief background but would like to concentrate on the not eating meat thing.  There are those who "freak out" about what to make for meals during this period.  There are those who go crazy with making cheesy, creamy dairy suppers during this period.  But not eating meat does not have to mean eating high fat foods like mac and cheese, fettucine alfredo or creamy quiche.  As a mother of two vegetarians who are practically vegan, I make a lot of low fat, parve (nondairy) dishes all year long which are both nourishing and filling.

Last night I made a variation on one my vegetarian/vegan chili recipes based on what I had in the house and it came out delicious.  Here you go!

Vegan Chili with Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced
1-2 cups sweet potatoes cut into 1 inch (2.5 centimeter) pieces
cayenne pepper or hot paprika (optional--If you are using the Israeli beans as noted below then not necessary  )
2 teaspoons cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 cans black beans or red kidney beans (I used the Israeli "chili" beans which are kidney beans spiced for chili)
1 can sweet corn
2 1/2 cups water
1 can of diced tomatoes in juice
3 cups of coarsley chopped Swiss chard leaves


Heat oil in large pot, add onions and garlic and saute until tender and golden, about 9 mins.
Add rest of the ingredients except chard and brign to a boil.
Simmer until sweet potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Stir in chard, and simmer until chard is tender about 4 more minutes.
Adjust seasoning, ladel into bowls and serve.

Note: Can be served as is or on top of grains or whole-grain pasta for a more filling option


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