Vegetarian Chili – Healthy and Kid Friendly

Vegetarian Chili - easy recipe for kids to make

When my kids were little, it was so easy for me to imagine what it would be like for the rest of their childhood.  I saw the mom that I wanted to be – how I would feed my family, and how we would eat our healthy meals around the table every night.  When I look back, it’s hard not to laugh at how naive it all seemed.  Sure, I still make healthy meals.  But with our hectic schedules, we hardly eat together every night…let alone around the table.  This recipe for vegetarian chili is a nice compromise.  It tastes great, is kind to the planet, and best of all, it’s portable, for those nights when it’s impossible to eat at home.

I had no intentions of being a parent who over-schedules her children.  In fact, each of my kids only has only one or two activities they truly love doing.  But – our daughter started high school this year.  Not only is it quite far away, but it offers her so many opportunities to discover what she enjoys that she often stays late for sports, music events and speech team practices.  Of course, it doesn’t help that her one true love, riding horses, happens to also be 25 minutes away.  So, I end up being in the car. A. Lot.

Vegetarian Chili – in a jar…

How do we transport meals?  I have been known to bring her a hot meal after sports practices in thermoses, glass containers, or even in mason jars.  Oh, how I love jars.  This chili would be perfect in a jar with a nice wide lid, to allow easy access for a spoon.  Just top it off with a dollop of greek yogurt or a sprinkle of freshly grated cheddar, and we’d be good to go.

R & B Chili, from The Whole Family Cookbook 
(authored by yours truly!)

1/2 cup dried black beans (or 1 cup canned)
1/2 cup dried pinto beans (or 1 cup canned)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
2 carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced – organic if possible
1 cup short grain brown rice
2 15-oz cans organic diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 Tbs. cumin
1 tsp. salt

  1. Prep all of the veggies in advance to save time.
  2. If you are using dried beans, soak them overnight, drain them, and then cook them until tender.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pot.  Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and start to turn brown (approximately 7 minutes).
  4. Add the carrots and celery and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic to the pot.
  6. Add the bell pepper.
  7. Measure the brown rice.  Add it to the pot, and stir to combine all of the ingredients.
  8. Add the diced tomatoes and the water to the pot.  Stir to combine.
  9. Add the spices, stir to combine.
  10. Cover, and let simmer until the rice is cooked through (20-50 minutes, depending on the brand. Follow the directions that come with your rice.)
  11. Remove the lid, and add the beans.  Stir to combine, being careful not to mush the beans.
  12. Cook, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes.
  13. Garnish with plain yogurt, shredded cheese and minced cilantro, if desired.

Vegetarian Chili - easy recipe for kids to make

If you like vegetarian chili, this recipe includes butternut squash, and is pretty dreamy.

What’s your favorite on-the-go homemade meal?

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