(CBS) Just because it's meatless doesn't mean a recipe lacks "meatiness" - and here's a pair of recipes to prove it.
Eggplant and lentils give this stick-to-your ribs chili a satisfying meaty texture as well as a whopping 18 grams of dietary fiber and 13 grams of protein. It's a great example of how to create a dish with complex flavor "layers."
I like to serve this with a few hunks of moist cornbread with fresh, bright scallions. My tasty bread is low in fat and sugar (though no one will know) and rich in healthy whole wheat and cornmeal.
Is this the most filling vegan meal ever? Could be.
Lentil And Eggplant Chili Mole
Makes 6 servings
Active cooking time: 15 minutes
Total cooking time: 1 hour
Eggplant and lentils make for a "beefy" chili that warms you to the core on a cold winter's night. If a little cocoa powder in chili is new to you, don't take my word for its deliciousness. Mexico has been rocking chocolate chili for thousands of years. I prefer plain old green lentils for this dish. They're easy to find and their mellow flavor works well with all the strong flavors of this recipe. Serve with Fresh Corn and Scallion Cornbread (see below), over rice or over a baked sweet potato.
Tip: For spicier chili, add 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes when you add the garlic.
Nutrition tip: Lentils are amazingly nutritious little beans (no wonder those vegetarian cookbooks from 70's seem to be all lentil dishes). One half-cup cooked lentils has 9 grams protein, 3.2 grams iron, 179 micrograms folate, and 8 grams of fiber. They're also incredibly affordable - that half cup would cost you around 25 cents. Next time someone tells you it's expensive to eat vegan, tell them "lentils."
2 pounds eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced medium
1 red pepper, diced medium
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon mild chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup green lentils, washed
4 cups vegetable broth
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons agave nectar or maple syrup
Cilantro for garnish (optional)
Preheat a 4-quart soup pot over medium high heat. Saute onions and bell pepper in oil until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute, using cooking spray or a splash of water if it's sticking. Mix in chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, salt and cinnamon. Add 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth and the cocoa powder; cook for about 1 more minute, while stirring, to dissolve the cocoa.
Add lentils, vegetable broth, diced tomatoes and eggplant. Cover pot and bring to a boil, keeping a close eye. Once it's boiling, lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes, until lentils are tender and eggplant is soft. Mix in agave. Taste for salt and seasoning.
Let sit for 10 minutes or so for maximum flavor. Serve garnished with cilantro if you like.
Calories from fat: 20
Total fat: 2 g
Sat fat: 0 g
Trans fat: 0 g
Total Carbohydrates: 39 g
Fiber: 18 g
Sugars: 10 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 800 mg
Fresh Corn & Scallion Cornbread
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cups soymilk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup frozen corn
1 cup scallion, chopped
Preheat oven to 350, line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper or spray the bottom lightly with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the soymilk and vinegar. Set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt).
Add the oil and maple syrup to the soymilk mixture. Whisk until it is foamy and bubbly, about 2 minutes.
Pour the wet ingredient into the dry and mix together using a large wooden spoon or a firm spatula. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Slice into squares and serve warm or store in an airtight container.
Calories from fat: 140
Total fat: 4.5 g
Saturated fat: 0 g
Trans fat: 0 g
Fiber: 3 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 80 mg
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Isa Chandra Moskowitz, author of "Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast & Filling Low-Fat Recipes." Reprinted courtesy Da Capo Lifelong Books.