Healthy Meal Option: Veggie Chili and Delicious Sopapillas
Easy Veggie Chile
If you want a quick meal that is nutritious and healthful, veggie chili is a good bet. It's a great source of protein, vegetables, and it tastes great!
It only takes a few minutes to put all the ingredients together. You can pair the chili up with rolls or french bread.
For a little taste of New Mexico, however, you can make the chili and while it's simmering, you can indulge in a yummy sopapillas recipe.
If you don't know what sopapillas are, they are little flour pastries that are often used for dessert. But, when I was growing up, my mom (who is originally from New Mexico) would often make sopapillas with dinner. Instead of a tortilla, sopapillas would serve as the "bread." Now that I'm grown and cook in my own kitchen, I carry on this tradition. I love sopapillas with pinto beans, enchiladas, burritos and in just about any recipe that calls for tortillas, I can substitute sopapillas.
I generally try to eat healthfully and it may seem strange that sopapillas - that have vegetable shortening - are paired up with vegetarian chili. For me, though, it's a little indulgence that makes a vegetarian (mostly, anyways) diet fun and doable.
- 1 cup or 1/2 of onion medium onion, diced
- 2 pkg. (24 oz. total) veggie crumbles
- 2 cans (30 oz. total) tomato sauce
- 2 cans (30 oz. total) pinto beans, drained
- 2 pkg. chili seasoning mix
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
Tips on Ingredients
- For the veggie crumbles, I used Boca veggie crumbles. Each package contains 12 oz. of soy protein "meat". Both packages will produce a "meaty" chili. You can add 1.5 packages for a less "meaty" chili.
- I used Muir Glen organic unsalted tomato sauce.
- You can use kidney beans in place of the pinto beans if you prefer.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until they become translucent - about 3 minutes.
- Add the veggie crumbles. Stir constantly until no longer frozen and it begins to warm.
- Add the tomato sauce and beans, stirring thoroughly. Add the chili seasoning and stir into mixture. When mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or longer, stirring occasionally.
If you want to take the time to make sopapillas, add about 30 minutes to your cook time. They're worth it, though. They carry such a delicious flavor that complements the taste of the chili.
- 3 cups flour
- 5 tbsp. vegetable shortening
- 1/2 cup or more of vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 1/4 cup warm milk
- In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt ,and warm milk. Add the flour. Gradually fold in the tablespoons of shortening so that it mixes evenly.
- Knead dough until it forms a large ball. It helps to "powder" your hands with flour.
- Stretch and fold the ball about a dozen times. Place back into large bowl and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Take off a fist-sized piece of dough. Lightly flour your work surface. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is about 1/8-inch thick. If it's too thick, the sopapillas won't "bubble" properly when cooking and if it's too thin, they can break when you're trying to put them in the pan.
- Cut the dough into triangles.
- Put enough vegetable oil into a pan to cover the bottom about 1/2 to 1 inch. Heat oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (the surface of the oil will begin to ripple when it's hot), begin adding the triangles of sopapillas. Don't add too many - add enough for several to cook at once. The sopapilla triangles should bubble up a bit.
- Cook on each side for about 2 minutes, or until each side is golden. Use a slotted spoon to turn them over. Avoid using a fork.
- Remove sopapillas and drain on paper towels.
- Repeat steps 4-7 until you have used all the dough. This recipe will make about 25 sopapillas (unless you vary the size like I sometimes enjoy doing).
- You can top your chili with cheese, sliced green onions, sour cream and freshly diced tomatoes.
- The sopapillas don't only go with dinner. You can have them for dessert instead! Add a little honey and powdered sugar and they are an incredibly yummy after-dinner treat.
- If you cry a lot when you're cutting onions, an easy way to reduce those tears is to rinse off the onion in cold water before you start cutting and then breathe through your mouth until you're all finished dicing and slicing.
- When you pour the tomato sauce out of the can, you can add a little extra water to the can to "rinse out" the tomato. Just pour back into the chili mixture.
- Since you use vegetable oil in which to cook the sopapillas, why not recycle the oil when you're finished?
© 2012 Cynthia Calhoun