When I first got into food, I started reading food blogs incessantly. And by reading, I mean looking at the gorgeous photographs and wondering how real life people had the time to make so many different recipes and take professional-looking photos of them.
Years later, after taking countless photographs of what we’d made in the kitchen, Alex and I decided to start our own food blog, mainly because our personal blog at the time had become full of pictures of food. But I still didn’t really “read” anything on written on other food blogs – I just gawked at the photographs and referenced the ideas for inspiration. What I wrote in the early days was a short, enthusiastic quick blurb about my discovery of a new food.
After a few years of maintaining a blog, I finally started reading the words on other blogs – and found a great insight into the lives, philosophies, and dreams of beautiful people around the globe. I realized these food bloggers wrote not just about the food, but life.
In the beginning, we disliked writing much about our lives because we wanted it to be all about the food. And that’s partially true – the reason we love to blog is because we love to share recipes rather than write a personal journal. But we’ve realized that food and life are so intricately intertwined that it’s hard to see one without the other. Food is about people – the people who make it, and those who enjoy it. That said, we’re looking forward this year to sharing more about life, food, and everything in between.
Now, none of this was related to chili. In my old days of blog writing, I would have skipped to the good part: the part where the author talked about whether the chili was good.
Yes, the chili was quite good, actually. It was “commissioned” by a good friend of ours who wondered whether we had any good vegetarian slow-cooker / crock pot recipes. Turns out we didn’t. We developed this vegetarian slow cooker black bean chili, which uses dried black beans, something we always want to use more of. I love it with a healthy dose of hot sauce. And the mushrooms add a nice savory note (though you could leave them out if you are not a mushroom fan).
Does anyone have any great other vegetarian / meatless slow cooker ideas? We’d love to hear them. And thanks to all of you who read the words written here. We love hearing from you and knowing you are reading (though we’ll admit, we wouldn’t write if it weren’t for the recipes)!
- 1 pound dried black beans
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 medium yellow onions
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 pound baby portabella mushrooms
- 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
- ½ tablespoon chipotle powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 quart vegetable broth
- 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- Shredded cheddar cheese (for garnish)
- 3 green onions (for garnish)
- Sour cream (for garnish)
- The night before making the chili, rinse and cover the black beans with water in a bowl. Soak overnight at room temperature.
- Prepare the fresh ingredients (this can be done early and kept in the refrigerator): Dice 3 medium onions, mince 3 cloves garlic, and slice 1 pound of mushrooms.
- Saute the vegetables (can be done early, or directly before on the day of making): On the stove, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Stir in 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder, ½ tablespoon chipotle powder, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Saute for 5 minutes until the onions are tender.
- About 10 hours before serving, discard the liquid on the beans and place the beans in a large slow cooker.
- Transfer the onion and mushroom mixture to the slow cooker with the beans. Cover with 1 quart vegetable broth and 28-ounces of crushed tomatoes. Cook on low for 10-12 hours. When ready to serve, garnish with cheese, green onions, and sour cream.