Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Quick Vegetarian Chili with Avocado Salsa

First I will make a note that we attempted to make homemade soft pretzels from a Food Network recipe, but due to several errors in judgment we ended up having to just throw out the dough and no pretzels were to be had. However, looking at the reviews on the website, it appears our troubles were not exclusive to us, which makes me feel a little bit better.

Our actual dinner, though, was successful. We made Quick Vegetarian Chili with Avocado Salsa, from the March 2002 issue of Cooking Light. We followed the recipe as directed, except I couldn't find barley anywhere, so I bought some Israeli couscous instead. It worked very well and was tasty. We also added some cayenne for heat. The recipe was pretty good. It reminded me of a soup my mom used to make. I wonder if she based hers on this recipe? Who knows. I particularly liked the avocado salsa, so don't skip that (unless you don't like avocados).

I thought this chili was tasty, but we agreed that it is somewhere between okay and good. We probably won't make it again, but I would definitely recommend it to other people. Especially vegetarians, because it is so nutritious.

Quick Vegetarian Chili with Avocado Salsa
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles
2/3 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley
1/4 cup water
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can vegetable broth
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
6 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
6 lime wedges
18 baked tortilla chips
Avocado Salsa (recipe follows)

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 3 minutes. Add chili powder and next 4 ingredients (chili powder through green chiles); cook 1 minute. Stir in barley and next 4 ingredients (barley through broth); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until barley is tender. Stir in cilantro. Serve with sour cream, lime wedges, chips, and Avocado Salsa.

Note: Store chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Avocado Salsa:
1/2 cup finely chopped peeled avocado
1/3 cup chopped seeded tomato
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients; toss mixture gently. Serve salsa immediately.

Yield: 6 servings

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