After traveling for many weeks throughout India, all I did was eat Indian food. (Obviously.) Now, while I love the spicy, flavorful dishes of the Asian subcontinent as much as anyone—adore it, really—any cuisine gets old after a month in my humble opinion. That’s probably why my own kitchen creations include dishes from all the world over, Mexican to Moroccan, to keep my taste buds tingling. A few American favorites make appearances every so often, too, like the classic chili con carne.
Or, in this case, chili sin carne, or without meat. Which I would have just stated outright but who’s ever heard of chili sin carne? It just sounds like a naughty phrase I made up.
And I like that about it.
Anyhow, as it happens, chili was the very first dinner I made upon my return from abroad. Combining my needs to eat anything not Indian and relish in the comforts of home cooking amidst the return to frigid winter weather, it was the perfect dish that kept me warm and fed the whole week long when jet lag and fatigue stymied further culinary endeavors.
Since I’ve described how to make chili in the past (click here), today’s post is little more than a photo with a bit of cooking encouragement to get you off the couch and into that room with the stove. Chili really is the perfect opportunity to have fun in the kitchen and make it your own. Indeed, this batch is a bit different from the previous one, since my recipe varies by whimsy and season. Today’s version features traditional ingredients like red, green, and poblano peppers along with pinto and kidney beans in a cumin-scented tomato base. Things get more interesting, however, when you, er, lose the carne and add the sin.
Now, now. Stop rolling your eyes—whether at the thought of leaving out the meat or at that horrid pun—and give it a shot. Most meat substitutes, like the soy protein crumbles I used here, really do take on the texture of ground meat and the flavors of however it’s cooked. So, it’s a perfect way to enjoy chili in a more-environmentally-conscious-and-less-cholesterol-and-saturated-fat kind of way while giving a bit more heft to each delectable bite.
A scattering of sharp cheddar cheese, diced onions, and cilantro are welcomed optional toppings, completing this hearty supper that’s both soothing and satisfying. Take the meal over the top with a serving of moist and savory cornbread, if you like. (My favorite recipe is here.)
Despite the joys of discovering new dishes around the globe, it’s so good to be back in my own kitchen, a return to cooking and eating the P.K. Way that is as delicious as it is sustainable and nutritious.
As they say, there’s no place like home.
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Dr. P. K. Newby is a nutrition scientist and educator with expertise in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases through diet and the relations between agriculture, food production, and public health. She brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability through her writing and videos to help people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time.
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