Not only is it hearty, spicy, full of plant-based protein, and loaded with nutrients, but it also holds a special place in my heart because it’s what we served at our wedding! Yes, you read that correctly: we served chili at our wedding. My husband and I got married at our favorite campground in Big Sur and sat under the giant redwoods in our wedding attire eating chili and apple pie. It suited us perfectly. Just for fun, here’s a picture of Mr. Botanical Baby chowin’ down. Isn’t he handsome even in a collapsible camping chair with a mouth full of chili?! 😉
Beans are nutritional rock stars of the plant world. They’re high in good things like protein, fiber, and antioxidants, and low in not-so-good things like saturated fat and sugar. They’re also good sources of iron, folate, calcium, and zinc — all of which are necessary for growing a healthy baby. Sweet potatoes are no schlubs either. They’re packed with potassium, calcium, folate, vitamins A and C, antioxidants like beta-carotene, and anti-inflammatory nutrients like anthocyanin. They help regulate blood sugar, as well, making them an excellent white potato alternative for pregnant women at risk for or diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
Here’s a little tip for my pregnant mamas: this is an excellent recipe to make ahead, freeze, and have on hand for those first few weeks when you’re home with your new baby. If you’re anything like I was, you will not have time, energy, or the wherewithal to cook, but you will be starving and in serious need of nutrient-dense foods. For my not-pregnant mamas: this is a great recipe to make a big batch of on Sunday and eat for lunch all week long. No prep, just re-heat, refuel, and get on with your day! My Black Bean and Spinach Enchiladas are another favorite for this very same reason…and hello, more plant-based powerhouse beans!
It’s simple to make, and it actually gets better with each passing day. We like our food spicy in this house, but you can easily tone it down if fiery flavors aren’t your thing.
Note that at the bottom of my recipes I’ll now be including an adaptation for baby. I’m all about having my son eat the foods we eat, but at 9 months old, he’s not quite ready for things like salt, added sugar, and spicy ingredients. This is good practice for the family dinners (I fantasize about, anyway) in which everyone eats what’s served and we moms save ourselves from being short order cooks.
- 1 Anaheim/Pasilla pepper
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, minced
- 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained*
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained*
- 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained*
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 32-ounce box vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt to taste
- Optional: 1 package of Soyrizo
- Optional: 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- Garnish: fresh cilantro leaves, diced white onion, avocado
- Roast the Anaheim pepper over an open flame, directly on the stove burner. Turn it with a pair of tongs until all sides are charred. Place the pepper in an airtight container, and let it steam for 5-10 minutes, or until the blistered skin starts to peel.
- Take the Anaheim pepper out of the container, and either wipe the charred skin off with a paper towel (Mr. Botanical Baby's preferred method), or with your hand under cool running water (my preferred method), or a combination of the two...how diplomatic!
- Chop the top off of the Anaheim pepper, remove the seeds, dice the remaining flesh, and set aside.
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Once it glistens, add the onion and stir until the onion just begins to turn translucent.
- Add the garlic, sweet potato, and jalapeño pepper. Stir until the sweet potato begins to soften a bit.
- Mix in the chipotle and Anaheim peppers, and stir for another minute.
- If you're choosing to include Soyrizo, add that now and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Mix in the beans, canned tomatoes, and frozen corn.
- Add as much or as little of the broth as you'd like, depending upon the thickness you desire. Keep in mind that as it cooks down, the chili will thicken a bit.
- Season with cumin, coriander, bay leaf, and optional chili powder if you need even more spice.
- Turn the heat down low, cover, and allow the chili to simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Taste and add salt and/or more seasonings if needed.
- Serve and garnish with cilantro, onion, avocado, or whatever other toppings you like on your chili!
- Baby Chili
- 1 Tablespoon of the diced yellow onion
- 1/8 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/3 cup diced sweet potato
- 1/3 cup of a mixture of all three kinds of beans*
- 1 Tablespoon frozen corn
- Dash of cumin
- Dash of coriander
- Sauté these ingredients in a pan with 1 teaspoon olive oil until tender. If the oil has been absorbed before the potato has softened, add water as needed.
- Depending on the age, readiness, and tooth count of your baby, you may choose to puree or at least pulse their "chili" in a food processor. If you're in the baby-led weaning camp, let 'em have at it as is! ...Once it's cooled, of course.
- *If you're making the Baby Chili, make sure to use "No Salt Added" cans of beans.