Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

by Anne Bennett on September 23, 2017

This thick, veggie-laden chili hits all the traditional “chili” spots dead center.

It’s going to get cooler next week here in the American Midwest, time to start thinking about warming soups, stews and chili. Early this year I posted an awesome recipe for slow cooker turkey chili for Super Bowl Sunday. According to Southern Living, it’s their most popular chili recipe, which speaks volumes since Southern Living knows a thing or two about good cooking.

Here’s another spin on chili from Weight Watchers: vegetarian chili. It’s every bit as good as the turkey chili, but in a different way. It’s meatless, of course, but that’s not what sets it off. This chili has way more vegetables, including poblano peppers, the peppers in the classic Mexican dish Chile Rellenos.

Poblanos aren’t normally hot but they can be unpredictable. As I was cutting them up I tasted one and it seemed to carry a lot of heat. The hotter the better as far as Champ is concerned, so I went ahead and tossed them into the slow cooker and crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t have to douse my singed tongue with beer. (Damn, I hate when that happens.)

Problem solved by the slow cooking process, which tamed their heat. (Champ added jalapeños to his chili to make it hot enough.) If you’re wary, WW suggests substituting regular green bell peppers. You’ll still get the same result — muy delicioso and saludable (healthy) chili that’s low in WW Points.

Poblanos look like green bell peppers, only taller and thinner. Imagine yourself as a runway model.

1 (28-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 large zucchini (about 4 cups) chopped into 3/4″ chunks
2 cups (frozen) corn
1 (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-oz.) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium poblano peppers (1 3/4 cups), seeded and diced (or green bell peppers)
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/2 cup watera

In a slow cooker, combine tomatoes, tomato paste, oil, chili powder and cumin. Add zucchini, corn, beans and poblanos; stir to mix well. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 6 hours, or until vegetables are tender.

Stir in cilantro and enough water to desired consistency. Season to taste with salt.

Serving suggestion: top chili with nonfat plain Greek yogurt and/or fresh salsa cruda.

Serves 6 (each serving about 1 1/2 cups)
WW Points per serving: 6  (1 1/2 cups is a lot!)

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