Recipe Mailbox: Chili goes meatless

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Vegetarian chili

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Serves 8 to 10

Linda Harrington of Elk Grove is a vegan vegetarian and was hoping for some recipes. If you have vegan recipes you’d like to share, send them to the Mailbox.

Michele Murphy of Rancho Murieta shares this recipe that would be good with a salad and crusty bread. Omit the sour cream and cheese garnish to keep this recipe vegan.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, chopped into ½-inch dice

2 green bell peppers, chopped into ½-inch dice

1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into ½-inch dice

6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

Two 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes, including juice

Three 15-ounce cans kidney beans, undrained

1 cup corn, fresh or frozen

2 cups vegetable broth

4 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup masa harina, optional

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, optional

Garnishes: Hot sauce, sour cream, sliced scallions, shredded cheeses

In a 5-quart Dutch oven or stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion, peppers and sweet potatoes. Increase heat to medium-high and saute vegetables for 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Add garlic, tomatoes, beans, corn, broth and spices (including cocoa powder). Stir, cover and cook for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If using masa harina: Mix masa harina with ½ cup water in a small bowl. After chili has cooked for 25 minutes, add masa harina mixture to thicken. Cook an additional 10 minutes. Stir in balsamic vinegar, if using.

Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Divide chili into individual bowl and garnish with desired toppings.