True comfort food warms you from head to toe–both physically and emotionally. Best consumed on the coldest, dreariest of winter days, comfort food adds a little sunshine to the soul. It makes you close your eyes and open your smile. It warms your cockles. I have no idea what cockles are, but please stick with me, because I promise, I’ve got some seriously great comfort food for you right here: Chili Mac, vegetarian style.
All of the warm, comforting flavors you remember, but none of the beef. And with this vegetarian chili mac, even meat-eaters won’t miss the meat.
Chili is one of my favorite recipes to make meatless, because with all of those wonderful protein-filled beans to choose from, you still have a hearty, filling, and complete meal right there in a bowl. No need to try to add anything fancy to “make up for” the lack of meat. It’s totally not necessary.
This vegetarian chili mac is indeed a super-simple recipe, and it comes together in just about 30 minutes. And it’s just about as comforting as comfort food can get.
So get your cockles ready–they’re about to be good and warmed!
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni noodles (1/2 pound) (fiori, or wagon wheel pasta, is great too)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion (about ½ medium onion)
- 1 cup diced green pepper (about 1 medium pepper)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 small cloves)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
- 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
- Sliced scallions and sour cream for topping, if desired
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the macaroni al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- In a 3-quart or larger skillet or saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and green pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt, and stir, cooking for about another minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and the kidney beans and stir gently to mix. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the macaroni to the chili and stir gently to mix. Sprinkle cheese on top and cover with lid to melt the cheese.
- Top individual servings with sliced scallions and a dollop of sour cream, if desired.