Brutal honesty. It’s a make-it-or-break-it trait when it comes to choosing your friends. Either you really want it, or you don’t. Personally, I need it. If my one-shoulder-dress worn over patterned tights with high-heeled ankle booties seems like too many trends crammed into one outfit, I want my friends to tell me so. (By the way, I have a hair feather too.) I need help with these things. I’m happy to put on my standby black pumps if they say so. By the way, they did.

I like to pay it back in return. I’m not lying when I say “Hey, little Bro,” (who is a college junior and lives in an apartment with 3 other dudes) “You should really try cooking for yourself. Tacos are super easy, I swear. And, you should seriously invest in a vacuum and some bleach if you ever expect a girl to stay for more than 10 minutes.” Believe me, this was a lot less nagging than our mother gave him.

Rightfully so, it often irks me when pictures are deceiving. You know the ones you see on those sites, with random silverware like a fork next to a bowl of soup and ingredients like peanut shells and maple leaves strewn about. Are there leaves in that soup? I hope not. Usually I snicker at that sort of thing. I mean, I’m all for being creative but placing food out of it’s element, in a situation that looks so far off from how you’d actually eat it, that just annoys me.

But apparently not enough to fall victim myself. You see, there is no pumpkin in this chili. Sure, it’s a perfectly seasonal stew, brimming with hearty ruby chard and pumpkin’s cousin, the butternut squash. But the pumpkin is really only there to make things interesting and add a splash of color. Because obviously I had already destroyed the butternut squash. No, really, how do you people get the ingredients you’ve already used in the picture of your finished dish? Do you often spend double on groceries? Just wondering.

Anyway, I hope you can get past my lack of brutal honesty just this once. This spicy, smoky vegetarian chili is totally worth it.

PS: A serving of this chili contains more fiber than most Americans probably eat in a day. For some reason, that gives me a sense of accomplishment. Just being honest.

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Black Bean and Chorizo Chili with Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 Anaheim chile pepper, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
5oz soy chorizo sausage, crumbled
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lb peeled, diced butternut squash
3 1/3 cup cooked black beans (or 2 15oz cans reduced sodium black beans)
14oz can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
2 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth
1 large bunch swiss chard, roughly chopped (yields 10oz)
fresh chopped cilantro
nonfat plain Greek yogurt, optional

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat.

When oil is shimmering, saute onions and peppers until onions are translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, soy chorizo, chili powder, cumin and salt. Cook for one minute more, stirring.

Add butternut squash, black beans, diced tomatoes, and vegetable broth. Stir to combine. Increase heat to high. When mixture comes to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove lid and add the swiss chard, stirring as it wilts in. If the chili seems dry, add 1/2 cup water. Cover and simmer for another 5 minute, until chard is tender.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and a dollop of yogurt, if desired.

Nutrition Facts:

Nutrition Facts (does not include optional yogurt)
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 351.5
Total Fat 9.0 g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.6 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 919.0 mg
Potassium 1,197.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 72.1 g
Dietary Fiber 33.8 g
Sugars 10.2 g
Protein 11.4 g

Cara Lyons, www.carascravings.com

This post is linked to the Farmers Market Fare roundup at the Sensitive Pantry.

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