During our busy summer season on the road it becomes very hard to maintain balance and health as its near impossible to get enough sleep and nutrition. When we return to our quiet haven, in between events, I physically feel the need to fill my body back up with nutrients so it can repair. I know that I need to include foods that are red, yellow (this does not mean chips and cheese ;-)) orange and green as well as protein and fat.
After a non stop few days, sleepless nights and more yellow food and wine than I’d like to admit to, I need an easy recipe that’s quick to throw together but still includes all the nutrients my bodies craving. So I came up with a simple vegetable chilli that as long as you have a good mixture of vegetables you can supplement with what ever you have lying around. Its hearty, soul warming and tasty which is what I want after such an intense few days.
I don’t measure my ingredients so my ingredients are rough and you can adapt them to your own taste.
For the Chilli
- 2 small red onions
- 2 stalks of celery
- 2 carrots
- 1 red pepper
- 1 tin of chickpeas
- 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
- Half a pint of vegetable stock
- Dried mixed herbs
- Fresh parsley or coriander
- 2 medium chillies (I like it hotter but Nathan struggles)
- Ground coriander
- Hot chilli power
- A few squares of dark chocolate
- Spinach or any leafy greens you like
For the smoked paprika sweet potato mash
- 1 large sweet potato
- A bit of butter
- Smoked paprika (or you can use garlic powder if you prefer, I sue both)
Mint yogurt (Provides a cooling aid to the heat of the chillies)
You can use dairy yogurt or coconut yoghurt/cream. I simply chop up some fresh mint leaves and bash them around in the pestle and mortar to release the oils and then add it to the yoghurt. I add a squeeze of lemon juice too.
Tip-I also sprinkle over some pumpkin seeds which along with the yogurt adds some protein and fat which helps your body to break down and absorb vitamins A,C and E. you could use different nuts or add avocado.
Start by frying the chopped onions, celery and carrot in coconut oil in a large sauce pan. After a few minutes throw in the peppers (here you could add anything you have such as mushrooms or courgettes etc) with the garlic. After 5 more minutes or when the vegetables have started to become softer throw in the chopped tomatoes, the vegetable stock and the spices (If your not sure about the spices add a tsp of each and taste before adding more). Leave to simmer for about 30 minutes or until vegetables are coked to your taste (I like a slight crunch). Add the darks chocolate, spinach and fresh herbs at the end as they just need to be stirred in to wilt.
I steam the sweet potato to retain as much of its vitamins as possible. Once soft I add a bit of butter, salt and pepper and the paprika and garlic powder. I serve it all with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and a small wedge of lime juice for that extra vitamin C boost.
- The chilli in this dish helps to protect DNA, speeds up metabolism, decreases appetite, is high in Vitamin C as well as being a powerful anti-cancer phytochemical.
- Garlic is well known for its cancer fighting properties as well as supporting he immune system
- Carrots and sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene which is an anti-agein antioxidant that is more bioavailable when cooked with the spinach and peppers. All the red, yellow and orange foods are high in vitamin A good for fighting infection, healthy skin, essential for night vision and a great antioxidant and immune system booster
- Adding a squeeze of fresh lime as well as all the fresh herbs and spices adds a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. I often add spice, herbs, citrus juices, nuts, seeds and healthy oils such as extra virgin olive oil to many of my hot and cold dishes for not only taste but for good mix of micro and macronutrients.
- Creating a dish using both a combination of hot and raw plant based foods in a variety of colours is the best way to provide your body with an effective combination of antioxidants.
Tip-Using fresh ground black pepper on your food can double the nutrients absorbed by your body