Meal 4 in the Prep Ahead Week 4 plan is a warm and comforting Black Bean Chili. This chili is packed with wholesome hull-less barley, black beans, bell pepper, onion, tomato, spinach and spices.
On the prep ahead menu the vegetables are cooked before hand, the barley soaked the night before and the whole dish is assembled and cooked in the slow cooker. It takes about 6 hours to cook on low (you can set the delay function).
Add some chopped canned tomatoes and a bunch of spinach during the last five minutes of cooking, and your chili is ready for the tables.
I topped mine with some finely grated vegan cheese, cilantro and chopped onions, but you can serve it as you like.
The chili is a welcome meal on a long cold day and there is wonderful chew that comes from the whole grain barley.
Black Bean Chili
Serves 4 to 6
The night before:
3/4 cup hull-less barley
4 cups vegetable broth
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (use gloves, if needed)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 cups cooked black beans (1 can)
1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes
1 bunch spinach
1/2 cup cilantro (1/2 bunch), minced
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 cup vegan shredded cheese
Vegan sour cream (optional)
Tortilla chips (optional)
1. Soak the barley in the vegetable broth the night before.
2. Add the onion to a large skillet or pot (on the Instant Pot insert). Cover and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, oregano, cumin, bay leaf and
the mustard. Cover and cook until the onions are golden, about 5 to 8 minutes.
3. Add chili powder and the black beans and move to a slow cooker, if needed. Add the soaked barley with the broth and cook on low for 6 hours, until the barley is tender.
4. When the chili is ready, chop the tomatoes and add to the chili. Add the spinach and cook 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Serve the chili with the cilantro, onions, cheese, sour cream, and tortillas, if using.
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