Savory Veggie Chili Spaghetti

Hello and gooood evening!

It’s so disgustingly hot outside. I seriously feel like there’s no where to go but stay at home and bathe in the AC. Oh well, I’m not one to complain!

First off, I’d like to announce that VEGeneration has officially moved to WordPress! (Eh, as official as official gets, I guess! This site is still a seedling anyway.) Amber was right. Blogger is total crap compared to WP! Boy was I missing out! Everything is so much neater and efficient. Posting, editing, and organizing is a breeze. And as far as image hosting goes, WP gives you more space too (I’ll have to double-check on that). I think the site looks so much better! So if you are still using Blogger, switch now. You won’t regret it!

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I stayed in the city for work yesterday and today, so I haven’t had a chance to post. Going to work part-time for 6 hours a day, 3 days a week, sounds like nothing. But my boss is 84 years old! Yes, you heard me. He still refuses to retire! This fact alone makes my workload more troublesome. My job involves writing up Morningstar reports, inputting profit and loss transactions, and summarizing Wall Street Journal/ Financial Times articles. But I also have to play Mom. He constantly needs letters and prescriptions to be faxed to his many, many doctors regarding his many, many health problems. And he is so behind with technology. I don’t understand why he owns a computer if he can’t even type in letters by himself. Needless to say, it is not abnormal for me to leave the office physically and mentally drained. 😕

Enough ranting. Despite all of the aforementioned, I am grateful to be employed because I have disposable income to buy the things I want, including groceries. Yes, all of the food I want! 😆

Today at work, I envisioned a spaghetti dinner. Yup, I planned it all out in my head. I knew what I wanted, and I was gonna get it! At 3 I packed my bags and left promptly, ideas racing in my head. I paid a visit to the TriBeCa Whole Foods and stocked up on goodies to bring home. Some notable buys: red kale (my favorite as of late!), nutritional yeast, seitan strips, tempeh (I bought a pack on Monday and gobbled it up–so great with my salad), spelt spaghetti, can of crushed tomatoes, and can of kidney beans. Two train rides and a car ride later, I was back in New Jersey, home sweet home. Immediately I turned on the AC (90F in my house, can you believe it!?) and got ready to turn my fantasy dinner into a reality.

Veggie Chili Spaghetti

Ingredients:

* 1/2 medium onion, diced
* 1 cup seitan, cut into chunks or strips (24 g of protein per serving! CRAAAZY!)
* 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
* 1 cup broccoli, roughly chopped
* 3 red kale leaves, chopped
* 1.5 cups canned crushed tomatoes
* 1 teaspoon BBQ sauce
* 2 tablespoons hummus
* 1/2 can red kidney beans
* 1/4 cup water (optional)
* spelt spaghetti
* juice from 1/2 small orange or tangerine
* nutritional yeast
* EVOO, seasonings

Directions: On medium heat, oil the pot with EVOO and dump in the onions. Add salt. Make sure the onions don’t get brown and caramelized; you just want them to be translucent. These onions were sweating — so befitting of the weather! 😛

Next, sauté the seitan, zucchini, and broccoli. Season to taste.

Add the kale and after that cooks down, pour in the crushed tomatoes. Then mix in the BBQ sauce and hummus. This mixture should turn the sauce cloudy, more opaque.

Add the beans. The can that my beans came from already had water in it, so I used that water. If you’re not using canned beans, I would recommend adding that optional 1/4 cup of water to the pot. I wanted my spaghetti on the soupier side, but if you want it to resemble a more chili-like consistency instead of a sauce consistency, feel free to omit the water. Throw in a few shakes of nutritional yeast. Turn the heat to medium low and let it simmer.

At this point, you can begin to boil the water for the spaghetti in a separate pot. Drain it before it is completely cooked and transfer the spaghetti to the chili to finish the cooking process. I was not watching over my spaghetti closely enough and it overcooked 😦 Apparently spelt pasta must cook faster than whole grain/ wheat pasta because I don’t remember the latter to be ready this quickly!

Gently incorporate all of the spaghetti into the chili and season to taste. By now, the sauce should be thicker than before. And that’s all there is to it! Garnish with additional nutritional yeast if you so fancy.

The line-up from left to right: Mom, Dad, me. My bowl looks smaller than theirs!

So a few bites into the spaghetti, we decided that something was missing…

BREAD! Perfect for mopping up the chili. 😉

Ok, so by now you’re probably thinking that this isn’t really chili. The only chili-like ingredients are the onions, tomatoes, and beans. Well that’s why I changed the name to “veggie chili.” “Vegetarian chili” seemed to dangerously underestimate the amount of non-traditional veggies and other stuff that went into my dream pasta!

In any case, this spaghetti dish was rich, savory, and filling. It was everything I imagined it to be, and more! Truly a meal that exceeded all of my expectations. 8)

I think the secret ingredient to the chili was the hummus — it added a creaminess and cheesiness to the dish. Also, it was my first time using and eating nutritional yeast and seitan. Sadly I couldn’t really taste the nutritional yeast! Is it supposed to have such a mild flavor? Maybe it got lost because the other flavors were too dominating.

My dad just told me how “energizing” the meal was. More than 3 hours later, he’s still full! That’s a good sign, right? 😀

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