Call it bandwagon health, but when the new year comes, I do like to challenge myself to a month of (semi) healthy eating. It’s not because a new year brings promise of being a different person, or losing x number of pounds – it’s because, for one, the holidays are an unhealthy time from which you do want to recover, and for 2, the healthy recipes in cooking magazines can be seriously great. Magazine after magazine of delicious new and different healthy recipes leave me inspired and with a Pinterest board of ideas that can last all year. Last year, I found a month-long cleanse recipe issue of Whole Living and challenged myself to make each recipe in it (although I was allowed to eat other food on the side – you can’t live off of beet soup and smoothies). But by far, the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse is the favorite that I look forward to with each new year.
In this year’s issue I found a recipe for white bean chili with root vegetables, and I was instantly on board. For one, it’s been chilly enough in San Francisco that I’ll try anything with soup, and for two – chili. This one has a ton of flavor for a veggie chili, mostly coming from massive amounts of ancho powder. While my ambitions to use dry cannellini didn’t exactly pan out (you have to remember to soak them the night before!), a mix of canned black and kidney beans was a perfectly delicious substitute. The chili has a ton of seasoning, the root vegetables blend in really well, and when you top it with some sliced avocado it’s perfection. This is a perfect example of how flavorful those healthy new year recipes can be!
White Bean Chili with Winter Vegetables
From Bon Appetit
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 leeks, white and 1″ of pale-green part, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/4″ cubes
- 2 large or 3 medium parsnips, peeled, halved lengthwise if large (remove woody center, if needed), cut into 1/4″ cubes
- 1–1 1/2 tablespoons ground ancho chiles
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (I used Mexican oregano)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more for seasoning
- 3 cups of cannellini beans (or two cans of whatever beans you have on hand)
- Cilantro (optional)
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled, chopped
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add leeks, garlic, and 2 Tbsp. water. Cook until leeks are softened, about 5 minutes. Add carrots and parsnips; stir to coat. Cook, stirring often, until just beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add ground chiles, cumin, oregano, and 2 tsp. salt. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Fold in beans. Add 5 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer to allow flavors to meld, about 30 minutes (if using soaked beans, cook until tender, which may take a few more minutes). Season with salt. Garnish with avocado and cilantro.