Chipotle Sweet Potato and Lentil Chili and Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Sesame Vinaigrette
The first thing I ever cooked and posted as "The Healthy Yuppie" was a vegan meal, which is ironic given how much I love and appreciate the taste and health benefits of high-quality lean meat and fish. Following a plant-based diet, the less politicized term for "vegan", has continued to grow in popularity behind sensationalist documentaries such as "Food Inc." and "What the Health". Though the health benefits of eating vegan are still being debated, the catalyst for my vegan endeavor was the environmental impact, which I don't think is up for debate. Consuming meat is much worse for the environment than just consuming a plant-based diet, given all the resources necessary to feed all the animals, plus the methane gas. Given that, I hope to try a vegan meal every couple of weeks to 1. Further my skills as a cook and 2. Make a small impact on the environment. Many people choosing to not eat meat once a week can make a big impact.
See below for two different plant-based recipes I used. The original recipe links are below each recipe.
Chipotle Sweet Potato and Lentil Chili - I could eat this one ALL DAY. You don't need meat to make a great chili. Be careful with the Chipotle peppers, it can get very spicy very fast!
Yields: 5 servings
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
· 1 medium-size yellow onion, diced (approx. 2 cups)
· 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
· 1 large green bell pepper, cored and diced
· 1 large jalapeno, cored and diced
· 3 garlic cloves, minced
· 3 teaspoons cumin
· 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
· 2 teaspoons chili powder
· 2 teaspoons dried oregano
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, diced + 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the can*
· 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies
· 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
· 3 cups vegetable broth
· 2 medium-size sweet potatoes, diced into 1/2” cubes (approx. 2 and 1/2 cups)
· suggested toppings: cilantro, cashew sour cream, avocado, green onion, shredded cheese
1. Start by warming the olive oil in a large pot (or dutch oven) over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes.
2. Next add the diced bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, spices and chilies with adobo sauce. Stir together and cook for another 5 minutes.
3. Add the lentils to the pot along with the can of diced tomatoes and vegetable broth. Bring to a low boil, cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes.
4. Lastly, add the diced sweet potato to the pot and stir together. Cover and continue cook at a low boil for 30 more minutes, or until lentils and sweet potato are tender.
5. Serve warm with desired toppings and enjoy!
Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Sesame Vinaigrette - I would totally make this one again as well...It was light and crispy. Just make sure you cut the Brussels sprouts thin enough (and use a mandolin if you have one).
Yields: 4 servings
Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
· ¼ cup white sesame seeds
· 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest plus ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
· 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
· 1 garlic clove
· 1 tsp honey
· ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp EVOO
· Kosher Salt
· 1 lbs. brussels sprouts, very thinly sliced
· 1 Pink Lady apple – halved, cored, and thinly sliced
· 1 medium shallot, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced
· 1 serrano chili – stemmed, seeded, and very thinly sliced
· ½ cup chopped mint
1. In a small skillet, toast the white sesame seeds over moderately low heat, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a blender and let cool. Add the lemon zest and juice, then add the vinegar, garlic and honey and puree until a chunky paste forms, about 1 minute. With the machine on, gradually add the olive oil and puree until nearly smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the vinaigrette into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
2. Add the brussels sprouts, apple, shallot, chile and mint to the dressing and toss well. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Garnish with black sesame seeds, if using, and serve right away.