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A vegetarian dish that doesn’t skimp on taste

The other night we took in a movie, perhaps a bit more political, inspiring and informative than a comedy or an action movie, but a definitely interesting. “Forks over Knives” is a somewhat shocking documentary that examines the “profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.”

In other words, a plant- and whole-grain-based diet is better for us in terms of our heart health and more. It is definitely a worthwhile watch, even if you don’t plan on becoming a vegan or vegetarian anytime soon.

The next day, however, I was inspired to test out an all-vegetable and whole-grain lunch.

This is not to say that meat is going to be cut out of our diets completely –hey, we love our local meat farmers – but this recipe is definitely worth a try.

Heat a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat; add canola oil, and then add onion, carrot, celery and pepper; cook for 3-4 minutes or until just starting to brown;

Add garlic and cook a minute or so, then add all of the dried spices; cook to bring out their flavour, about 1 minute;

Add lentils, tomatoes and water, just to cover. Season well with salt and pepper;

Simmer about 20 minutes or until lentils are just cooked through;

Now add zucchini, mushrooms and beans; add more liquid if needed, and season again with a little salt and pepper;

Cook for about 10 minutes or until veggies have reached desired tenderness.

Note: We made this meal even heartier (and healthier) by serving it atop some cooked brown rice. Experiment with different vegetables and beans, just be sure to add harder, crunchier veggies at the beginning stage and softer ones at the later stage. Go non-vegan, but still vegetarian by topping chili with some aged cheddar or sour cream.

Vegetarian Chili with Brown Rice

  • 2 small cooking onions, diced
  • 2 small carrots, diced
  • 2 celery, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1-2 cloves Ontario garlic, chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Pinch (or more, depending on your taste) dried chili flakes
  • 1/4-cup green lentils
  • 1 large can of whole or diced tomatoes
  • Water, as needed
  • Salt and pepper, as needed
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 can white kidney beans
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