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This is recipe inspired by a chili my dear friend Mimi made for us this summer. Mimi and her family are not vegans but boy does she know how to cook amazing vegan food. The secret ingredience is ajvar relish which is a Turkish pepper-based condiment made principally from roasted red peppers and eggplants. It may or may not also include garlic. You can use the relish in stews and soups, on toast or as a sauce for BBQ. I love ajvar relish in my quesadillas.I make my own but you can also buy on Amazon,Walmart, trader joes and world market place. 

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 large 28 ounces can or 2 small 15 ounces each cans diced tomatoes
  • 2  15 ounces cans each kidney or black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  15 ounces can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 cup ajvar relish
  • 2 cups vegetable broth 
  • 2 cup spinach, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnishing

Garnish suggestions: chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, tortilla chips, toasted pepitas

  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil until sizzling. Add chopped onion, carrot, celery and stir to combine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the onion is translucent. 
  2. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika cinnamon and ginger. Cook while stirring constantly for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes, ajvar relish, beans, salt and vegetable broth Stir to combine and reduce to a simmer. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, for 30 minutes. 
  4. Remove the chili from the heat and add cilantro and spinach.

Fredrika Syren

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Hello there! My name is Fredrika and I’m a Sweden native living in San Diego, California with my husband James and our three children. I’m an environmental writer and have been sharing my family’s journey of living zero-waste since we shifted our lifestyle back in 2016.

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