Farmers markets are bursting with a variety of produce right now. Take advantage of the season’s bounty by cooking up a flavorful chili packed with flavor and color. Garden Vegetable Chili uses roasted eggplant and onions to add a layer of caramelized, smoky flavor that adds complexity without adding to the dish. Cooking the chili in a slow cooker means a satisfying dinner will be ready for you when you get home on a busy weeknight. Round out the meal with a crisp salad and Way Better Snacks Simply Beyond Black Bean Tortilla Chips. The level of spiciness in this gluten free, vegan chili will depend on how much chili powder you like and how large and the spiciness of the jalapeños you use. If your family like things on the mild side, start with a smaller amount of both, then add more to taste if you want to kick the heat up.
Garden Vegetable Chili
1 pound eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 yellow onions, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium yellow summer squash, chopped
2 medium red bell peppers, cored and chopped
1 small jalapeño peppers, seeded, finely minced
2 pounds fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped or 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder, more or less to taste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (15 ounce can, drained and rinsed)
1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans (15 ounce can, drained and rinsed)
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (15 ounce can, drained and rinsed)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place eggplant cubes and chopped onion onto a rimmed baking pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and mix well. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring once during the cooking. Remove from the oven and set aside. Onions and eggplant will have releases some of their juices and begun to caramelize.
In a slow cooker, combine roasted eggplant and onions, zucchini, summer squash, peppers, tomatoes, lemon juice, chili powder, garlic, cumin, oregano, fennel, and beans. Stir to combine.
Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 7 hours or on high for 3 1/2 hours. A half an hour before serving remove lid of slow cooker to release any excess liquid that may have accumulated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, stir in fresh cilantro and parsley and serve with Way Better Snacks Simply Beyond Black Bean Tortilla Chips.