grocery shopping without a bulk store: tips for creating less waste

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I live in amazing community in an environmentally progressive state (California) with constant access to fresh, local, organic, unpackaged food.  We have a farmers market here twice a week and I have an awesome co-op with bulk organic foods. Plus a local refill store with such items as facial moisturizer, dish soap, laundry soap, rosewater, lotion, shampoo/conditioner, bath salts, and more.  For this I am SO grateful.  I get so many messages on Instagram from you lovely people who wonder how to reduce your waste without a bulk store near you.  So here are some tips for you!

  1. Check around and see if you have a bulk store near you.  Use this search engine from the Zero Waste Home site, try googling “zero waste in _____” and adding your city name, or check out the #zerowaste hashtag on Instagram to find like minded people in your area, i.e. #zerowastela for Los Angeles.  Many, many stores offer at least some items in bulk- some places in CA include Sprouts, Whole Foods, Nugget Markets, and most co-ops or health food stores.  Call around or visit all the grocery stores in your area and check- bulk is in unlikely places.  For example, you may find unpacked kimchi or tofu at a Korean store.  Or bulk bins with beans, dried hibiscus flowers, tamarind, and dried chiles at a Mexican market.  Explore outside of your usual places.  If your local grocer doesn’t carry bulk, consider talking to the managers or emailing the company directly asking for it.  Remember that the store exists to serve YOU, the consumer.  Of course ask nicely and explain WHY you want plastic free options.  Recently because of consumer demand, Bulk Barn in Canada began allowing customers to use their own containers to buy bulk foods in instead of plastic bags.
  2. Check out your farmers market.  If you have access to one, take full advantage and GO THERE.  Buy as much of your groceries as you can there. They will be package free, fresh, high quality, and you can get to know the people who grow your food for you.
  3. Cut down on “convenience” and pre-made packaged snack foods like bars, crackers, puddings, cookies, shakes, juices- eat WHOLE foods instead which naturally come package free or minimally packaged.  For example, buying a bag of popcorn kernels and popping it at home is way less waste than buying snack bags of pre-popped corn.  I see this a lot at schools: LOTS of litter and plastic waste, almost all from individually wrapped snack foods.  Try eating these healthy and waste free snacks instead: a banana or apple with almond butter, roasted pumpkin seeds, dates with tahini, veggies and hummus, avocado toast, green smoothie, miso soup, or roasted crispy chickpeas.
  4. Choose loose produce over packaged + use your own cloth produce bags instead of the plastic ones OR just put it loose into your cart.  Always keep a reusable grocery bag with you- in the car, in your bag, your purse.
  5. Choose things packaged in compostable and or recyclable packaging whenever possible: paper, glass, cloth, metal. A few great options I’ve seen around at regular chain stores: Country Save laundry detergent comes in a paper box, Lundberg brown rice at Costco comes in a GIANT paper bag, Jovial brown rice pasta comes in a paper box with a home compostable window, and Alter Eco truffles come with compostable wrappers.  If buying something in plastic is the only option, choose a recyclable plastic.  Check your local city website for information on what materials are recyclable in your area.  Also, try to buy the largest size possible to cut down on packaging- shampoos, lotions, body wash, rice, dry beans, flour, salt etc- you can also divide a large bulk package among like minded friends.
  6. Support local businesses.  Small, family owned shops are more likely to accommodate your package free requests.  For example, try going to a local bakery for bread instead of getting it at a supermarket. Tortillas, chips, salsa? Try going to a Mexican restaurant and asking them nicely if you can buy some in your own container.  Ice cream?  Buy a pint in your mason jar at a local scoop shop.
  7. DIY and simplify: If you have time, make your own food whenever possible.  I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to make your own salad dressing, kombucha, bread, krautbroth, hot sauce, condiments and more- PLUS way healthier and tastier and cheaper.  In that same vein: simplify your meals= healthy, less waste, less time in the kitchen.  Cooking doesn’t have to take forever or be complicated.
  8. If you have only have access to a bulk store that’s far from you, consider making a trip once a month, every few months, or even twice a year to stock up.  For example, about 1+ hours away from me there is a bulk store called Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco that has many bulk foods I can’t get at home.  So, when I head in that direction I make sure to bring containers with me so I can take advantage of it and stock up while I’m in the area anyway.  See if a friend wants to go with you too and make a fun day of it!
  9. Buy “ugly” produce: single bananas, forked carrots, bumpy apples, wonky looking veggies and fruits of all shapes and types.  These guys are often passed over by consumers and thrown away by the stores!  Buying them can help reduce food waste.  In the same vein, some stores offer discounted food like “overripe” bananas, and other veggies that may be a little past their prime.  Buying these also reduces overall waste even if they’re packed in plastic.
  10. The most important tip: DONT GET DISCOURAGED and then give up.  Even if you have to buy some or lots of things in plastic, there are SO many other ways you can make an impact in your life.  Buying your clothes secondhand, reducing your car use, bringing your own jar for drinks, refusing plastic straws when you’re out, using the library instead of buying a book, eating more plants instead of meat, avoiding palm oil, and so many other things!  Just do the best you can, day after day and don’t give up.  Every little bit makes a difference and spreads the awareness to others.

Sending lots of love to you, thank you so much for reading and caring for our earth, YOU are amazing.  xx

 

ps: check out this video of less-waste shopping at Target here.

vegan + gluten free thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving (and all holidays) are really low key at our house.  It’s just us for dinner- me, J, and the kids.  We usually go on a hike in the early morning- AMAZING because usually no one else is out.  Then we come home and cook and watch a movie together.  We cook a lot of food because: leftovers (not having to cook again for days is amazing).  Here’s our simple, no fuss vegan and gluten free Thanksgiving menu:

Main: lentil + walnut loaf (this recipe): this is so delicious and has all those stuffing-esque flavors.  Plus, it’s sliceable and works perfectly in lieu of turkey in those leftover sandwiches (arguably the best part of Thanksgiving)

Gravy: mushroom gravy (this recipe): if you’ve never made mushroom gravy you’ve been cheating yourself.  Mushrooms are the perfect umami flavor and it is rich, easy, and delicious.

Mashed potatoes: I use a potato ricer to keep them super fluffy and then fold in splashes of coconut milk, garlic, and salt to taste.  Also perfect here is Miyoko’s vegan butter if you’re into that (and who isn’t?)

cranberry sauce: I buy cranberries at my co-op which offers them package free!  Usually I just wing it and throw them in a pot + simmer with orange juice/zest, maple syrup and cinnamon.  For a hands off oven version,  this recipe is perfect.

brussels: super simple, I just slice them in half (or quarters if they’re huge) + roast in the oven at 400 with a drizzle of EVOO, salt + pepper until they’re crispy and tender.

kale salad: I feel like you always need a fresh, raw, bright component for Thanksgiving to cut through all the heavier flavors and textures.  I’ve been OBSESSED with Amy Chaplin’s creamy kale slaw recipe so I’ll probably make that.  I’ve made this brussels slaw with maple pecans before too, with delicious results.

kabocha pie with coco whip: I’ll be experimenting this year with pumpkin pie and subbing my own homegrown pureed squash instead of canned pumpkin, and experimenting by converting a much loved cashew-ginger-spelt crust to GF (fingers crossed).  This easy V/GF crust from Pure Mamas looks amazing too.  Last year we did these awesome and super easy pumpkin pie parfaits with vanilla cashew cream. For the coco whip, here is a super easy tutorial from Oh She Glows with step by step pics.  I heard that TJ’s carries a coco whip too if you’re short on time!

I hope you all have a wonderful time enjoying food, friends and family this Thanksgiving!  Please consider donating your time to a local food bank to give back to others who may be less fortunate on this holiday xx

package free: veggie broth

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Fall and winter here mean lots and lots of soup for our house.  They’re fast, nutritious, + one batch lasts for a few days of lunches and dinner.  Making this many soups, I go through a LOT of veggie broth.  I used to buy broth in those Tetra Paks (ugh) or buy the Better than Bouillon Veggie Broth Paste (suspicious ingredients).  Now I love to make our own broth from scraps by saving peels and odds/ends of veggies in the freezer in a brown paper bag.  Then, when it gets full, I simmer them in a big pot with water, herbs, salt and black pepper.  This method is FREE and uses up every bit of produce we buy.  Tough ends of leeks, outer tough layers of onions, peels or stem ends of carrots, butts of celery, peel of celery root, tough cauliflower stems, herb stems, mushroom stems all work great for stock.  I strain the stock after boiling and I store in glass mason jars* in the freezer.

BUT sometimes I don’t have time to make stock or I don’t have enough scraps yet!  That’s why I keep this awesome VEGAN stock concentrate in the freezer.  Super quick and easy to make, this stock is tasty and convenient.  There’s no weird ingredients or preservatives in it like store bouillon pastes or powders.  Just regular, real food ingredients.

vegetable broth concentrate (recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Complete Vegetarian Cookbook )

1/2 small celery root, peeled + cut into 1/2 inch pieces (3/4c or 3 oz)

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (2/3c or 3 oz)

2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped + washed thoroughly (2.5c or 5 oz)

1/2c fresh parsley leaves and tender stems (1/2 oz)

2 tablespoons kosher salt

3 tablespoons dried minced onion

3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

1.5 tablespoons tomato paste

OPTIONAL: dried shiitake or porcini mushroom powder, or a spoon of miso.  This adds another layer of umami to the broth BUT is not necessary- the broth is great without!

Place the celery root, carrot, leek, parsley, onion, and kosher salt in a food processor.  Process until it becomes as fine as possible, stopping to scrape down the sides of the processor as needed. Add tomato paste and process for 1 minute, scraping down the sides of bowl twice.  Add soy sauce and continue to process 1 minute.  Transfer paste to a jar and tap firmly on counter to remove air bubbles.  Freeze up to 6 months.

TO USE:  For 1 cup broth, stir 1 tablespoon of the concentrate into 1 cup boiling water.

*Tips on freezing in glass: Use canning jars (Ball/Mason/Kerr) which are designed to withstand both very hot and very cold temps.  Jars that are straight up and down (wide mouth) are best for freezing in.  Leave about 2 inches of space and don’t put the lid on until its fully frozen.  Make sure the liquid is totally cool before freezing, too.  I’ve never had breakage before!

Hope you guys make and love this stock.  I’ll be posting a delicious soup recipe Friday, so have some stock ready 😉 xx

the dirt on composting

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(photo by the amazing Irving Penn)

Composting is awesome.  It takes off-cast scraps which would normally be trash and turns them into a treasure: fertile, rich humus which then in turn nourishes the growth of new life.  To reduce your waste, composting is a must.  For our family, a HUGE portion of what was in our trash can was fruit and vegetable scraps.  I feel like there’s all this mystery surrounding composting, though.  It’s often regarded as gross, smelly, bug-attracting, and only available to people with a backyard.  Really, most ANYONE can compost and there are so many different ways.

  1.  Check and see if your city offers a compost service (a green waste bin that’s serviced curbside along your trash and recycling).  This is what my city (Davis, CA) offers.  If not, they may still offer a free home composting system or educational materials like how to classes, pamphlets, or someone who can guide you in your endeavor.  It’s in your city’s best interest to reduce waste!  Call or visit the website of your city office and get the details.
  2. If no luck, do a quick google search to find out if there is a place you can drop off food scraps in your city.  Sometimes farmers markets will have a weekly collection site, or a nursery or farm may accept compost.  Call around and ask!  I’ve even seen compost bins at Whole Foods and Costco.  You can also put an ad up on your local Freecycle or Craigslist site asking if someone in your area who already composts would be willing to let you drop your food scraps with them.  If you find a drop off location, simply save your scraps in a big bowl or paper bag in the freezer until its full!  No smell or mess at all.
  3. If 1 and 2 don’t work for you, don’t worry.  You can still compost!  If you have any outside space, look into building a bin like this or this (both very easy and inexpensive), or you can buy a premade kind (check at Costco, a local nursery, Home Depot- they’re pretty common).  If you don’t have any outside space, try a worm bin under your sink!  Here’s a how-to for vermi-composting.

Here’s a quick how-to  for composting if you’re doing it at home- what’s compostable and what’s not plus a few tips.

COMPOSTABLE:

fruit and veggie scraps (peels, rotten veg, odds and ends)

eggshells

tea leaves, coffee grounds, and paper tea bags

nut shells

sawdust, wood chips, fireplace ashes

dryer lint, hair, pet hair, vacuum lint, dust from sweeping floor

cotton/natural fiber rags

dead plant materials (yard trimmings, lawn clippings, leaves, dead flowers)

paper products (cardboard, paper, newspaper, soiled food paper like pizza boxes)

NOT COMPOSTABLE:

meat + dairy : attract rodents, harmful bacteria, odor problems.  If you have a city compost pickup they may accept it (mine does) but don’t put this in your home compost.

pet waste

fat, grease, lard or oils

When you add scraps to your compost, cut them up small.  More surface area = faster decomposition.  For optimal digestion for your compost, add in an equal amount of “browns”- paper, dead leaves, dry lawn clippings, etc for your “greens”- fruit and veggie scraps- layer the browns and greens like a lasagna.  Turn your compost every week to mix well and cover it when it rains.  If it’s really hot, spray it a little with your hose.  Things should be slightly moist and not stinky.  You can add a sprinkle of soil after each addition to your pile if you want too.  Here’s a more in depth guide for composting at home: Composting and this one too.

I hope you guys give composting a try!  It is really rewarding to turn trash into treasure.  Have a wonderful weekend xx

zero waste halloween

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This is the story of how we survived Halloween with 2 kids, no waste and still had a fantastic time in the process.

I always struggled with the idea of Halloween.  I love the costumes and energy of all the kids coming together in our small friendly neighborhood.  However, I always felt guilty about the waste; the hoards of candy that we accumulated to give, the massive amount we received, the amount my kids ate, the amount that went in the trash afterwards.  It just seemed like a ridiculous idea to me: go out and ask for candy that I didn’t even want from people who used their money to buy it, just to trash/donate it afterwards- a wasteful futile lifecycle.

Other parents commiserated with me.  Really, no one wants their kids eating that much candy- most people I talked to said they let their kids eat as much as they wanted that night and then trashed or donated the rest.  Personally, I don’t agree with teaching kids to gorge and binge on candy that night- I try to foster a healthy relationship with food in our house.  Plus, I don’t want my kids eating any of that cr*p.  Whether you are vegan or not, I think we can all agree that the candy ingredients are the scariest part of Halloween.  High fructose corn syrup, palm oil, hydrogenated oils, artificial colors and flavors!!!  Spooky stuff.  Donating the candy seems like a good idea, but honestly I don’t believe anyone should be eating this unhealthy “food”.  Taking the candy also supports the companies behind it- big companies like Nestle who aren’t sustainable, fair trade, or socially/environmentally responsible.  ALSO all that individually wrapped, plastic candy creates SO. MUCH. TRASH.

I wanted to share our  waste free Halloween alternatives this year to hopefully inspire you for next year. To show you that YES, not creating trash on Halloween is totally doable, even with kids.  And even if you make one small change or even just file this information in the back of your head for later, it will be so worth it.

  1. Pumpkins: instead of carving pumpkins, I buy the sugar pie pumpkins and let the kids paint them.  After Halloween, instead of trashing them, I peel the skin off and use them in pies, roasted, in smoothies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin butter, etc.  If you do carve pumpkins, COMPOST it after Halloween instead of trashing it!  Food waste in the landfill creates methane gas which pollutes our air.
  2. Costumes: I always use what we have to make costumes OR buy a thrift store costume.  It is environmentally friendly, cheap, and unique.  This year, my daughter was a night fairy with an all black outfit, glitter and stars on her face, and wings someone gave us.  Vin was Spongebob (a $3 costume we found at Thrift Town).  Other ideas: host a costume swap with friends, or check on Freecycle or Craigslist in your area.  In the U.S., we spend $3.4 BILLION DOLLARS on new costumes every year, with most of them being thrown away after Halloween.  If you do buy a costume, be responsible and give it away to a friend, someone in your community, sell it online, or donate to a thrift store after Halloween.
  3. Trick or Treating: This year, in lieu of trick or treating for candy, my kids collected donations for UNICEF which supports and defends kids in need worldwide.  We got the little orange donation boxes via school, but you can get one from UNICEF or download a DIY form from their site.  This year we collected almost $60!  Doing so teaches my kids to care about others and emphasizes giving rather than getting.  This is a normal thing in my neighborhood and mostly everyone is prepared with change to give.  Some people aren’t prepared or interested in giving and that’s ok!  I talked with the kids about this earlier so they were prepared for this.  Some people still snuck a candy to Vin (mostly old people).  I avoided this as much as possible by going up to the door with him to make sure.  We ended up with 5 pieces of candy that I gave back to the neighbor kids.
  4. Giving out candy:  If you’ll be at home giving out candy, consider using bulk candy or these amazing Alter Eco truffles which have a compostable wrapper.  Theres a lady in our neighborhood who gives out tangerines with little spooky faces drawn on them with Sharpie too and the kids love them!
  5. Alternative Treats:  Instead of candy, my kids picked out treats ahead of time to enjoy after trick or treating was over.  They chose these raw lemon bars and bulk candy they chose from the store that we bought in our own bag.  My friend brought over carrot cake whoopie pies too.  They were really excited for this, and I was happy to let them indulge in these healthier treats made with real whole food ingredients.
  6. Parties:  If you are going to a Halloween party, be sure to bring your own cup!  My neighbors host a party every year where Solo cups are the norm.  I bring my mason jar to enjoy the drinks waste free.  If you are hosting the party, consider using reusables and doing bulk candy instead of the individually wrapped stuff.
  7. Decorations:  Use things you already have, or buy them at the thrift store and save them to use year after year.  There are so many decorations you can find in November that are donated after Halloween.  Pumpkins, gourds, squashes, are all festive and either edible and/or compostable.

To be honest, I was a little worried the kids wouldn’t have as much fun this year .   I was imagining an ascetic, miserly affair.  We actually ended up having loads more fun.  The kids were so excited to raise money for UNICEF in their little orange boxes.  We met up with kids in our neighborhood plus a few of our friends.  We got a lot of positive comments from people at the door and other parents.  Afterwards, our friends came back to our house with us and we all shared and enjoyed treats and chili.  Carmela excitedly counted all the money we had raised (about $60 total!) and we played and talked for a few hours before bed.  We had a lovely time together, ending up with MEMORIES instead of THINGS.  It felt so good to live our values, to teach our kids to stick to what you believe in, even when it is totally different from what others are doing.  Here’s to new traditions with much more fun, love, compassion, and a lighter footprint on our gorgeous planet.

package free: sauerkraut

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I see sauerkraut all the time at the co-op in tiny plastic containers for upwards of $5. I’m here to tell you that making your own kraut is so easy and delicious, plus its WAY cheaper.  I bought a head of organic, local cabbage at my farmers market this weekend for $2 and it make a quart of delicious kraut, no plastic needed.  Plus, you can flavor it however you like!  Here I went classic and added just caraway seeds, but you can add grated beet, a handful of red cabbage for pink kraut, garlic, chiles, dill, whatever tickles your palate.

I know fermenting foods can seem a little scary if you’ve never made them before, since there’s a lot of misinformation out there.  It’s really easy to tell if your batch has gone off- it will smell (and look) disgusting.  I’ve never had this happen and I’ve made countless batches of this.  One time I didn’t submerge the top cabbage leaf enough and it grew a bit of mold on the top.  NO BIG DEAL- that’s why you have those leaves on the top.  Just carefully discard the moldy leaf (in the compost please!) and everything underneath (submerged completely in the brine) will be perfectly good.  OF COURSE PLEASE DO NOT EAT IT if if smells bad, looks bad, or generally seems “off”.  Use your intuition but like I said, I’ve never had a problem before.  The key is packing it really tightly and making sure its all submerged in its juice.  If you use a larger jar, you can put a smaller glass jar (like a jelly jar) inside on top of the cabbage, then when you put the lid on the jelly jar will keep the cabbage submerged.

I posted a series on my IG stories while I was making a fresh batch and so many of you reached out to me asking for more info and a way to refer back to the videos.  So here it is!  At the end of the post I added a little compilation video of the IG stories so you can see the recipe in action, it’s super low tech but I thought it might be helpful.  Here we go!

raw organic caraway sauerkraut 

INGREDIENTS

1 medium head of green or red cabbage, 2-3 pounds

1.5 tablespoons kosher salt (NOT granulated or iodized please)

1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional or sub with any flavoring you like- garlic, onion, ginger, chiles, turmeric etc)

1-2 sterilized mason jar with a lid (I used 1 quart size plus a little extra in a pint jar)

1 large bowl

sharp knife

bowl or baking dish to store the jars in while they ferment

METHOD

Before you begin, it is IMPERATIVE that you make sure everything you will be working with is super clean.  You don’t want any bad bacteria getting in your kraut.  So wash your jar, cutting board, knife, bowl counter, hands with hot soapy water and rinse + dry thoroughly.

Next, peel off the first 3 or 4 leaves of cabbage, reserving them for later.  Cut your cabbage into half, then quarters.  Cut the hard center core wedge out of each quarter and reserve with the outer leaves.  Cut each quarter in half to make 8 wedges.  Cut each wedge crosswise thinly (or use a mandolin if you prefer) and add it to your bowl as you go.

After you have sliced all of it into the bowl, sprinkle your salt over the top.  Using your hands, massage the salt into the cabbage for about 5 minutes or so until the cabbage is limp, softened, and releasing liquid.  The volume should reduce a lot too, as you condense it with the massaging.

Next, add in the caraway seeds and mix thoroughly.  Pack the cabbage mixture into your mason jar(s), pushing it down as you go.  Packing it in as tightly as you can is key here.  There should be a layer of juice at the top of the cabbage, pour in any more juice from the bowl as needed.  You want to leave about 2 inches of empty space between the cabbage and the top of the jar.

Wad up your reserved leaves up and stuff them into your jar tightly, one at a time, until all the shredded cabbage is held down and submerged in the liquid.  Use the cores too as needed.  This is really important- you don’t want ANY of the shredded cabbage exposed to air.  Essentially you’re using the cabbage leaves as “weights” to keep the shredded cabbage pushed down, so pack it tightly.  You should have about 1 inch of empty space between the leaves and the lid to allow for bubbling and expansion.  You can further weight the cabbage down by inserting a CLEAN small glass  jar on top of the cabbage.

Wipe the rims clean with a clean cloth and screw the lids loosely onto the jars.  Do not screw them tightly or your jar may have a mini explosion!  You want to allow the gases to escape as needed.  Place the jars into a baking dish or pan- something with sides in case the jars run over so you don’t end up with a mess.

Place in a dark spot such as a oven, cupboard, pantry, or closet and let ferment 3-7 days, depending on how hot or cold it is in your house.  When its hot, fermentation is quicker and vice versa.  I’ve been keeping mine in the oven with the light on because it’s been cold in the house- I think you get better flavor with a faster ferment.  Check in on your kraut daily, you may need to “burp” it- unscrewing the bands to release gases, then re-screwing them loosely back again.  Look for bubbles to indicate fermentation.  The longer you ferment the kraut, the stronger and tangier the flavor will be.

When it smells how you like it, you can take the top leaves out (and compost!) to leave just the shredded kraut behind.  Taste to make sure its where you want it flavor-wise and then refrigerate.  Stays good pretty indefinitely in the fridge but I doubt it will last long!

I hope you guys enjoy and share with me if you make it or send me a question @mamaeatsplants on Instagram xx

bomb veggie chili

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Chili is such a perfect fall and winter meal, you can make a large pot and be set for the entire week. Or freeze half the pot for another time and enjoy a homemade meal twice!  We served this chili over baked sweet potatoes with lime cashew crema and guac and it was BOMB.  All of us were in love, the kids especially.  Don’t be put off by all the ingredients, this chili isn’t hard to make but it needs some different items for a nice deep flavor.  Also,  chili always tastes best the second day so if you can stand waiting, make it the day ahead or prep it on a Sunday.  Corn goes really well in here too but I couldn’t find any without plastic this time :/

bomb veggie chili

INGREDIENTS:

1 large onion, chopped

1 large red bell pepper, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

1 small stalk celery, finely chopped

1 small carrot, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon chipotle chili en adobo, minced (canned chipotle in sauce)

28 oz canned tomatoes- chunky or smooth, however you like it

2-3 cups veggie broth, start with two and add more depending on how thick/thin you want your chili

1 large zucchini, chopped

4 cups pinto beans, cooked (or about 2 cans drained and rinsed)

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

All the fixings, like cashew cream, lines, jalapeno, cilantro, red onion, whatever you enjoy on your chili.

METHOD:

Saute the onion about 5 minutes until softened, then add in the carrot and celery and sauté another 5 minutes until aromatic and softened.  Add in the bell peppers and garlic and continue to sauté about 5-7 minutes until the peppers have wilted a bit.  Add in all your spices, including the chipotle en adobo and sauté 2 minutes, stirring to fully combine.  Add all the rest of your ingredients and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer and let cook about 20 minutes.  Serve with all the fixings and enjoy!  Keeps well in the fridge and you can freeze the leftovers easily, even in single serving jars if you like.

Hope you guys enjoy and share with me if you make it! @mamaeatsplants on Instagram xx