Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Winning Combination of Hearty Meals

The following two recipes are from the new column in the Boston Globe called Sunday Suppers. The idea is to make a meal on Sunday from which you can easily transform the leftovers into something new for Monday.

Sunday supper becomes doubly satisfying when your favorite sports team is winning and you’re passing bowls of hearty chili. If chili doesn’t seem to be a dish you can reconcile with your resolution to slim down, rest assured that this version is healthy (and happens to be thrifty too). It’s a vegetarian bowl with a spicy kick, so it will stand up to the meatiest opponents.

Begin with dried beans, which need an overnight soak to soften. Saute onions with poblano and jalapeno peppers, adding the spices to the oil to release their aromas. When the beans are cooked, stir some bulgur into the pan. This will make the dish feel hearty and filling at a fraction of the price - and calories - of ground meat. Bowls are garnished with grated cheddar and avocado.

The long-cooked chili and a little advance work mean an easy Monday. While you prep the chili, chop the ingredients for the burritos. Then, as the chili simmers, put on a pot of taqueria-style rice for tomorrow’s dish. There’s enough filling to make 8 rolls. If you don’t need that many for dinner, pop a few in the freezer or wrap them in parchment paper (instead of foil) and tote them to work. A quick pop in the microwave and lunch is hot. So, before you head for the couch, assemble, roll, and wrap the burritos. Two meals ready to eat.

(Leave out the cheese and the sour cream to make both of these dishes vegan!)

Vegetarian Chili

Serves 6 with leftovers

1 1/2 pounds dried red kidney beans
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cans (28 ounces each) diced tomatoes
5 cups water
1 1/2 cups bulgur
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 ripe avocado, peeled and diced
1 cup shredded cheddar

1. In a large bowl, combine the beans with enough cold water to cover them by several inches; soak overnight at room temperature.

2. Drain the beans; set aside.

3. In a large flameproof casserole, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the onions, poblano and jalapeno peppers, garlic, chili powder, oregano, and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the onions are tender.

4. Add the tomatoes, beans, and water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. The mixture should be soupy; add more water if necessary.

5. Stir in the bulgur, salt, and black pepper. Recover the pan, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.

6. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper, if you like.

7. Ladle into bowls (save 2 cups for tomorrow’s burritos) and garnish with avocado and cheddar.

Rice and Bean Burritos

Serves 8


1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed
3 cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tight fitting lid, heat the oil over high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until tender.

2. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, and turmeric. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, or until the spices are aromatic.

3. Add the rice, water, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 16 minutes or until tender.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.


8 flour tortillas (10 inches)
4 cups cooked rice
2 cups vegetarian chili
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Hot sauce, to taste

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a rimmed baking sheet.

2. Lay the tortillas on the counter. In a mound from the tops to the bottoms of each one, layer rice, chili, tomatoes, cheese, avocado, sour cream, cilantro, and a dash of hot sauce.

3. Fold the top and bottom edges of a tortilla over the filling. Roll the tortilla up, completely encasing the filling. Wrap in foil (wrap in parchment if reheating in microwave tomorrow). Set them on the baking sheet. Continue folding the remaining tortillas.

4. Heat the burritos for 20 minutes or until hot in the center.


  1. can u comment on brown rice vs. white as regards to processed foods?

  2. brown rice is not only healthier, but it is less processed and better for the environment. why? to make white rice, you have to remove the germ and inner husk (bran) from brown rice. so, you have added a process that requires more energy (bad for the environment) and removes many of the nutrients (bad for your health). many websites discuss this. you can check out:

    feel free to substitute brown rice in this recipe!