This is so substantial that the most adamant meat-eaters won't even notice that this is an all-veggie dish! Not only is eating a spectrum of vibrant vegetables appetizingly cheerful and beautiful, it also ensures that your body is getting all the right nutrients.
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 beetroot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
4 -5 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 delicata squash, finely diced
1 large eggplant, diced
8 oz (250g)mushrooms, finely diced
1 tsp each of cumin, ground coriander, oregano, paprika
2-3 cups (500-750ml) water
2 lbs shelled fresh cranberry beans or 1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
2 ears of fresh corn cut off the cob
1-2 cups leafy greens (beet greens, celery leaves, or kale or spinach), finely chopped
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, sliced fresh chili peppers, cilantro or scallions, to garnish
1 tsp salt
Coat the bottom of a large stockpot with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté the celery, carrot, beetroot, onions, and garlic for 3-5 minutes until the onions are soft. Add the tomatoes, spices and sauté for a further 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a food processor or high-speed blender. Let cool slightly before blending this into a smooth sauce.
Pour the tomato sauce back into the pot and bring to a low boil. If using dried lentils, cook these in the sauce for 15 minutes before adding the squash, eggplant, and mushrooms. Next add the corn and shelled cranberry beans. Bring to a boil again then, turn down the heat, and cover and simmer for 20 minutes until all the vegetables and the beans are tender, but not mushy.
In the last minute, add the chopped leafy greens to briefly heat them up. Season to taste. Serve hot, with any garnishes, if using.
Leftover chili makes a great lunch – these are with a side salad, loaded on top of a roasted sweet potato, and some Carrot Greens Chimichurri.