When I’m trying to plan my meals for a busy week, I like to prepare a dish that is a complete meal — no need for a side dish means I can grab my food, eat it, and go!
Chili is a classic meal-in-a-bowl because it’s full of vegetables, protein, and — most importantly — flavour. If you can make the time to put everything together, the quick leftovers are totally worth it.
I personally prefer vegetarian chili because I find I’m more creative when it comes to protein source selection; there’s no meat to rely on, so I think about it more and end up with a more balanced, less fatty meal. Generally, I try to aim for 4 to 5 types of beans, plus texturized vegetable protein (TVP), which has a consistency similar to ground beef and works perfectly in vegetarian chili, meatloaf (lentil loaf, anyone?), etc. Even if you are a meat eater, you should consider adding TVP to your diet. A little extra variety never hurt anyone!
I know this sounds really weird and potentially gross, but bear with me on this one. I promise it is far from whatever you’re imagining right now. Unless you are imagining something totally delicious. In which case… right on.
When I was living with my housemates in between our second and fourth years of university, we had upwards of six jars of pickles in our fridge at any given time. It was just one of those things we had way too much of, and to top it off, one of my housemates couldn’t bring herself to throw out the pickle juice when the jars were empty. So, she had the brilliant idea of using the liquid to cook her vegetables in, and a legendary, inexpensive, and flavourful dish was born.