During my junior and senior years of college, I lived with a few girls who are still among my very best friends. When you live with people, you get to know all sorts of things about them; for example, they learned pretty early on that when I have a lot on my plate, or a deadline is looming, I suddenly find all the inspiration in the world to cook.
And one of my favorite things to make, especially during the fall, is this chili. Not only is it packed with bright, colorful veggies and nutrient-rich beans, it’s full of flavorful spices and a good kick of chili pepper that leaves one’s tastebuds both satisfied and craving a little more.
The first time I made it, I misread the recipe and included four whole spicy chilies, rather than just the recommended four teaspoons. I recall my roommate, Kara, being the good friend she is, willingly tasting the inaugural batch at the kitchen table, tears coming to her burning eyes as she told me how, gulp, delicious it was.
Since then, I’ve never made the same mistake with the chilies, but I have made this soup over and over again. High in protein, low in fat, and unsuspectingly vegan, it’s all of the flavor with zero of the guilt. It’s the perfect recipe for a brisk fall day — even when a deadline isn’t anywhere in sight.