This weekend, I will be hosting the Carnival of the Recipes. Surprised? Actually, food is a passion of mine, one that I don’t often blog about but still follow all the time. In fact, I’m in the middle of The Ominivore’s Dilemma and it’s blowing my mind!

The theme of my upcoming edition will be Meatless Recipes for two important reasons. The first is that, considering the overarching message of 10,000 Birds, it should be unambiguous that when I say I love birds, I’m not talking about dinner. Promoting animal conservation and consumption at the same time requires a lot more nuance than I can muster.
My second reason for focusing on meatless recipes is that I eat vegetarian as often as possible. Why I’ve made that decision is a topic for another day, or more likely many other days. But my point is that preparing traditional meals without meat can be extremely difficult for those of us raised on steak and potatoes. I’ve devoted countless hours of culinary experimentation to trying to find ways to satisfy various food cravings with a minimum of attendant bloodshed. With hope, my edition will aggregate enough quality veggie recipes to keep us all fat and happy for months. I’ll kick things off this week with my own humble offering. After years of painstaking experimentation, I’m ready to share my finest culinary achievement, a simple yet sumptuous vegetarian chili:

Mike’s Manly Veggie Chili

1 yellow or sweet onion, 1-inch dice
1 leek, sliced lengthwise then chopped
2 bell peppers (red, orange, and/or yellow) seeded, 1-inch dice
2-3 jalapeno peppers seeded, small dice
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 can red kidney beans
1 can great northern beans
1 package veggie crumbles (I recommend Smart Ground)
1 tbs olive oil
Lots of chili powder, 2 bay leaves, salt, cayenne pepper

1. Saute the vegetables in olive oil over medium heat in a large pot.
2. When vegetables are soft, add stewed tomatoes, bay leaves, and chili powder. Chili powder is what separates chili from meat sauce, so don’t be shy. This is also a good time to experiment with a pinch of cinnamon, a dash of turmeric, or a shot of tequila. Bring to boil, then lower to simmer.
3. After 45-60 minutes, add beans.
4. After 15 minutes more, add crumbles and salt to taste. Add additional cayenne if you like it hot.
5. After 10 minutes more, serve with baked potatoes or tortilla chips and cheese. Serves 8-10.

This dish responds well to experimentation, as long as sufficient chili powder is added. In addition, it scales extremely well; just double the ingredients for a large group. Perceptive readers will note that there’s nothing inherently masculine about this recipe. It’s just that, in my experience, men need more convincing to embrace a meatless dish where a meaty alternative exists. As if ingesting factory-farmed livestock accrued honor to anyone…

Now I’d like to invite everyone to post their favorite meatless recipe this week and send me a link by Friday for my 4/15 presentation of the Carnival of the Recipes. A little food blogging is good for the soul.

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.