Comfort food is the body’s longing for a sense of fullness and nourishment through edible delights. Combining a plethora of low calorie beans and vegetables with the right amount of tantalizing spices can create a festive and hearty meal during this challenging winter. This favorite casserole is easy to create and can be prepared ahead of time. This favorite family meal is a South of the border type casserole, I call Chili Pie. Its secret lies in the amount of usable fiber and protein from the vast kingdom comprised of beans.
The Native Americans depended on and consumed beans, corn and squash and called them affectionately the “Three Sisters.” They grew them as companion plants using the tall cornstalks to support the pole growing vine beans. How many varieties can you name? There are thousands of these delightful, complex carbohydrates, in many life sustaining varieties. Are you surprised to learn that among the more familiar kidney, black and pinto beans there are also the little known winged beans (with feather- like fringes on their pods), cowpea, moth, pigeon, and hyacinth type beans?
Although many complain about the flatulence that consuming these treasures may produce, today there are various substances available to counteract and limit this annoying by product. In cooking beans from scratch (almost a “dying art” today) one solution to gas production is to soak the beans overnight, a must for many varieties before cooking. By discarding that soaking water and starting fresh with new water for the cooking process, this problem can be ameliorated. In some cultures, certain carminative spices such as anise and coriander seeds are cooked together with the beans to eliminate this issue. Additionally, following a meal with a cup of chamomile or peppermint herbal tea can help to aid digestion and polish off a satisfying meal. This recipe, for convenience, will use canned beans.
Ingredients: All organic if possible:
½ red pepper
½ green pepper
1 med. white or yellow onion
3 celery stalks
Dice all the above vegetables
3 fresh corn on the cob cut kernels
5 cloves garlic chopped
½ bunch fresh cilantro chopped fine
½ cup fresh parsley chopped fine
Saute all in 1 tablespoon sunflower oil for 5-10 minutes
Add 1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans
1 can refried black beans (light sodium)
Stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes and set aside
1 jar garlic favored tomato sauce
1 package corn tortillas (about 12)
1 bag of Daiya vegan pepperjack shredded cheese
Layer the chili pie like a lasagna beginning with tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan, next 4 of the tortillas, cover with the bean/ vegetable mixture, add a thin layer of the tomato sauce and cheese and build another layer, ending with just tomato sauce and cheese for the topping. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake with the foil on top in a 350 degree oven for 45 min. Season with cayenne pepper or hot sauce to taste.
Uncover and bake 5 more min. Serve with organic fresh salsa, avocado or guacamole, and corn chips. It’s easier to serve when casserole has cooled down a bit. This will warm you from inside…
OLE and hearty appetite!