This chili leaves people guessing WHAT IN THE WORLD is giving it such a unique smooth richness. They’ll guess and they’ll guess with each bite until they reach the last spoonful and then, poof, like in a cloud of smoke or into the darkness, the mystery is gone without a trace. ...until the next bowl.
This dish is called ‘ninja’ for two reasons:
- First, finicky kids are almost guaranteed to try something that’s got the word ‘ninja’ in the name. Second, there are secrets in the depths of this recipe: Firstly, it is entirely vegetarian thanks to the delicious veggie ground.
- Secondly, the secret ingredient, peanut butter, lays a swift and subtle nunchuck to the tastebuds: you take a bite and this seemingly average, everyday chili leaves you with the delicious, mysterious undertone of … something different. Like a ninja, it’s there and then it’s gone.
- 1 Tbsp olive/other vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp each, salt and pepper
- 2 cups veggie ground (or 1 1/2lb lean ground beef, pork, etc.)
- 2 tsps chili powder (NOT CAYENNE/GROUND RED PEPPER!? )
- 1 medium onion, diced (fresh or frozen)
- 1/2-1 tsp hot chili flakes (optional but great for kick)
- 1-2 medium green peppers, diced (fresh or frozen)
- 1 tin pasta sauce (796 ml approx)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced, OR 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 (796 ml) tin crushed/diced tomatoes (with juices)
- 1 (540 ml) tin beans (such as kidney, etc.), rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- Thaw veggie ground, if frozen. Heat oil in a large, deep,12 inch skillet or medium-large saucepan (with a tight-fitting lid) over medium heat
- Scramble-fry veggie-ground briefly, breaking up as it cooks, about 2-3 minutes/ until just beginning to brown (if using ground beef/turkey, etc., instead, fry longer, 10 mins approx/until lightly browned. To make this ninja chili without meat/veggie ground and with extra beans instead, begin by sautéing veggies and garlic and then proceed to the next step)
- Reduce heat to medium-low, add diced onions, green peppers and minced garlic and sauté along with the meat/veggie ground, stirring often, until veggies become slightly soft (not browned), about 10-15 minutes
- Add chili powder, chili flakes, salt and pepper and stir to combine
- Add tomato sauce, crushed/diced tomatoes, stir and bring to a simmer
- Reduce heat to low, cover, and continue to simmer gently for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Add beans, stir and return to a simmer, then stir in peanut butter until fully incorporated, cover and simmer gently, 10 mins more, stirring occasionally.
Serve with one (or more!) of the following irresistible toppers…
- Diced avocado or a scoop of guacamole
- Crushed corn chips or spicy Doritos
- Grated cheddar, Swiss, Monterey or pepper jack cheese
- Garlic toast cubed into croutons
- Cool dollop of sour cream and a drizzle of hot sauce
- Hot corn niblets and sliced green onions
- Shredded lettuce and diced tomato
- Mild or spicy salsa with melted cheese whiz
Try the ‘Purely Pantry’ version on days you’re low on meat & produce!
- 1/2 (796 ml) tin diced/crushed tomatoes
- 1 tin (796 ml) pasta sauce
- 1/4 cup water ~2 cloves minced garlic or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2-1 tsp hot chili flakes
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 cans of your favourite beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- Combine all ingredients except beans & peanut butter in large deep skillet or saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
- Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, taking care to stir often so bottom of pan doesn’t scorch. Once simmering, reduce heat to low and continue simmering very gently, covered, for about 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
- Add in beans, return to a simmer and then stir in peanut butter until fully incorporated, cover and simmer gently for about 5-10 more minutes to allow flavours to meld (again, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching)
- Serve with your favourite garnishes!