Cauliflower makes for a great meat substitute because it soaks up flavor, especially in this dish. It is divinely spiced and packs a few surprise ingredients like coffee and cocoa powder.
Traditional chili: 410 calories
Food Network veggie chili: 230 calories
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large bell peppers (1 green, 1 red), chopped
3 medium carrots, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 to 1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 corn tortillas, torn into pieces
1/2 cup brewed coffee
1 (28 ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 head cauliflower
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus torn leaves for topping (optional)
Shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, sliced scallions and/or plain low-fat Greek yogurt, for topping (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, carrots and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, chipotle, tomato paste and tortillas and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste is brick red, about 4 minutes (add a splash of water if the mixture begins to stick).
Add the coffee and simmer until almost completely reduced, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, cocoa powder, beans and 2 1/2 cups water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens slightly, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, trim the large stems off the cauliflower and coarsely grate the florets on a box grater. About 10 minutes before the chili is done cooking, stir in the grated cauliflower. Cook 10 minutes, then remove from the heat. Stir in the chopped cilantro and season with salt. Add some water if the chili is too thick. Ladle into bowls and add toppings.