To Cook Is to Love: A Foodies Journal – Winter Warmer

John VerlindenJohn Verlinden
Photo: Rachel Power
John Verlinden

John Verlinden
Photo: Rachel Power

By: John Verlinden*/TRT Columnist—

When I was a little boy, I loved sharing jokes and funny stories with friends. I even had this book of riddles and jokes for kids which gave me lots of great material. One of my favorites was: What’s the weather forecast for Mexico? Chili today and hot tamale!

This time of year, that silly joke reminds me of one of my favorite winter foods: chili. Nothing chases the cold and warms you up like a big, piping hot bowl of that picante deliciousness. Every cook has a favorite recipe, and there are literally thousands of variations out there from which to choose. This “5-Alarm Vegetarian Chili” was a hit at our restaurant, and it remains a family favorite in our home today. It’s quick, easy, delicious and so good for you.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 green pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers (chopped)
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 15-ounce cans of beans (I like black and kidney)
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
  • 1 15-ounce can of whole kernel corn
  • 2 cups of cubed firm tofu or 2 cups textured vegetable protein


1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, sauté the onion, peppers, garlic and dry spices in the olive oil until tender.

2. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

3. Reduce heat to low, and cook slowly for about 10 minutes.

4. Serve with a salad or sandwich, and get ready for lots of compliments and requests for seconds.

No time to cook in the evening? Put all ingredients together in a crockpot or slow cooker before you leave in the morning. You’ll rejoice at the wonderful aroma that greets you when you return home.

To share your favorite wintertime dish with me, ask a question or suggest a topic for the future article, contact me at or visit and join our Latin food forum.

Until next time – ¡Mucho Gusto!, ¡Muchas Gracias! y ¡Buen Provecho!

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