Veggie Chili for a crowd (of 75)

Every once and a while my spouse and I break out the industrial pots & pans at our church and prepare lunch for the hungry masses that descend in the basement common room after service lets out. Today, for a mere € 75, we made vegetarian-bean chili with a tortilla chip topping and multigrain bread for around 75 people – and there were leftovers! It wasn’t haute cuisine, but it was hot, tasty, and healthy.

It is really an interesting experience to cook in massive quantities… this is our (clean!) garbage bag full of chopped peppers and celery.

When we “cook for the masses” I usually rely on the recipes from the USDA healthy meals resource system website. The recipes on this site are healthy, focus on whole grains and lots of veggies, and are exclusively vegetarian  – and scaled for 50 or 100 people. They had several chili recipes on the site, so I just took an average of all of them and adjusted the seasoning and balance of ingredients as I went.

It’s actually a lot of work to stir a pot that large! And it got steamy in there!

The finished product: not glamorous, but delicious!

So if you ever need to feed a hungry crowd, here’s my approximate final recipe:

The Veg:

10 onions, chopped (get ready to cry! woowhee!!)
15 bell peppers (red, green, yellow)
2 large bunches of celery (mine were mega-bunches – they yielded a lot!)
8 zucchini
200 g garlic (I bought frozen minced garlic – no way I was going to chop all of that)

1/4 c. cumin
1/4 c. chili powder
4 TBS cinnamon
4 TBS cocoa powder
slat & pepper to taste

Cans: (all normal 12 oz. cans)
12 cans kidney beans
6 cans black beans
20 cans chopped tomato
10 cans tomato puree

We satueed the veggies, then dumped in everything else, and let it simmer for about an hour and a half.

Serve with tortilla chips, grated cheese, bread, or whatever else your masses might be interested in devouring. 🙂


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