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Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/notahipster/">little blue hen</a> on Flickr
The key to creating successful vegetarian dishes, like this black bean chili recipe, is making sure they satisfy just as well as their carnivore counterparts. You can accomplish this by using plenty of herbs and spices, protein-rich ingredients like beans and tofu and the freshest, most flavorful vegetables you can find.

The key to creating successful vegetarian dishes, like this black bean chili recipe, is making sure they satisfy just as well as their carnivore counterparts. You can accomplish this by using plenty of herbs and spices, protein-rich ingredients like beans and tofu and the freshest, most flavorful vegetables you can find. I add butternut squash for a two-way flavor street — the squash adds sweetness to the dish and in turn becomes infused with delicious cumin and black bean flavor.

I believe that there are dishes that can’t be improved with a little meat. This is one of them. It’s quicker to make than ground beef chili because there’s no meat to cook until tender. Oh, and guess what? This recipe’s vegan, too (as long as you don’t smother it with sour cream and shredded cheddar like I do).