Temptation.  It happened after about a week of my detox diet to help cure my bout with ciguatera.  I had been craving something spicy to make up for all of the foods that I recently had given up…and then I started craving cheese.  This was interesting because cheese is not my go to, have to have, can’t live without food.  But cheese was the first “forbidden food” I added back into my diet.  It was logical (at least to me) because it would go well with my spicy craving.  Since I didn’t feel so hot and didn’t really want to cook, this recipe came together by default.  It’s super easy, fast and spicy.  I like the fact that you use just one of everything which makes it a breeze to remember.  It’s a bit lazy too…some days are like that.  You grab for a prepackaged spice instead of mixing your own.  You reach for cans instead of cooking from scratch.  It’s OK…another day, when you feel energetic, you can soak and cook the beans and chop fresh tomatoes…but I just wanted to grab items from the pantry.  I believe that your family and friends will enjoy this dish either way.  If you are cooking for hearty eaters, you may want to double the recipe.

I know that some of you might be abstaining from dairy or maybe lacto ovo vegetarian and don’t want to add any cheese, but I wanted gooey, tangy, melting cheese piled high on a steamy bowl of spicy.  If you have to eliminate the cheese, I’ll understand.  You can also add a pop of guacamole if you’d like.  Double decadence for me is cheese AND guacamole.

Thankfully, after about four weeks my crazy ciguatera symptoms started to subside and I’m now back to my more indulgent ways, but I have a new outlook regarding detox diets and a new appreciation for vegan and vegetarian dishes.  Many of my new habits are going to stay with me, such as more vegetables and less meat. This dish fits that goal perfectly.

I’m truly grateful that I recovered fairly quickly and I don’t seem to have any lingering symptoms.  Once again, I’d like to tell you how much your kind thoughts and words meant to me.

Easy Vegetarian Chili Recipe

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

A quick, easy, spicy vegetarian chili perfect for Sunday supper.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 large carrot, sliced
1 can (15 oz.) organic black or pinto beans
1 can (15 oz.) organic chopped or crushed tomatoes
1 package (1 oz.) vegetarian chili spice
1 cup sharp cheddar, colby and Monterey jack cheese, shredded (optional)
1 cup guacamole (optional)
Cilantro for garnish


In a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil, garlic, onion and green pepper. Stir and cook till onions are translucent. Add the carrot, black beans (including liquid) and tomatoes. Sprinkle with the vegetarian chili spice. Stir till spice is incorporated into mixture. Turn heat to low, cover and cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sprinkle with cheese (optional) and/or guacamole, garnish with cilantro.