The ultimate vegan freezer meal prep: Black Bean Chili! Make a big batch and freeze for future meals. Future you will be so grateful!
Do you ever have those meal times when you absolutely have no time to prepare something to eat, but are craving a hearty, comforting meal? Have you ever considered being prepared for those meal times, by doing a vegan freezer meal prep?
May this be your sign to give freezer meal prep a try!! For me, this has been one of the hardest meal prep strategies to get into. Yet, it has also been a very rewarding one. I can’t count how many times I’ve been hangry, ready to order in a pizza and then remembered that I have chili in the freezer!!!
In this post you will learn how the meal prep the ultimate vegan freezer meal prep: Black Bean Chili! As well as some top tips for freezing meal prep.
This post is all about Vegan Freezer Meal Prep!
Vegan Freezer Meal Prep:
There are few things as versatile a chili! You can serve it over a bed of rice, inside tacos or tortilla wraps, with tortilla chips. Having chili in the freezer truly means that you are only minutes away from a comforting and delicious dish. This versatility is what makes this black bean chili the ultimate vegan freezer meal prep for me!
There are lots of versions of the chili origin story! But, most historians agree that the earliest written description of chili came from J.C. Clopper, who lived near Houston. While his description never mentions the word chili this is what he wrote of his visit to San Antonio in 1828: “When they [poor families of San Antonio] have to lay for their meat in the market, a very little is made to suffice for the family; it is generally cut into a kind of hash with nearly as many peppers as there are pieces of meat–this is all stewed together.”
In the 1880s, the fame of chili began to spread! By the 20th century, chili joints started opening up in Texas and became popular all over the Western US by the roaring ’20s. It’s believed that chili joints meant the difference between starvation and staying alive during the Great Depression since chili was so cheap (chili history)!
In this post, I share my vegan freezer meal prep take on the dish!
Top Tips For Freezing Meal Prep
- Don’t put hot food in the freezer: allow food to completely cool down, before adding it to the freezer. Adding hot food to the freezer will affect the temperature inside of the freezer, potentially causing other foods to thaw.
- Seal food tightly: freezer bags and food storage containers help to prevent freezer burn. When using freezer bags, try to remove as much air as possible. If you are using food storage containers, leave enough space for the liquids to expand when frozen. I personally love to use freezer pods to flash freeze leftovers or meal prep into compact, meal-sized portions. Once frozen, transfer them to freezer bags and use your freezer pods to freeze another batch of meal prep. This system allows you to maximise your freezer space and keep your freezer well-organised.
- Keep portion control in mind: it is important to freeze food in realistically-sized portions! Once you defrost food, you can’t freeze it again. This is where freezer pods come in handy once again!
1-Cup Freezer Pods
2-Cup Freezer Pods
- Label everything: this is a rule that is relevant to my entire kitchen and my freezer is no exception! You will make it so much easier on yourself to maintain an organised freezer space if you just mark the date on which you made the food as well as what is actually inside of your freezer bag or container! I like freezer tape, because it works well on both reusable freezer bags and food containers. I don’t have great experiences with so-called reusable freezer labels. You can reuse them a few times on containers, but only work once on freezer bags!
- Defrost properly before reheating: ideally, frozen food should be thawed in the fridge! The USDA recommends against thawing foods on the counter or in hot water, because these methods of thawing can lead to foodborne illness. As soon as perishable foods begin to thaw and become warmer than 4°C / 40 °F, bacteria that may have been present before freezing can begin to multiply. Rather play it safe and thaw in the refrigerator where it will remain at a safe, constant temperature — at 4°C / 40 °F or below.
Black Bean Chili
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 red onion finely diced
- 1 red bell pepper finely diced
- 2 carrots finely diced
- 2 ribs celery finely diced
- pinch of salt
- 3 cloves garlic pressed
- 1-2 tablespoons chili powder depending on how much you enjoy spiciness
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1.5 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cans diced tomatoes
- 3 cups (equals 2 cans) black beans rinsed and drained
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 lime juiced
- Saute: Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, carrots, and celery with a pinch of salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until the vegetable are tender – 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chili, cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano and saute for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
- Simmer: Add the diced tomatoes, black beans, and broth. Stir! Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Taste: Remove the chili from the heat and do a little taste test. Add some more salt, according to your taste, and add lime juice too!
- Divide: Divide the chili amongst 6 x 1-cup freezer pods.
- Store: Store in the freezer for up to 6 months!
- Garnish: Before serving, garnish with some fresh coriander.
Did you meal prep this Black Bean Chili Recipe? Don’t forget to let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag @vegan_meal_prep_sunday on Instagram so I can see!
This post was all about Vegan Freezer Meal Prep!