Endlessly versatile soups, stews, and chili are an essential part of the vegetarian repertoire. Packed with vegetables, and often filled with protein-rich beans, these meatless recipes can be great starters or a complete meal in a bowl.
Ground turkey is a lower-fat alternative to beef chuck, and kidney beans -- loaded with vitamin C and omega-3s -- are an especially nutritious option. Yes, turkey contains tryptophan (an amino acid that can have a pleasantly sedative effect), but this one-pot dish has two other comfort-food essentials going for it: a warm temperature and a hearty makeup.
Different kinds of beans cook at different rates, so it's best to prepare them in separate pans (working in batches if necessary). The salad can be made with just a few types instead of all five, as long as the total amount of dried beans still measures 2 1/2 cups.
This is one of Joe Bonanno's most popular firehouse dishes. Choose a chili powder that suits your taste for heat. Leave the pot uncovered during simmering to allow excess water to evaporate and the chili to thicken.
This is one of the most economical meals to serve for a tableful of guys, and it can be further enhanced with a topping of your sausage of choice, split lengthwise and grilled. Serve over the white rice with a bottle of hot sauce within reach. From the book "Mad Hungry," by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Artisan Books).
Indian basmati and Louisiana popcorn rices are both long-grain varieties of aromatic rice with a subtle, nutty flavor. The beans in this dish are not pre-soaked, so they will better retain their shape.