Can you believe how fast time flies? It was 4 years ago — almost to the day — that I was rubbing elbows with Joey Fatone, cooking my vegan chili for the TV show My Family Recipe Rocks! I’ve been cooking this recipe for almost 17 years now! Back in 2000, a good friend of mine made it especially for me, knowing I was a vegetarian. (SO KIND!) I was ecstatic to be able to eat chili again!
Sure, nowadays being vegetarian or vegan isn’t so difficult; but back in 2000 or the late 90’s?
Yikes. SLIM pickin’s! There was ONE brand of soy crumbles and most people curled their nose at the mention of “vegetarian chili”. That is… until they tried it.
Over the years, I’ve converted my friends’ recipe a bit, modifying it to my changing tastes and using various protein choices – since there are now so many! This recipe is really easy to make your OWN. You can change the spice level, you can use your favorite meatless protein source and it will always turn out amazing.
Its even won “Best Vegetarian Chili” twice at work events! Even the hearty meat eaters, who swear by meat-based chili enjoy my meat-free, vegan chili. (The word “vegan” tends to scare some people off, so I sometimes say vegetarian instead. LOL)
Prepare spices first in a small dish and set aside.
1 TBSP. chili powder (or less if you want it less spicy)
1 TBSP. dried basil
1 TBSP. dried oregano
1 TBSP. ground cumin
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. Real salt
2.5 cups homemade seitan
(or other protein; I sometimes add cooked quinoa, Soyrizo is great too)
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, pressed
3 - 26.46 oz. containers of chopped Pomi tomatoes*
1 - 7 oz. can tomato paste
1-2 yellow and/or sweet bell peppers, seeds removed and chopped
2 - 15 oz. cans dark red kidney beans drained**
*I avoid using canned tomato products due to BPA lining. You can also use fresh tomatoes - 12 romas and 6 large beefsteak, diced with seeds removed, add 1 c. water to pot.
**I like to buy these BPA free or in paper containers too.
1. In a large stock pot on medium heat add chopped onions and a couple tablespoons of water. Stir well and let cook for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add pressed garlic, stir well and cook until the onions start to become transparent.
3. Add desired protein (seitan, soyrizo, soy crumbles - whatever you prefer) and stir well.
4. Add all of the spices and stir well until combined.
5. Add chopped tomatoes and stir. Add tomato paste and stir well until combined.
6. Keep on low to medium heat while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Remember to stop and stir the chili once or twice to avoid scorching or overheating on the bottom.
7. Drain and rinse kidney beans, add to pot and stir.
8. Prepare sweet peppers by removing seeds and chopping into small pieces, then add to pot and stir.
9. Let simmer for at least one hour, on low heat, stirring every 20 minutes. I set a timer after each stir, so I don't forget!
10. It freezes great and tastes even better when reheated.This is GREAT with cornbread or tortilla chips, we've topped it with everything from vegenaise, to cashew cream to Daiya Jalapeño Havarti.
Have you made this chili recipe yet? If so, comment below or rate it above! Thank you!
Looking for my other recipes featured on My Family Recipe Rocks?