Two months ago, on a regular work day as I was busy doing my work things – solving problems, prepping for meetings, making prezos and replying to emails, I read a slightly unusual email, by “unusual” I mean the subject line had nothing to do with techie things, it said — Chili Cook-off in two weeks– I quickly glanced through it and went back to doing my work, however, a few seconds later, I couldn’t help coming back to the email. I thought to myself “Hmmmm, I do enjoy a good chili, but I’ve never ever made one myself, if I participate, this will be a great way to make my first ever vegan chili”. As I pondered over the decision for a little longer, I realized that more than anything I was really excited about cooking for my colleagues and I became aware of something I’ve always enjoyed and something that has always motivated me to cook — it’s to feed near and dear ones. That’s it, I didn’t care about winning, I was really excited to try out a chili recipe (I’ll admit I was extremely confident that it would turn out great mostly because I knew chili isn’t the most complicated recipe to experiment with and because I knew I was cooking to feed others — a lot of love and joy would go in the making of that chili. :)) Anyway, long story short, I won the people’s choice award! woohoo! In fact some folks came to me and told me that they enjoyed my vegan chili way more than some of the meat chilis they tried that day.
This recipe feeds about 6 to 8 people
- 1 Tbsp organic virgin coconut oil (feel free to sub this with your choice of oil, I used this for its health benefits over some other commercially available cooking oils
- 1 medium sized onion – diced. (I used a yellow onion)
- 2 medium (not too fat) carrots – diced
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 bell pepper – diced
- 1 medium sized zucchini – diced
- 2 medium sized stalks of celery – diced
- salt to taste
- crushed black pepper to taste (optional)
- a dash/pinch of turmeric powder (optional)
- 2 tsp of ground cumin (I used toasted ground cumin but either is fine)
- Extra firm tofu or soy protein or any vegan protein you may choose to add (optional)
- 2 serrano or thai chillies (optional)
- 2 15Oz cans of light or dark kidney beans or black beans (I used dark red kidney beans and black beans)
- 1 28Oz can chopped tomatoes (I used fire roasted tomatoes to add that extra oomph! ;))
- Chopped cilantro or spring onions or chives for garnish (optional)
- 1.5 cups of water
- If not making vegan version, feel free to use shredded cheese or sour cream or greek yogurt (healthier option to sour cream) for garnish
- slice of vegan bread such as sourdough type to go with the chili (optional)
One of the many benefits of making a vegan chili (in addition to saving animals, saving environment, healthier option) is that unlike the meat version vegan chili does NOT require slow cooking for hours in a crockpot. It is very easy to make, you can easily refrigerate/freeze it and makes for a wholesome meal
- Dice all the veggies and set aside
- Coat the bottom of the pot with oil. Heat the pot over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers, then add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic, green chillies (if you went with that option) and season with salt and pepper (I usually do not add all the required salt and pepper at once, I introduce it gradually). Cook until the onions are soft.
- Drain the beans in the colander or strainer and rinse. Set aside.
- When the onions are soft, add the remaining vegetables to the pot and season again with salt and pepper. Add cumin, turmeric and chili powder. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are just starting to get tender (approximately 10 minutes).
- Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pot, along with the rinsed beans.
- Crumble the tofu (or soy protein or any other vegan protein you may choose to use – but in that case follow the cooking directions stated on the package) and add it to the pot.
- Keep stirring
- Finally, add water and bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and cover the pot. Gently simmer until the veggies are soft and the flavors have fused together and you can smell the delicious aroma of your hearty chili (about 10 minutes). Taste the chili and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Voila! Your vegan chili is ready to be shared with loved ones. Garnish it before you serve it.
Let me know if you try it out and also how it turns out if you follow this exact recipe.