Veggie Chili

I finally cooked something! A cold winter day and AFC/NFC playoff games inspired me to make chili.I have been making this Veggie Chili for over 10 years. Working in a bakery cafe was my first restaurant job. I started out working early mornings making and selling lattes and muffins. We made fresh muffins, scones and cakes daily (along with wood fired pizza and pasta at dinner) and had a good lunch crowd for sandwiches, soups, salads, etc.

On occasion I would get pulled into the kitchen to help bake or cook. We had a book of soup recipes that were easy to follow and tasty, however our veggie chili recipe was less than stellar. There was no “meaty” texture to it, tending to be a bit on the soupy side. After reading several cookbook on vegetarian cooking (including The New Moosewood Cookbook (Mollie Katzen’s Classic Cooking)) I started experimenting with TVP (textured vegetable protein or veggie crumbles). Adding this to a good basic chili recipe instead of ground beef and 2-3 different types of beans resulted in a great “meaty” chili. Recently I have started adding “soyrizo” to my chili (varieties can be found at health food stores as well as Trader Joes).

This can be made in a crock pot as well as stove top. If you are using a crock pot, I would suggest sautéing the vegetables first, then adding everything to the crock pot. You can set it to low for 6-8 hours or high for 4- 5. The longer this simmers the better, and it’s actually better the second day. Feel free to substitute whatever type of beans you prefer; you can also add corn instead of any of the beans. A small diced jalapeño will add nice mild heat if you like your chili spicy

Veggie Chili

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• 1 medium onion, chopped (I used a 1/2 of a red onion (leftover from a previous recipe) and a small yellow this time
• 2 stalks celery, chopped
• 1 green bell peppers, chopped (you can use red, yellow, orange, whatever your preference)
• 2 carrots, diced
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1-2 teaspoons cayenne (depending on how spicy you like your chili)
• 1/8 cup chili powder
• 2 28 ounce cans diced or crushed tomatoes
• 1 12 ounce can of Rotel (medium or mild)
• 12 ounces of water (I just refill the Rotel can)
• 1 (12 ounce) packages vegetarian burger crumbles
• 1/2 package soyrizo (about 6 ounces)
• 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
• 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
• 1 (15 ounce) can black beans

*** addition if you like, a small jalapeño for spice (diced and added to the sauté with veggies)

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, bell peppers, carrots and celery. Salt and season with bay leaves, spices, pepper (jalapeno as well if you want more spice). Cook and stir until tender. When vegetables are heated through, mix in the veggie crumbles and soyrizo. Continue cooking and stirring until the veggie crumbles and soyrizo are heated through 2-3 minutes)

**If you are using a crock pot, you would add all of the veggies, soyrizo and veggie crumbles to the crock pot along with the tomatoes and rinsed beans, stir and let simmer***

Drain and rinse the beans, add tomatoes, Rotel, water and beans Stir,let the pot come to simmer. Adjust the heat to keep the chili from bubbling over and stir occasionally for an hour to 2 hours.
The chili should reduce some and become thick. This can simmer away for a while on the stove, just make sure to stir often.

Before you serve, be sure to find and remove the bay leaves before you serve. I serve my chili over rice usually but of course you can serve it with cornbread or chips, whatever you prefer. Also you can add little sour cream and/or shredded cheese to garnish the bowl when serving.

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