My Dad’s family is from Texas, and down there chili competitions reign supreme… folks take their chili eating seriously. You will run across hundreds of different versions of chili using every kind of meat imaginable. So to those die-hard chili aficionados, the term “meat free chili” is an oxymoron.
It’s a struggle to transfer the deep, rich flavor of chili derived from animal flesh to plant food, but I’ve come damn close twice. The first recipe can be found in my cookbook WHY VEGAN IS THE NEW BLACK, made from fresh cooked, well seasoned black beans; it takes hours to prepare, but the flavors are fabulous, as they’re cooked deep into the beans.
In this version of my vegan chili, I’m lazy and used canned beans, along with a pre-made chili seasoning mix I whipped together (click here for chili seasoning blend recipe pictured below).
So yeah, for a Texan chili is all about the meat. However, I’ve figured out a way to take the taste of the chili I grew up eating and make it cruelty free. Using Beyond Beef’s Feisty meat-free crumbles (or TVP or beef-style seitan), a couple of cans of beans, and a bevy of spices and herbs, this kick ass recipe takes vegan chili to a whole new level of deliciousness.
Set aside about two hours to make your chili – it’s even better if left overnight and served the next day. Carnivores, omni’s and vegans alike will be licking their lips and asking what’s in this unusually fabulous meat free plant-based vegan chili recipe. Great to bring along to cookouts, or to serve to guests on game day too.
- 1 Tablespoon Better than Bouillon vegetable paste
- dissolved in 2 cups hot water
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups ground veggie meat, commercial crumbles or pre-soaked TVP
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 orange or red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 3-5 Tablespoons Deb's Chili Seasoning Mix (to taste)
- 1 32 oz can ground tomatoes
- 1 half-can of water
- 1 6 oz can tomato paste
- 1 4 oz. can diced jalapeno peppers, drained (or green chilies for milder taste)
- 1 can black beans, drained
- 1 can Great Northern beans, drained
- Additional kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and cayenne pepper as desired
- Heat oil in large pot. Saute onion, garlic, celery and bell peppers over medium-low heat until softened, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add in vegetable stock and chili seasoning mix, and bring to boil, stirring well.
- Add in remaining ingredients (except jalapenos). Rinse remaining ground tomatoes by half filling can with water; add that to the pot.
- Stir well and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour.
- Add jalapenos and continue to simmer until chili is desired consistency, stirring occasionally and adding up to ½ cup of water if needed.
- Taste and add additional salt and fresh ground pepper if desired.
- Serve with chopped green onions, vegan cheese shreds, vegan sour cream or chopped jalapeno peppers as a topping.
For more great recipes, check out WHY VEGAN IS THE NEW BLACK: More than 100 Meat and Dairy Free Meal Ideas Your Whole Family Will Love.