Usually when I announce I’m making “vegan so-and-so,” I’m met with a chorus of groans and eyerolls. Imagine the Bad News Bears throwing their gloves and swearing, and you’ll kind of get the idea. What can I say, I’m surrounded by some cheese-loving carnivores. Naturally, when I decided I wanted to perfect a vegan/vegetarian chili, I was met with the anticipated Bad News Bears response: how do you make a meatless chili when, like, the main component is meat?, they said. IT’S A MEAT DISH, TYLER! GIVE ME THE MEATY GOODNESS.
Au contraire, my meaty little buddies. I’m about to blow your minds.
Why Chili Doesn’t Need Beefy/Porky/Meaty Goodness
First, the meat substitute industry has come a looooong way in the last decade. Like, to the moon and back long way. It ain’t just tofu or bust anymore. I found my vegan-veg chili savior in Beyond Meat’s Beyond Beef Feisty Crumble. Too often, I get excited about a meat substitute to open the package and see something that looks like a prop from Alien, but with God as my witness, IT EVEN LOOKS LIKE GROUND BEEF PEBBLES.
(You’d think this was being spon’d by Beyond Meat, but no. I’m just a Beyond Beef Bee-liever. Also, I suck)
Second, a plethora of beans and vegetables exist to fill in the blanks. Black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, navy beans (I’m imagining myself as the Bubba of Beans). And my goodness, mushrooms are God’s gift to the non-meatys. Mushrooms, sweet potatoes, all kinds of peppers … really, it’s all up to you.
Last, you can add some kind of filler. I used quinoa, and it came out bomb. Even my meat-loving omnivore boyfriend thought it was good.
The Breakdown of Your New Favorite Vegan Chili
I ain’t gonna lie to y’all. You have to do a little prep work.
Before you 86 the entire idea, hear me out. Literally, it takes about ten to fifteen minutes, and I promise, you’ll thank me for it.
- Make your very own chili spice packet. It’s seriously the easiest thing ever, and it isn’t loaded down with sodium and nastiness.
- Make your own vegan worcestershire. Cue the groaning. I know. I KNOW. It sounds daunting and uber-granola, but here’s the thing: worcestershire adds great flavoring to chili, but it ain’t vegetarian-friendly on account of the little fishys in it. I used Martha Stewart’s recipe for vegan worcestershire, and it was great. Beyond great. Plus, it uses ingredients that are already in your pantry/spice cabinet. Nothing super crazy. The recipe says simmer for twenty minutes, but I was in a hurry and did ten. I don’t think I suffered because of it.
Time to Get Down to the Chili Biz
I’ve told you why vegan chili can still be delicious. I’ve set you up with your prep work. now here’s the main event- your Vegan Black Bean Spicy Chili with Quinoa recipe.
- 2 tbs EVOO
- 2 diced jalapeños
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1.5 c. chopped mushrooms
- 1 package Beyond Meat’s Beyond Beef Feisty Crumble
- 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 14.5 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes (I like Muir Glen Organic)
- 1 can plain Rotel
- 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
- 2.5 c. vegetable broth
- ½ c. vegan Worcestershire (see recipe link in the body of the blog)
- Homemade Chili Spice Packet (see recipe link in the body of the blog)
- 1 c. dry quinoa
- Chopped green onions
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Sour cream
- Add the EVOO to a large pot over medium-high heat. Throw in the diced jalapeños and garlic. Cook for three or so minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook for another tow to three minutes.
- Add the beef crumble to the pot. Cook for approximately five minutes. Add in the both cans of beans and continue cooking for another four to five minutes, stirring regularly. At this point, your house will smell delicious.
- Add Rotel, tomato sauce, and the fire roasted tomatoes, as well as the vegetable broth and give it some stirring. Throw in your spices and your vegan Worcestershire, stir for another thirty seconds or so, and reduce heat to medium low.
- Cook for at least twenty minutes like this. You want all the solids to absorb all that gooey goodness. However, make sure you’re stirring regularly.
- With about twenty-five minutes until chow time, add the quinoa, drop the temperature to low, and cover. Let cook for twenty to twenty-five minutes.
- Remove from heat, uncover, and voila. Vegan chili.
- Garnish with chopped green onions and hot sauce, or if your vegetarian, add some shredded cheese and sour cream.
- "Stir regularly" is not a suggestion, it's a chili lifestyle. I've scorched many a chili because I'd half-heartedly stir and not get the bottom of the pot and sides. STIR!
- This is seriously so easy because anything you think you mess up is fixable. Too salty? Add a little apple cider vinegar. Too thin? Add 1/4 c. flour. Need a new spice? Try cinnamon. More veggies? Give shredded carrots, bell peppers, or sweet potatoes a try. This is just the jumping off point!
If any of y’all gives it a whirl, please let me know what you think in the comments- suggestions, complaints, additions, whatever. Anything to make it more delicious!
Happy chili-ing in this nice fall weather!