We have had some health challenges in our household and have decided to eat a plant-based diet whenever possible. This has not been an easy feat for us, and it has forced me to learn a new style of cooking and educate myself about cleaner eating. We are not going to become purists, so I will still share my favorite non-vegan recipes, but since I have been experimenting with vegan recipes, I thought I would share one of our favorites.
My introduction to vegan cooking began a few years ago when I edited a book for a vegan cookbook author. This project taught me a lot about the vegan lifestyle; however, the recipes didn’t mimic foods my family is accustomed to eating. My husband is pretty particular about what he eats; so to make the transition to a plant-based diet easier, I have worked hard to prepare vegan versions of the foods he loves, one of which is chili. Let’s face it, there is nothing more comforting on cold, winter nights than a steaming bowl of hot, spicy chili. I have made this recipe several times and tweaked it until my husband gave it a 10. If you are looking for a good vegan chili recipe, you will love this one.
I have learned that following a vegan diet involves more than eliminating meat, seafood, dairy, and eggs from the foods we eat. It is also important to eat organically grown food and avoid preservatives. To be certified organic by the USDA, food crops must be grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or sewage sludge. They also cannot be genetically engineered or irradiated. I have become accustomed to looking for the Certified Organic label on food that I buy. If reading food labels is confusing for you, look for the following emblem to be sure the products you are buying are organic:
With our new eating habits, I have also tried to avoid genetically modified foods. The Non-GMO Project Seal certifies products are manufactured without genetic engineering and its ingredients are not devided from genetically modified organisms. I have also started looking for the Certified Non-GMO Project Verified label on food that I purchase.
If you struggle with understanding all the latest terminology found on food products, my next book, “Grocery Shopping Secrets”, contains a whole chapter on “Understanding Food Labels”. It will be available early 2023 and contains grocery-insider secrets on stretching your food dollars and buying the freshest perishable products available.
Vegan Chili Serves 6
Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you. This recipe can be prepped in about 30 minutes. Most vegan chili recipes include black beans. My husband is not a fan of black beans; but if you are, substitute black beans for any of the three I have listed in the recipe. If you are a purist, you can purchase vegan Worcestershire sauce. I haven’t found an organic version of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but we love the spice it adds. If you don’t have red quinoa in your pantry, you can use white. I prefer using red as it is chewier and richer in flavor than white. 2 (28-ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, divided 1 to 2 carrots, peeled and chopped 1 cup parsley leaves, loosely packed 2 tablespoons Worcestershire® sauce 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced 2 tablespoons adobo sauce 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 white onion, diced 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced 1 (15-ounces) can crushed tomatoes 1 (15-ounces) can Great Northern or white chili beans, drained 1 (15-ounces) can kidney beans in chili sauce 1 (15-ounces) can pinto beans in chili sauce 1 tablespoon chili powder 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 ½ teaspoons salt ½ teaspoon large grind black pepper ½ cup red quinoa
For garnish: Chopped avocado Chopped cilantro Pickled jalapeño slices Lemon or lime wedges
In a blender, place 1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, carrot, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, chipotle chilis, and adobo sauce and purée until blended. In a large kettle, place olive oil over a medium high heat. Add onion and green bell pepper and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, or until tender. Add the blended tomato mixture to the kettle and stir to combine. Add the second can of fire-roasted tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, Great Northern, kidney, and pinto beans, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
While chili is simmering, cook quinoa according to package directions and add to chili. Simmer chili for an additional 5 to 10 minutes after quinoa is added. Garnish with avocado, cilantro, jalapeño slices, and lemon or lime wedges.
Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Insider Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at CarolAnn@CarolAnnKates.com and explore her website, www.CarolAnnKates.com.
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