I’ve been a little reluctant to post this particular recipe, though it’s probably one I make once every week. The flavor is fantastic, it’s filling, and there’s usually a lot of leftovers. But some people have very particular…views about chili. I’ve had some people claim that vegetarian chili is an impossibility, because a chili “has to have meat.” Some people insist a chili should be tomato-y, others thing that’s blasphemy. There’s so many different ways of making what various people call chili, and this…this is mine. And it’s awesome. It’s also my go-to for holiday functions where I know there’s not going to be a lot of vegan options, what with us being a midwestern dairy farming kind of family, but everyone loves it so far, except that one cousin who refuses to eat it based solely on the fact that it’s vegan-friendly.
(Note: you can really use any kinds of beans you like, but these are just my favorites. Black beans and a can of jalepeno peppers is a good substitute for Cuban beans, too!)
1 can of chili beans
1 can of Cuban-style black beans, drained
1 can of pinto beans, drained
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 an onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
2 carrots, chopped
6 small to medium baby bella mushrooms, chopped
2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
1 cup cauliflower, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 large radish, choppped
1/4 cup frozen sweet corn
1/2 teaspoon salsa
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
(If you like a tomato-y chili, add 1/2 a small can of tomato paste. Anything more will make it really, really, really tomato-y, though!)
Seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, cumin, tumeric, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and chili powder. Lots and lots of chili powder.
1. Heat olive oil in large sauce or soup pot. Slowly add vegetables, about a minute in between, building flavor much like in the Veggie Soup recipe. Start with garlic and onions together, then add carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, radish, broccoli, celery, and corn, stirring often.
2. Stir in seasonings. This can be altered to taste, but the above list is what I use, and I’m not kidding when I say I like a lot of chili powder! That stuff is delicious and really brings the chili flavors to the table.
3. Hit the vegetables with a shot of apple cider vinegar to “deglaze” the pot, stir and simmer for about a minute or two.
4. Add Cuban black beans (or black beans and jalepenos), stir well.
5. Add chili beans, stir well
6. Add pinto beans, stir well.
7. Add salsa. I should note that I add a very small amount, because I use homemade salsa from my boyfriend’s mother, and she does not mess around with the heat! I like it hot, but one touch of this stuff makes your mouth spontaneous combust. If I’m using a milder salsa (I really like Herdez Salsa Casera), I’ll use a whole can.
8. Stir well. Season to taste. Enjoy right away or set to low heat and allow to simmer (covered, but stirring often!) to develop more complex flavors.
My stomach was definitely grumbling as I typed this up. It’s a good thing I have some in the fridge right now! It’s also great with a little bit of Daiya cheddar mixed in, and we like to crumble saltine crackers as well. I also like to use it as a dip for Frito-style corn chips. So it’s delicious, easy, and pretty versatile.