This chili knocks it out of the park. I know that perhaps that doesn’t sound very humble or modest… but this recipe will transform your views on vegan entrees- if you’re still skeptical, that is. It’s one of the heartiest, most delicious bowls of comfort food you could ever bring a spoon to. It sure isn’t lacking on protein, either. It comes with a generous amount of chickpeas and red & black beans that will add fiber & plant-based protein to your meal. The sauce is entirely homemade; think red, creamy, tomato chunks & uber flavorful goodness. As if this is not enough yumminess to entice you to give this recipe a go, I added pesto coated mushrooms. The combination of all these elements make for a seriously good chili. And yes, you’ll be seriously obsessed. Like the person penning this entry.
I love to make this on the weekend, and then freeze the other half to eat sometime during the middle of the week again. This is also great for taking to work & you could also freeze it in smaller, reusable containers to have your servings portion-ready. Meal planning is different for everybody. But if you aren’t into meal planning or cooking ahead of time, this recipe is a great place to start. It has a longer than average cook time, should I say (simmering) time, but that’s what packs in the flavor. Bonus: you can always prepare other dishes for the week ahead while this simmers away on your stove top.
I first got into meticulous meal planning when I became a first-time mom exactly 5 years ago. I also went back to full-time work when my son was only 5 months old. I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to manage at home after picking up my son past 6:00 pm every day. Meal planning became a necessity & I would cook large batches of food on Sunday night to take me from Monday through Thursday. Friday was always or take-out day, and I was really out of groceries by then, too. So I would arrive home with a baby in my arms at around 06:30 pm every night, kick off my shoes, & play with Ethan while my ready-made meal warmed up. By the time my husband got home, the baby was fed & happy and there was food waiting for us on the table…Magic tricks. Or kitchen hacks. Or a little bit of both. This chili was always a big hit in our household, I’ve since modified the recipe to turn it into a vegetarian entree. If you enjoy your chili with meat, simply add 1 pound of grass fed minced beef, minced chicken or turkey. They all work wonderfully well this recipe, too.
Delicious Protein-Packed Vegetarian Chili
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 cup of carrots, diced
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled & finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp of oregano
- 1 tbsp of chili powder
- 1/2 tbsp red pepper flakes (optional, only if you like it spicy)
- 2 jalapeno peppers, finely chopped (optional, only if you like it spicy)
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 medium can of organic black beans, drained
- 1 medium can of organic red beans, drained
- 1 large can of organic chickpeas, drained
- 1 small can of pure tomato paste
- 1 large can of organic diced tomatoes (28 ounces)
- sea salt & ground pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup (to offset acidity rather than white sugar)
- 1 package of fresh mushrooms (crimini or portobello work well)
- 1 tbsp of tamari sauce
- 1.5 cups of water or organic vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp of organic pesto ( I have an awesome pesto recipe on the blog, search “pesto”)
- In a large stock pot, add the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the diced onions, carrots, bell peppers & stir.
- When the onion has softened, add the garlic. Why add the garlic last? To keep it from burning. Burnt garlic would be felt everywhere. (If you’re going to add any type of meat- now’s the time).
- Add the canned beans & chickpeas & mix in with the veggies.
- Add the spices: chili powder, cumin, oregano, & paprika. I also like to add some basil leaves, if handy. Give it a good stir.
- Add the canned tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, the canned organic diced tomatoes & the 1.5 cups of water or organic vegetable stock. Stir well to incorporate & cover with a lid. Lower the heat and allow it to begin a slow simmer. I let it simmer for about 1 hour 15 mins. This brings out all the flavors.
- In a separate sauce pan, over medium to high heat add 1 tbsp of olive oil. When the oil is hot throw in the mushrooms of your choice. Add 1 tbsp of tamari sauce (which unlike soy sauce, is naturally gluten free).
- Cook for about 8 minutes. When the mushrooms are almost done, add 1 tbsp of good quality pesto, mix well and lower the heat. I like to add the pesto coated mushrooms to the bowls as a topper right before serving.
- Fresh cilantro
- Sliced avocado
- Micro greens
- Cashew cream
- Green onions
- Grass-fed cheese
This yields a nice, thick chili. If you prefer a more soup-like consistency, simply add 1 more cup of water or vegetable stock.