Though I still crave that warm comforting bowl of normalcy, my budget no longer craves it, and my body no longer wants the bloat and crack-habit-like cravings that come with cheese consumption for me. Holy Schnizzle. I can't believe what I have just done. Now, I have made my fair share of chili beans. In fact, every year I host a chili cook off at work because I just can't get enough. I come by it honest, since growing up it was one of our favorite meals. My mom is one heck of a comfort food cook. I don't think there is much that is more comforting than her french toast, her spaghetti sauce, or her chili. But when it comes to veggie chili, there is always something a little lackluster about it. My last couple batches were filling, satisfying and just okay. Tonight something incredible happened. I found a secret ingredient. I don't care who you are- even Ron Burgundy or Ron Swanson would love this meatless chili. I created a monster.
Trust me on this one and give this one a go.
|I'm obviously all about the toppings.|
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 can dark red kidney beans
1/2 can black beans
4 or 5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 small can green chilies
1/2 package meatless crumbles (or whole if you like it meaty)
1 15 oz can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1/8 cup chili powder
2 Tbsp cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp paprika
2 Tbsp tahini
1/4 cup organic ketchup
3 good dashes hot sauce
Juice of one lime
1/3 cup Tofutti Sour Supreme, or organic sour cream
1 small handful fresh cilantro
Toppings (Optional, but why wouldn't you)
Chopped fresh green onion or sweet onion
Fresh avocado slices or guacamole
Shredded organic cheese or vegan cheese
In a heavy bottomed pot on medium heat, saute chopped onion and garlic in the olive oil until slightly translucent. Add in meat crumbles and continue to cook for a few minutes. Add in chili powder and cumin. If you have homemade chili powder, please do use that. Continue to stir a few minutes and add in the canned green chilies. It should look pretty messy right now. Like this:
I didn't have any tomato paste, so I added in ketchup at this point. I actually really loved the sweetness it added to the smoky combo at this juncture. Then I dumped in one of my secret weapons, the can of fire roasted organic tomatoes I picked up last week. I don't use these often because they are more expensive, but in a smoky and flavorful dish like this it was totally worth it. Drain and rinse your beans and add them to the mixture. I used only a half can of black beans because I used the other half at lunch for a burrito. Add your cocoa powder. It won't make your beans taste chocolaty, I promise. It just plays off the chili powder to add more depth of flavor, which is what you want in chili.
Enter the next secret ingredient and the odd one: tamari. Tamari is just sesame seeds ground up into a tasty paste. I never cooked with it until this past month, and I'm amazed at the incredible flavor it can impart to so many dishes. When I opened the fridge to put the ketchup back, the tamari caught my eye. Would it's earthy flavor and rich texture beef up this beefless mixture? It was a dangerous thought, but I live on the edge so I added in a tablespoon. I tasted it... HARK! One more tablespoon... SWEET LITTLE OLD LADY! I don't think I'll ever go back to making veggie chili without it.
To make the crema, simply combine the lime juice, cilantro and sour cream (or Tofutti) in a small blender (I used my Magic Bullet that I adore) until cilantro is roughly chopped and all ingredients are incorporated. Use as a condiment to top your chili. I could only wait about a half hour to let it simmer and dug in after piling the toppings on high. Check out this meaty texture!
I can't wait to eat it for lunch tomorrow in a burrito! Leftover chili is even better the day after. Do you ever get in a lunch rut? Is it weird that I liked to eat literally the same exact thing every single day for...ahem... a year??