In case we weren't sure, mother nature reminded us with a swift kick that it is still winter for a couple more weeks. So warm up with a batch of hearty vegan winter chili.
This vegan chili even satisfies my carnivore husband. If you use enough of the right blend of spices, and bloom those fully in oil, your meat lovers will get the same unctuous flavor they expect from traditional chili. However, I also have a trick for making both a beef chili and meatless batch at the same time. Just cook the beef in a separate skillet with spices, while making the vegan chili in a large pot. Once all vegan ingredients are added to the pot, remove a few cupfuls and add to the beef in its separate skillet. Continue cooking both over low heat until the vegetables are cooked through.
The recipe below is for my Vegan Winter Chili. In late summer I will exchange the sweet potatoes and perhaps the carrots for bell peppers of various colors, zucchini and yellow summer squash. My summer chili also utilizes very ripe fresh tomatoes instead of or in combination with canned. Now I'm anxious for August and you can expect a Vegan Summer Chili recipe from me then.
Before the recipe, here are some tips.
What you need:
Note: In this recipe post, I have not provided a photo of all of the ingredients. I even hesitate to give you an ingredients list for this and other stews and soups because the quantities and specific ingredients listed below are merely suggestions. Add more of the ingredients you love, less of those you just want a taste of and add as much liquid to get the consistency you desire. Personally, I add a lot more heat than most, but this recipe as written is at a moderate heat level.
Yield: Makes about 10 cups, or 6-8 servings
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large red onion, diced
sea salt or kosher salt
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili flakes
~5 cups home-cooked or canned, drained and rinsed, beans. My favorite is a combination of black beans and cranberry or pinto beans.
1 28oz can diced tomatoes, liquid included
2 large carrots, small dice
1-2 cups water
1 medium sweet potato, small dice
1-2 jalapeños, sliced, optional
What you do:
Heat a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add oil.
When the oil is shimmering, add the onion and a pinch of salt.
Once the onion has softened, add the garlic and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often for about 1 minute, careful not to burn.
Add the spices and a little more oil if pot is dry. Stir into a paste and cook for 30 - 60 seconds.
Add the beans, tomatoes, carrots and ~1 cup of water. I usually rinse the tomato can and use this water to get all of the tomato into the chili. I learned that trick from my mom, who I've watched make Italian tomato sauce for nearly 4 decades now.
Once the carrots are partially cooked (about 15 minutes), add the sweet potatoes and jalapeños, if using. Add water if needed. Cook on medium low, until carrots and sweet potatoes are tender, (about 1 hour) partially covered. You can simmer on lowest setting for an additional 2-3 hours to further reduce and develop flavors. If you need to continue simmering when chili is already fully reduced, keep on lowest setting and cover with a tight fitting lid. You can also add more water at this point if needed.