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Dec 21, 2004 09:15 PM

Hearty vegetarian chile

  • c

Any suggestions for a tasty, hearty vegetarian chile?

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  1. See my previous post which outlines my nearly-vegetarian chili recipe. You can use veggie broth instead of chicken broth. I might also add diced mushrooms (button or crimini) for extra heartiness. Let it simmer longer if you like your chili more broken down. This is low fat to boot. The cocoa powder is the secret ingredient for a smoky depth of flavor.


    12 Replies
    1. re: Carb Lover

      Please call this something else other than chili. It may be delicious and nutritious, but it ain't chili. Calling anything that doesn't have meat in it 'chili' is like calling a Maserati a farm tractor.

      1. re: ChiliDude

        Oh ChileDude please give Chow Chow a break.

        I know people who feel that if it doesn't have beef it isn't chili or if it doesn't have pork it isn't chili or if it doesn't have beef and pork it isn't, or if it has beans it isn't...... some of the comments from your 'real chili' post point out that chowhounds who like chili are passionate in what is in or NOT in their chili.

        The OP did call it 'vegetarian chile' , not 'real chili'. I guess my point is though I agree that the traditional/purist form of chili has meat, it is much easier to have a common name for things that we understand are similar.

        I have friends and family who:
        1) won't eat red meat
        2) won't eat ANY meat
        3) won't eat any meat, dairy, eggs etc.

        So at my Halloween party I would have had to label the pots 1).'Chile', 2).'Beans, turkey, cumin, spices' 3). 'Tofu, beans cumin spices and fake cheese'

        1. re: AimeeP

          What do you use for 'fake cheese?' Tofu (Doufu in Mandarin) will work if you don't already use it.

          1. re: ChiliDude

            For slices I have used 'The Good Slice' and 'Follow Your Health' brands, as well as others but these are the ones I recall being better IMO - both are soy based and 'melt' more evenly than some of the other soy based cheeses. Recently I have discovered a jalapeno flavored tofu at Whole Food(sorry the brand name escapes me) which is very flavorful and not at all salty like many of the store brand flavored soy products. I have used it to stuff Poblanos along with black beans or wild mushrooms and in Mexican Lasagna as a substitute for cottage cheese or ricotta. It has a nice spice - not nearly as hot as I like it but I had a bumper crop of Habenero this year so adding heat is no problem.

        2. re: ChiliDude

          Come on, people - "not chili", my eye. It's cooking, not religion. If I want to call the following thing chili, just try and stop me.

          Actually, it's delicious. I'm on a bit of a sweet potato kick these days.

          Sweet potato and pinto bean chili
          2 tbsp. vegetable oil
          2 medium onions, chopped
          2 tbsp. Mexican chili powder
          1 tsp. ground cumin
          1 cup vegetable broth
          2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
          1 can (28-oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes
          2 cans (19-oz/540 mL each) pinto (or other) beans, drained and rinsed (or 4 cups/1 litre home-cooked beans)
          1 tsp. salt
          1 tsp. crumbled dried oregano
          1/4 tsp. cayenne (or more or less, to taste)
          1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

          Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add the onions and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the onions are soft - about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder and the cumin and cook for another minute or so. Add the vegetable broth and the cubed sweet potatoes, reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, until the potatoes are almost tender - about 10 minutes.

          Add the tomatoes with all the juice from the can, the beans, salt, oregano, and cayenne. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then let simmer until the potatoes are completely tender - about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped fresh cilantro.

          Serve with rice or corn bread and sprinkled with shredded cheese, if you like.

          Makes 6 servings.

          1. re: Nyleve

            To us chiliheads, it is a religion!

            1. re: ChiliDude

              Well I sure hope your church has a good ventilation system. I, personally, am an agnostic: don't know if there's a real chili recipe and don't care either.

          2. re: ChiliDude

            I'm with you, ChiliDude! Meat is the main item in chili, so to appropriate the name for a meatless dish violates the principles of Truth in Advertising and Respect for one's Forebears.

            Call it Mike's Marvelous Mexibeans. Call it Caliente Chili Beans. Call it Vamanos Pronto Pintos, but don't call it Chili.

            1. re: Sharuf

              ah, but chili is...named for the chili (chile) or however you want to spell it. that's why chili con carne--arguably the full name of the dish--is not redundant.

              vegetarian chili is NOT chili sin carne--that would assume meat in the chili--but it is a chili nevertheless, just a less delicious, made for the faint-at-heart variety.

              1. re: mod'ern

                Uh OH - I am not vegetarian but if my friends were to be called 'faint at heart' for being so that would turn into a VERY long argument er,um - discussion.

            2. re: ChiliDude

              Hmmm...given that I'm into all this organic, small farm stuff lately, a farm tractor sounds more exciting than the Maserati ;-)

              Point well taken, ChiliDude. I remember watching the Food Network's coverage of a chili cook-off, and I'm sure I would have been run out of town (or worse) if I tried to enter my veggie version. Chili is too boring of a name for this perfect marriage of veggies anyway...

              1. re: ChiliDude

                "Calling anything that doesn't have meat in it 'chili' is like calling a Maserati a farm tractor."

                I thought the meat dish was called chili con carne, (chili with meat). So what's the problem? This is just chili sin carne (chili without meat). In any case, it seems to be the chili that's the constant, not the meat or beans or veggies.

            3. If you can get your hands on a copy of Deborah Madison's Greens Cookbook there is a wonderful black bean chile in it. The stuff is amazing and I have fed it to carnivores who had to be shown the recipe to believe that there is no meat in it. I'm a meat eater but I have to make this occasionally, it is so good. Hmmm....we are in the middle of a snow storm. Maybe I'll make it tonight.

              1. A good trick for veggie chili is to add some pimenton--Spanish smoked paprika. It gives a rich smoky taste that gives the chili a good meaty vibe. I also like to add some soaked bulgar wheat--again, to give some sturdiness and texture, so it doesn't just taste like tomato stew. I like the black-bean chili recipe in The New Vegetarian Epicure in particular.

                1. My vegetarian "chili" uses bulgar as well as beans. The bulgar mimics the look and texture of coarse ground beef.