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Feb 5, 2010 11:42 AM

yummy gourmet vegetarian chili

Hey Chowhounds,
We've got a chili cook-off coming up at work and although I have my own recipe and I've scoured the internet for veggie chili recipes – I'm just not all that impressed with the recipes I'm finding. Most recipes tend to be canned beans, tomatoes, peppers onions and sometime corn.

I'm wondering if there is a smoking hot chili recipe, hopefully with some depth of flavor involved.
I like smoky, earthy, and chocolatey chili.

Anyone out there have any kick ass veg-chili they would share with me?

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  1. Hmm. I think veggie chili is tough. What my husband says about stuffed vegetables applies to chili as well: the secret is meat. That said, I'd try using some ancho chilis packed in adobo and adding some coffee to your chili. Or maybe even some smoked paprika. And use some type of fat-- probably veggie oil-- fairly liberally to bring out flavor. I also like to add hominy-- it's kind of unexpected and gives a texture other than beans (unless you plan to use some sort of veggie protein, which I personally don't care for-- tvp or whatever). Fresh jalapenos, a dash or two of vinegar, pinch of sugar-- all can help bring out flavor. And use a variety of beans-- pinto, black, kidney... I never make chili by recipe so mine's a bit different every time. I think time is also your friend as far as chili goes-- making it a few days in advance so the flavors can meld. Hope this helps!

    2 Replies
      1. re: joshhead

        It's textured vegetable protein. I've used it sometimes if I crave some texture to some of my veggie dishes. I've started using red lentils or bulgur instead as a substitute for tvp in my veggie chili.

    1. I had posted a veggie chili recipe a while ago, maybe you can find it if you search.

      It's based on a Moosewood suggestion, to add bulgur wheat (reconstituted per package directions) to the chili to give you some meaty -ish bits without using TVP (though TVP crumbles are really great in chili). Let it all sit for a while for the flavors to absorb.

      garlic and onions, cumin, oregano, chili powder, chopped chipotle chili in adobo sauce, some cocoa powder. This gives all the flavour notes you want: smoky, hot, chocolatey.

      The actual amounts of the spices depends on you, but be generous. This combination of spices takes your basic list of ingredients to a whole new level.

      I start with garlic and onions, other spices, main ingredients (as you said, canned beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers sometimes diced sweet potato for a twist, whatever I have in the pantry).

      When done, garnish with cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream, whatever.

      This chili is very easy and excellent.

      1. If you want to make a basic chili recipe with fake meat, I would suggest Gimme Lean. I like to buy the tube and fry it in a saute pan, mash it up with a fork and add generous amounts of salt, pepper, cayenne & garlic. Cook it really brown to give it good texture.

        Another trick that I think makes chili delish it food processing veggies, onion, celery (leaves and all) and carrots. I puree it and add it to the meat or fake meat when it almost brown.

        For the chocolatey taste you could simmer it in a chocolate stout beer, simmer about 15 mins before adding all the other ingrediants. or really add some dark chocolate, but I think the stout gives it a better punch.

        As far as beans go, I add whatever I have in my pantry, my favs are light, dark and white kidney beans. Sometimes I add pinto, black beans or black eye peas, I always add dark kidney beans no matter what.

        Also if it seems to be too thin, mix up a little flour and warm water and pour into chili to thicken, make sure you get all the lumps before pouring in the chili.

        1. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
          1 red or white onion, finely chopped
          1 red or orange bell pepper, finely chopped
          1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
          2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
          1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
          2 teaspoons chili powder
          1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds, seeded, peeled and chunked
          Tempeh, sliced and/or crumbled... as much as you'd like (i use 2-3 packages)
          1/4 - 1/2 cup TVP, depending upon how much tempeh you use
          One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juices
          1 cup light beer, such as pilsner
          1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
          1 teaspoon brown sugar
          15.5-ounce can black beans, drained
          Juice of 2 limes (about 3 tablespoons), plus 1 lime cut into wedges, for serving
          Sour cream or plain yogurt, for serving

          heat oil over medium-high heat, then saute oil til softened (5 minutes or so). add pepper, jalapeno, spices, garlic, squash, tempeh, tvp, tomatoes, beer, cocoa, brown sugar and simmer for 20-30 min til squash is fork tender. add beans and lime juice, then simmer for 5-10 min longer. serve garnished with lime wedges, cilantro and sour cream.

          1. You might want to use some Soyrizo. Made with soy but all the spices of chorizo--I can't tell the difference except this one is not greasy.