Get Down with Your Veggie Chili-Making Self

Tried it?      Yes

Liked it?      Yes

I love whipping up this vegetarian chili whenever I’m feeling lazy, but I want to make people think I put  lot of effort into a meal. Not only can I get creative with the ingredients (including the kind of TVP I use), but I usually also end up with enough to spread over multiple meals. I can add rice to the leftovers, put them in a wrap, stick them in a bun and call them sloppy joes… the world is my oyster. And I’d like to share this metaphorical oyster with you.

Because this is kind of a freestyle recipe, you can put your own spin on it and take full credit for its success…

Vegan Warning: None. Unless you use non-vegan ingredients. I use Worcestershire sauce for flavour and colour—but that’s just me. Don’t be like me. Explore your own chili path.

Freestyle Chili Base
2 cups TVP (granulated for old-school chili, chunky if you’re funky)
1 796 mL can tomatoes (I prefer diced, but who am I to tell you what to do)
1 540 mL can beans, drained and rinsed (kidney if you’re a purist, but use your imagination)
Optional Ingredients
Olive oil (if you’re sautéing stuff first)
Onions, celery, peppers, carrots—whatever veg you want (or none at all—it’s up to you!)
Tomato juice or V8 (if you like wet chili)
Sauté onions/garlic first (if you want) in a big old pot. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add TVP and stir until liquid is absorbed. If you want it drier, add more TVP; if you like it wetter, add tomato juice. Add vegetables and spices/condiments. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are cooked to your liking. Add beans and cook until heated through.

Personally, I sauté a red onion, yellow onion, and some garlic in a bit of olive oil in the pot before I add a can of herbed, diced tomatoes. I use Worcestershire and chipotle sauce for colour and spice, and I add some chopped celery when I add a can of bean medley near the end so neither get too soft. If I’m feeling particularly colourful, I’ll chuck in some yellow and orange pepper or some chopped spinach. Honestly, though, you shouldn’t listen to me—this is a guideline, not a recipe.

Now, go forth on your own chili-making journey, returning only to share your own tales of victory. If you can fool a carnivore, all the better!

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