Hello! How goes?
Fun fact: I actually had a college professor semi-yell at me for saying “how goes.”
Today’s recipe has me all kinds of happy. Because this is the absolute pinnacle of comfort food in my book.
My mom made chili quite a bit when I was a kid. Whenever the weather would turn bitterly cold, there was absolutely nothing like bellying up to the table with a giant bowl of chili. Seriously, no food reminds me of my childhood more than chili.
Okay, except for maybe Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch. But we’re gonna keep that on the DL.
ANYWAY when my good friend Kahlianne invited Mark and me to a chili cook-off a few weeks ago, you better believe that I jumped at the chance to veganize my childhood fave for a group of meat-eaters.
Mine was the only vegan/plant-based chili of the bunch, but I was totally delighted at reviews it was getting. It totally stood up to the meaty varieties, and I couldn’t have been more proud.
Seriously, I felt like a mom sending her kid off to school for the first time. Tears were shed. Speeches were given. It was a thing.
…but seriously, I couldn’t be more excited about how this chili turned out, and I just know you’re going to go crazy over it too!
So, this chili is easy. Like really easy. And that’s because it’s a bit more…minimalistic than other vegan chili recipes I’ve seen around the interwebs. You know I love my veggies, but my mom never added any to her chili, so I didn’t either. But go ahead and add some if you’d like! I’m thinking that peppers, onion, and garlic would be di-vine in this chili.
Also! Instead of the typical ground beef in Mama Fooduzzi’s chili, I’m using a variation of my fave Lentil Pecan Taco Meat / Vegan Meat Sauce Meat. This stuff. I love it so much. It’s soft and chewy from the lentils, and the pecans give it a nice meaty texture. Plus, once you add in some baked beans, it’s like a protein bomb in there. SO much plant-based protein goodness.
The sauce? My mom uses pureed tomatoes, but I picked up a can of marinara and used that instead. I loved the extra herbs and spices it gave the chili, and it also gave the chili a nice sweetness that was balanced with our spices. That sweet + heat thing…?
Speaking of, what would chili be without spices?! I tried to keep it to a minimum, so we’re using just the staples: chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne. Oh, and hot sauce. Because when I was a kid, I’d dump about a cup of hot sauce into each of my bowls of chili. We’re not using a cup here, just 2 Tbsp., but it’s enough to give the chili a nice bite.
Nothing is as comforting as mom’s chili. And now that it’s vegan, I can have it any time my heart desired.
I hope you give this one a try, friends. So. Much. Yum.
Mom's Homemade Chili Made Vegan
|Prep:||Cook:||Yield: serves 3-5 people||Total:|
A simple vegan chili made with wholesome ingredients. It's sweet, spicy, and smoky, and perfect for a cold winter day!
- For the Lentil Pecan "Meat":
- 1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed, picked, and cooked according to package instructions*
- 1/2 cup pecan pieces
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- salt + pepper
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- For the chili:
- 30 oz. vegetarian/vegan baked beans (I like Trader Joe's)
- 28 oz. marinara sauce or tomato puree**
- 3 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne (optional, for a kick)
- 2 Tbsp. hot sauce*** (more or less to taste)
- salt + pepper
- for topping: parsley, green onion, (vegan) sour cream, hot sauce
- For the Lentil Pecan Meat: Add cooked lentils and pecan pieces to a food processor. Add chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and pulse until the mixture is slightly broken down and resembles ground beef.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, "meat" mixture, and sauté until slightly crispy, 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
- For the chili: Add baked beans and marinara to a large pot over medium heat. Add chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne (optional), hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine. Allow to come up to a simmer, stirring occasionally, then add your "meat." Mix to combine. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Portion into bowls, and then top with parsley, green onion, (vegan) sour cream, and/or hot sauce.
*I like undercooking my lentils by a few minutes, just so they have a bit of bite left in them. They'll continue cooking in the hot chili.
**If your marinara sauce is chunky, you can blend it to be smooth. Using marinara sauce will result in a sweeter chili - I love it this way because it's a perfect combo of sweet + heat.
***I tested this recipe with Frank's Red Hot, which I highly recommend. Use whatever kind of hot sauce you like, just taste along the way to make sure you're adding the right amount for your tastebuds.
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