About 5 years ago, I veganized my mom’s chili recipe by replacing the ground beef with Yves veggie ground round. I made it like that for years, doubling the recipe, and freezing it so that there was always a warm comforting meal available at the drop of a hat.
Then I moved to Sydney, Australia, and Yves products are not available here. After some really bad experiences with vegan sausages from a local company (mushy, tasteless goo), I was too scared to risk a good batch of chili on their vegan mince meat. And honestly, even if I could find Yves products here, they’re still a processed food, which I’m really trying to avoid these days. So I knew that I had to come up with a better solution.
I tried using firm tofu at one point, and while it tasted OK, the white crumbled tofu didn’t compliment the other colors very well and it had a spongy consistency. Then one day, I happened to have dark red and black quinoa on hand, so I decided to try that. It ended-up being the perfect choice because the dark color of the quinoa really complemented the overall color of the chili. Made this way, the chili is thick and hearty – and I think that it surpasses any meat or “vegan-meat” version out there!
- I used fresh corn this time because that’s what I had on hand, but I usually use canned (and drained) corn, which works fine. Frozen corn kernels would work too.
- Feel-free to use other beans, or a combination of beans for this. I’ve used a kidney bean/chickpea combination in the past, and black beans would also be really great.
- I don’t like super-spicy foods, so feel-free to adjust the chili powder and/or add jalapeno, chipotle, etc.
- I normally serve this with diced avocado and/or vegan sour cream, but shredded cucumber is also a really light and refreshing option. Either way, a big side of tortilla chips is an absolute must for me!
- This chili freezes and reheats well, so I often double the recipe so that I have it on-hand for those cool autumn/winter nights, or to enjoy out on the patio or deck in the summer.
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well (I use red & black quinoa, but regular white quinoa is fine)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled, diced
- 1 red bell pepper (capsicum), seeded, diced
- 2 cans (400g) diced tomatoes with juices
- 2 cans (420g) kidney beans, NOT drained
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- salt & freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup corn kernels (drained if using canned)
- cilantro (fresh coriander)
- tortilla chips
- vegan sour cream
- vegan cheese
- Bring vegetable stock to boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa, stir, cover, and simmer on lowest setting until ready, about 15 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when little curls stick-out from the grains. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan or stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add celery and carrot, and saute until tender, about 3 minutes.
- Add bell pepper, tomatoes, kidney beans, chili powder, oregano and cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir-in quinoa and corn.
- Serve topped with diced avocado, tofu sour cream, cilantro (fresh coriander), and/or shredded cucumber, and with a side of corn chips or cornbread/corn muffins.
- To freeze chili, let chili cool completely and freeze in freezer-safe containers. To cook from frozen state, pop chili into an oven-safe casserole dish and COVER with a lid or aluminum foil before baking for 50 minutes at 375F/190C.