Saturday, February 23, 2008


Here's the part where I tell you all about the chili, then give you some variations, then some pictures followed by a recipe. So, yeah.

For Christmas this year, I gave my friend Roman a coupon book full of things like coupons for cupcakes, coffees, drinks out and stuff like that. I also included two coupons for cooking lessons. For one of them he wanted to learn how to make chili. So, I modified my favorite chili recipe a little bit and made it super easy to prepare. Roman isn't much of one for cooking, so even if you feel like boiling water is hard for you, you can totally do this. Though, really, most chilis are quite easy to make in the first place. The good thing about this chili is that it has a bunch of veggies in it. If you have kids or friends that think they don't like vegetables, I betcha they'll eat this and love it. And then you've shoved some much needed vitamins in their picky little faces. So there. Take that you annoying picky food people!

Now for some variations! Obviously you can add more stuff if you want. I suggest adding some chopped up jalapeno peppers. Another fun thing would be to add half black beans and half kidney beans instead of all kidney beans. Instead of adding red wine, add some beer! The dark beers are great in chili.

Personally, I prefer not to use the store-bought crumbles, but to make is easier, that's what this recipe has. Instead, why not try using some tvp or better yet - bulgur! If you use either of those, you'll want to change the way you're making the chili a little bit. Heat up some of the tomato juice until almost boiling and pour it over the tvp or bulgur. Stir, cover it and let it sit for around 10 minutes. At this point it should have soaked up most of the liquid and you'll probably have to add more. Go ahead and add this to the rest of the stuff and then you can judge better how much more liquid you'll want to add. When I make chili like this, I typically buy a large bottle of V8 and just keep adding it until it's about the consistency that I like.


Very Veggie Vegan Chili

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 bell pepper, chopped (any color is fine, but I like to use green ones)
1 teaspoon basil, dried
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon cumin
dash cayenne (add more if you like it hotter)
salt & pepper to taste
2 cans chopped tomatoes, fire roasted if you can find them (or around 3 cups fresh)
3 cups tomato juice (I like to use V8 or something similar for more veggie power!)
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 - 1/2 cup red wine, optional
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 package soy crumbles

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and saute for another 5 minutes or so. Add the bell pepper, spices and wine and saute for another 3 minutes.

Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato paste and crumbles. Stir, raise the heat a bit and bring just to a boil. Now turn the heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes, covered and stirring occasionally. You might need to add more tomato juice to thin out the chili a little bit, that's totally fine. Add as much as you need to get the consistency that you like.

Top your chili off with some soy cheese, crackers, tortilla chips, cilantro - whatever! Just enjoy it. :D

Monday, February 4, 2008

Yay Soup!

I haven't made any chili yet. I got a ton of great recipe suggestions, though. I should have mentioned that I don't want to use any meat substitutes (so no crumbles!). Sometimes I don't mind using that stuff, but lately I've been trying to steer clear of that sort of thing. I don't mind seitan and tempeh, though. Also, I have a weird aversion to chili that has corn in it. For some reason a ton of people want to put corn in their chili. I don't quite get it. I don't mind having some cornbread with your chili, but no corn inside, thank you very much.


I did, however, make the French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme from Veganomicon. Yum! I love lentil soup and for some reason I've never tried to make it myself. I haven't a clue why. I had some fresh thyme hanging out in the fridge, so I used that instead of the dry. I couldn't find any fresh tarragon or I would have used that fresh as well. Otherwise, the only thing I changed was to use a can of diced tomatoes (drained) instead of fresh tomatoes. There aren't any good tomatoes this time of year so I wasn't even going to try. Plus, using the can was much faster and I didn't end up with little tomato peels swimming in my soup. If you can get those yummy fire-roasted ones, totally use those instead of the regular. The flavor they add is freaking incredible. Their awesomeness will take you by surprise. Or, well, maybe not because I just told you how awesome they are. But, still...

I did love this soup, it was perfect for what I was wanting at the time. And it was fast and easy to make. I do think it could have stood to simmer for another 15-20 minutes, though. My lentils weren't quite as soft as I was hoping they'd be at the end of things. They weren't unedible or anything, but I like my lentils to be soft like the canned ones are.