Not to brag or anything, but I’m kind of a rockstar when it comes to vegetarian cooking. (Except for those unfortunate tofu nuggets.) I’ve had 20+ years of practice, after all. Too bad this skill is entirely wasted on my family, which consists of 3 carnivores and 2 small pickytarians. Lucky for my ego, though, I often cook for friends and neighbors who actually appreciate my healthful, meat-free cuisine. So there, kids!
This is one of those recipes people frequently request. It’s a slight variation of the Very Vegetarian Chili from one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, Desperation Dinners. It’s such a hearty, satisfying chili, no one misses the meat. Better yet, it comes together quickly (20 min!) and it’s flexible enough that you can use whatever veggies and beans you have on hand. Just be sure to use mushrooms, because those are key.
You may not like this recipe if you’re a culinary snob who doesn’t believe in shortcuts like frozen chopped onions and prefers to let your chili simmer for hours, but in that case I have to ask: why are you reading this blog?! You should be harvesting your own organic quinoa with Gwyneth, not getting recipes from a frazzled mom whose other go-to meal is frozen pizza! Anyway, here it is:
The Best (and Quickest!) Vegetarian Chili on the Planet
1 tsp. olive oil
1 cup already sliced mushrooms (or about 2 large Portobello caps, chopped)
1 cup already shredded carrots
1 cup chopped onion (I use the frozen, pre-chopped kind. I HATE cutting onions!)
1 cup chopped green pepper (or zucchini)
1 cup frozen corn (optional)
1 tsp. bottled minced garlic, or 2 large cloves of fresh garlic
2 cans (15 oz.) beans (kidney, black, or even garbanzos)
1 cup Morningstar Farms Grillers’ Recipe Crumbles
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 cans (15 oz.) diced tomatoes
1/3 cup wine, red or white (plus a glass to drink while you’re cooking!)
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper and/or hot sauce to taste
Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add mushrooms and carrots, then add onions, bell peppers, and any other veggies you’re using. Add the garlic. Stir and cook the veggies until tender, about 5 min.
Rinse and drain the beans. Add to the pot along with the tomatoes, spices, wine and Worcestershire. Stir in the recipe crumbles, aka “fake ground beef.” Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer till you’re ready to serve. Add salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste.
I always serve this chili with grated Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and avocados on top. My kids actually eat it if I load it up with enough cheese and let them scoop it up with tortilla chips. Whatever works!
LINK O’ THE DAY: For more of my favorite meat-free recipes, check on my Pinterest recipe board.