As cold weather approaches, I typically begin searching for warm, satisfying dishes to cozy up with on a winter evening. One of the more obvious choices is chili, but I've had a difficult time finding a vegetable chili as filling or flavorful as I'd like. I finally found the perfect mixture of veggies and texture with this delicious recipe I put together, which was heavily modified from the home-style chili found in Betty Crocker's Easy Everyday Vegetarian (my favorite cookbook). The addition of the tofu crumbles gives the illusion of meat, and the combination of finely chopped vegetables and a blend of warm seasonings make this chili the best I've tasted since I went meat-free a few years ago. Additionally, it's easy to make, inexpensive, and yields enough to feed a group.
The Most Satisfying Vegetarian Chili I've Ever Had
1 package (12 oz) tofu crumbles
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
1 tiny sprinkle of nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cup water
1. Wash and prepare your vegetables. Chop them into very small pieces to ensure the vegetables will cook quickly and the flavors will blend well. Measure your spices into a small bowl and mix until combined. Feel free to alter the seasonings as you like, but I do recommend using the exact amount of ground clove. More would be too much, but less would deprive this recipe of the delicious, warm flavor it adds.
2. In a large pot, heat oil and add onion, bell pepper, carrots, garlic, and green chilies. Cook 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 20 minutes or until vegetables have reached the desired tenderness.
4. Serve with bread, rice, crackers, tortilla chips, shredded cheese, or all by itself considering this chili is delicious and filling on its own. Light a candle, have a cup of hot tea for dessert, and enjoy a cozy evening.
If you've been looking for that perfect chili recipe, I hope you'll give this healthy choice a try! Even if you're not usually a fan of tofu, the crumbles soak up the seasonings and the vegetable flavors to create a very hearty bowl of chili to keep you warm on blustery, winter nights. So grab your cutting board, chop up some fresh veggies, and enjoy the savory scent of this meal simmering on your stovetop.