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lazy vegetarians are everywhere. this is a collection of easy recipes and tips for dining out for vegetarians with little time or effort.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Chili is better for you when it's vegan.

Chili is not really a health food in most people's eyes. A vegan version takes out a lot of the fat and cholesterol and, when done right, can leave you with just as much flavor.
This particular recipe has satisfied many a meat-eater in the past. Several calling me a liar when I tell them it's vegan.
One of the easiest ways to prepare vegan chili is to start with a packaged base and make it your own.
I use Fantastic Foods vegetarian chili mix as a starter. Just prepare it as the box tells you.
The instructions call for two cans of beans, a can of diced tomatoes, and some water. it's very easy.
Adding extra spices is always a part of my cooking. The chili gets extra garlic, crushed red pepper, chili pepper, salt, onion powder, Cajun seasoning, Old Bay, pretty much anything sitting around the kitchen.
Also dumped in are usually an extra can of beans (usually a variety rather than just three cans of kidney beans), peas, corn, some fresh peppers, extra meat substitutes (Morningstar makes frozen steak strips that add a great texture to the chili), fresh tomatoes. Again, mostly anything I find hanging around the kitchen.
Every batch of chili can and should be different from the last. Get creative.
Slow cooking it after you are done the box directions and all the other additions gives it a chance to blend the flavors more and give it a more consistent flavor throughout. If you have a crock pot, that works great, but if not just a stock pot with low heat works just fine.
My cooking style calls for the informal method of just letting it heat for as long as you feel like it or have time for.
Serve it over rice or with some nice crusty bread to dip in it. Shredded cheese (or vegan substitute) also adds an extra dimension to the dish, so give that a shot too.

JB's Easy Vegan Chili:
Fantastic Foods Vegetarian Chili mix
3 cans of beans (I usually go with 1 kidney, 1 pinto and 1 black, but any combo will work)
1 can of peas (frozen or fresh work well, but cook them first to soften them)
1 can corn (same thing here)
1-2 cans of diced or stewed tomatoes
1 bag of Morningstar Farms steak strips (the chicken ones work well too for a different taste)
Fresh hot peppers to desired taste (jalapeno or habanero are good for some kick)

Spices: All added without measuring because it is chili, just use some common sense
Garlic (minced or powder)
Salt
Onion powder
Old Bay or Cajun seasoning
Chili powder
Crushed red pepper
Hot sauce

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