Saturday, September 24, 2011

Vegetarian Chili

I’m not sure why, but autumn always reminds me of R.E.M. I was saddened to hear that they split up this week after 31 years together. They were one of my college favorites and a staple at the radio station where I deejayed. I saw them at Wittenberg University on the Little America Tour (in support of Reckoning), at Vets Memorial on the Fables Tour, The Taft for Life’s Rich Pageant, and at Riverfront Coliseum on the Green Tour. After that I continued to buy their albums but stopped going to see them live because I missed the intimacy of those earlier, smaller venues. It seems fitting that they would disband now that the mornings are nippier and the leaves are turning “yellow like a geisha gown.

How I remember them best

The change in the weather also signifies the start of football season. I was a member of the high school marching band, and every Friday before the game my Mom made chili for us. This is her recipe, modified for the vegetarian diet and tweaked ever so slightly over the years. It is thick, stick-to-your-ribs chili, and so tasty that even my carnivore husband goes back for seconds and thirds.

Vegetarian Chili
3 Tbs olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
4 ribs celery, diced
1 bag vegetarian or vegan crumbles (such as Boca or Morningstar Farms)
1-2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes (I use fire roasted)
2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
5-6 bay leaves
1 Tbs Sambelolek
1 tsp ground cumin
1 (15 oz) can black beans
1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans


Heat oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add onions, garlic and celery; sauté until onions are translucent.

Add crumbles and heat through.

Add diced jalapenos

Stir in tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, bay leaves, Sambelolek, and cumin. Stir well and simmer for about 20 minutes

Rinse and drain beans (aren't they pretty?)

Add beans and continue to simmer, uncovered, for another 30 minutes

Discard bay leaves and enjoy!

Note: This chili tastes even better the following day, and also freezes well.
Click for printable recipe.


Jeff said...

It's been bittersweet this week- thinking about how much their music meant to me growing up. Glad you mentioned them.

PS "Reckoning" was always my favorite.

Veggie Option said...

Reckoning is my favorite too. :)

Anonymous said...

have you ever tried "quorn" products?! i loooove them, and it is nice because they have so much more flavour than a "fake meat" product does. it is made from mycoprotein, i recommend it!

Veggie Option said...

I'm a big fan of Quorn, especially their Chik'n Tenders, but I don't care for their "beef-style" grounds, which is why I didn't recommend it in my post.