January 15, 2011

Four Alarm Vegan Chili

Looking through the posts this morning I realized I haven't posted my vegan chili here yet.  I may have, but I can't find it.  I have been making this chili recipe since 1980 when I first discovered vegetarian food could be wonderful. It was just published in The Flexitarian Cookbook, a benefit for Slow Food USA and Yoga Bear

This chili was pretty popular in the little town where we lived in the bay area, La Honda, California. I used to make it in mass quantities for the local annual Green Peace Festival and other events. I have won four chili cook offs with this recipe, the first one in the "most unusual" category, kind of like me, most unusual. It's not complicated and very colorful. It's vegetarian only because I added cheddar cheese as a garnish, but if you leave off the cheese it is a vegan recipe. It's a great source of protein and fiber as well as a good warmer on a cold day.

Vegan Chili

Vegetarian if you add cheese

Three medium onions, sliced in rings
Three Anaheim peppers, remove the seeds, slice thin
Three stalks of celery sliced thin
Two to three jalapeno peppers, depending how hot you like it, take out the seeds and slice thin
A 28 oz. can of tomatoes, diced, crushed, whole, your choice, I like the fire roasted tomatoes ( I used canned tomatoes from our garden.)
Four or five cloves of garlic, chopped, sliced, crushed, your choice
1 TBL crushed basil, (I dry basil in season and use a coffee grinder to crush the leaves)
One tablespoon Chipotle chili powder, regular chili powder is fine I have just grown to like the smoked Chipotle flavor
A dash of chili sauce, Tabasco sauce or your favorite flavor
One tablespoon apple cider vinegar
About a half teaspoon each of sea salt and pepper, or to taste
Water just enough to cover the beans

About six cups beans:

3 cups white beans, great northern or pinto beans,
3 cups black beans or kidney beans,

I am using dried beans soaked for about four or five hours, if you use canned beans, use three small cans of each color with the liquid in the can, decreasing the water you use Or, you could use six cups of one kind of bean, I like the different colors and textures myself.

3/4 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup raisins
2 TBL chopped parsley

Saute the onions, celery, and peppers until tender. Add the garlic, basil, chili powder, and salt and pepper and saute for a couple minutes more. Add the tomatoes, chili sauce and vinegar and cook for about three to five minutes. Add the beans and water and simmer on a low setting for about an hour, or until the beans are tender. If you are using canned beans, they are already cooked, so simmer for about thirty minutes instead. Add the cashews, parsley, and raisins and simmer until the cashews are tender, usually about 15-20 minutes. Garnish with some sliced green onions and grated cheddar cheese. Leave off the cheese and it's a vegan meal with no cholesterol.

Sometimes I have served it over a little Bulgar wheat in the bottom of the bowl. This adds a little more depth to the meal. I have also used a little beer in the liquid for an interesting flavor.

Everyone balks when they hear that this chili contains cashews and raisins, but they all like it when they try it. The cashews become like a sweet bean and add a nice flavor as well as some added plant protein and fiber.

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