Winter is a great time to enjoy hot, hearty foods. A steaming bowl of chili warms you from the inside out.
The fun thing about chili is that you can play a lot with the recipe. For example, I’ve added things like a few tablespoons of peanut butter; frozen, and then sauteed tofu; sautéed tempeh; a few tablespoons of various sweeteners; extra beans for extra protein; my own frozen, roasted garden tomatoes. You can add diced carrots, potatoes, pasta, quinoa, or whatever else you can think of to add nutrients, texture and flavor.
The recipe below is my favorite chili recipe of all time. I’ve made it many times just as it appears below, but I’ve also added things to it to give it a more interesting texture or to increase its nutritional value. Feel free to play with it. Like any soup or stew, chili’s flavors integrate and deepen over time, so make sure you make enough to last a few days.
Seitan, of course, is pure gluten. If you want to make this chili gluten free, you can substitute other ingredients. Check out the suggestions below.
Chili con Seitan
from Friendly Foods by Ron Pickarski
Yield: 7 servings
Time: 30 minutes; allow an additional 3 hours to soak and cook the beans, if necessary
- 1 cup peeled and finely diced onion
- 1/2 cup finely diced celery
- 1/2 cup finely diced green bell pepper
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dark soybean miso (hatcho)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups fresh tomatoes (blanched, seeded, and chopped)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon barley malt syrup
- 1 cup (or one 15-ounce can) red kidney beans or pinto beans
- 1 cup drained and chopped seitan (You can replace the seitan with extra beans, quinoa or sautéed tempeh instead for gluten-free chili.)
In a heavy pot, sauté the onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic in the oil, along with the seasonings, over medium heat. Sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
Dissolve the miso and tomato paste in the chopped tomatoes and add to the sautéed vegetables. Add the barley malt syrup and stir well. Finally, stir in the cooked beans and chopped seitan. Cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat. Serve alone, over brown rice, or over spaghetti squash.
A word on Friendly Foods and Ron Pickarski:
Ron Pickarski is a Franciscan monk and five-star chef. He was the first vegan chef to earn medals in the Culinary Olympics. Friendly Foods includes a lot of really tasty, well-balanced recipes that are simple enough for everyday cooking. It also contains a section that includes recipes that have won medals in the Culinary Olympics. I’ve tried a number of these and they are fabulous!