Homemade Vegan Chili

Now that Allysia and I are starting to get settled into our new Toronto life (Allysia: And we have a place to live now…yusss!), we are finally able to start spending some time being creative in the kitchen again.  There have been a few dals, lots of soups, some sammiches, and lots of delicious greens.  We have been eating a lot of what you could call ‘ethnic foods’, but this time I wanted something from my past.  Something comforting,  something really hearty.  I wanted to make chili.

Truth be told, I’m not entirely sure I have ever made homemade chili before now, which seems sort of odd.  Luckily I don’t think whipping up a batch of homemade chili really requires a recipe, so what follows is my seat-of-the-pants last-minute chili creation – feel free to modify it to your hearts’ content.

Homemade Vegan Chili
makes four servings


3/4 cup dried kidney beans (or 1 1/2 cups canned)
3/4 cup dried white beans (or 1 1/2 cups canned)
1 1/2 cups dried TVP chunks
3 cups veggie broth or lightly salted water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
28 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground thyme
1/2 tablespoon ground chipotle
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice (or lime)

1. If using dried beans, soak them overnight separately.  After the soaking, boil them until tender. Different beans have different cooking times so use separate pots.
2. Bring the veggie broth or salted water to a boil and add the TVP to rehydrate.  Remove from heat and let stand for about 20 minutes.
3. In a large pot, heat the olive oil and stir in the onion.  Sauté for about seven minutes, then add the garlic and zucchini.  Sauté for two more minutes before stirring in the brown sugar.
4. Add the can of tomatoes (including the liquid from the can) and reduce, partially covered, for 30 or so minutes.
5. Add the cooked beans, TVP, and all spices (except lemon juice).  Stir and continue cooking for another 10-20 minutes for the flavours to combine.
6. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.  Serve with vegan sour cream, cheese, and diced chives.

For the most part the recipe was just created on-the-go.  A little of this, a little of that.  I looked at the spice rack and tried to figure out what sounded good.  I love the smoky heat of chipotle peppers and a little extra cumin never hurt anyone.  The mix of beans worked well, but really you could use any beans you like.  Obviously the TVP is optional, but I do feel like the extra meaty-ness does help the recipe.  You could easily sub it out for some tofu, chickpeas, or anything, really.
Life has been pretty busy here around the Real Meal headquarters, but with a little luck everything should start to “slow down” and become “less crazy” soon.  Ha.  Yeah right.

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  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/03361314949001991348 Megan Clarke

    Yay for not being homeless! Does this mean crazy adventure photos are soon to come now that things are less stressful? 🙂

    All chilis should be winged (wung?), they're totally a throw a bunch of crap into a pot kinda meal. The beanier the better. That spice combo you used sounds right up my alley, ground chipotle is the bomb.

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/08901767751926870086 veganmiam.com

    Congratulations with the new Toronto life! I knew a couple who also moved back to Toronto, I think it was the couple who ran Vegan Bloggers Unite (VBU). Your homemade vegan chili sounds great, we also made a vegan chili, too 🙂 which is great with vegan nachos, too, and also one of the best comforting ethnic foods! I love white beans, I have never used them in my chili, but thanks for the idea! Now the last photo is one gorgeous dish, especially with the visible zucchini.

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/15887621874869110597 Kari

    You know, I'm not sure I've made 'proper' chilli either (as opposed to a more random dish based around kidney beans and tomatoes). This looks great!

  • https://www.blogger.com/profile/03250024810275821678 janet @ the taste space

    Here's to the ethnic eats! I loved how accessible it was in Toronto. 🙂