plant fuel, Uncategorized

Four Bean, Five Alarm Veggie Chili

There’s something special about being able to say that your homemade veggie chili is “award-winning,” but it so happens that my recipe won the veggie chili category at last year’s Palladium Society Chili Cookoff. (That’s me in the lower left-hand corner of the winners photo!) Would have been back to kick ass with it this year if not for other commitments…

I make this chili all the time. Like, at least once every couple of months, which is more frequently than I rotate through anything other than maybe pancakes on the weekend. (I cook a lot and have tons of recipes in my head and ideas about things that I want to make soon.)

This veggie chili is a great, filling meal for anyone, but especially for runners because:

It’s packed, PACKED, with protein. The “four bean” part of the name comes from, you guessed it, four different kinds of beans (kidney, garbanzo, black and pinto). I also add just enough Lightlife Meatless Crumbles to help soak up the liquid from the cooked veggies and add texture, and the crumbles also boost the protein content without adding fat or cholesterol. You probably wouldn’t know it wasn’t meat if someone didn’t tell you!

The protein source is also high in iron, which is made even more bio-available by the high vitamin C content of the tomatoes and bell pepper. Finally, the garlic and onion both contain alliin, which the bodily enzyme allinase converts to allicin, which is a natural anti-inflammatory and immune booster. (More on that topic here.) All of the above make this chili an especially good recovery meal after a marathon training run or other hard workout.

So, here’s how I went from inert ingredients to a big honkin’ pot of chili in less than an hour this week.

I started with these ingredients:


The first thing I always do when making chili is get either some oil or soy sauce (for umami flavor) heating in a 6 quart pot over medium heat. (If the soy sauce starts cooking down while you’re chopping, just stir in a small amount of water and it should return to normal. Also, keep the pot loosely vented to help trap steam.)

Next, I dice the onion (just used one large this time) and add that to the pan along with some minced fresh garlic.


Next is the bell pepper…


…and spices (cumin, oregano, dry cilantro and cayenne)…


Next, one large can each of crushed and petite diced tomatoes…


Give everything a good stir, cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, add 2 cans’ worth (about 3 cups) of each type of bean (canned or precooked; thaw as needed, as I did here)…


…add additional spices to taste, cover again and simmer, stirring occasionally (otherwise things will start sticking to the bottom and burning) until everything’s heated through, maybe 20 or 30 minutes.

The last step is to rake some of the meatless crumbles into the pot along with the juice of one lime…


…and, if you really want to, add a few big shakes of green habañero sauce into the pot…because YOLO!


Ideally, you will have also been making some vegan cornbread in the background, which I generally make by starting with the recipe here, making a couple of vegan substitutions and adding half a cup of sugar. (I DID grow up in the South!)


And that’s dinner plus 3 or 4 weekday lunches to pack up and take to work!


Does this look like something you could make without too much trouble (and that your family or significant other would also eat if they’re not veg)? Would you like to know some other variations on this recipe or some potential ways to re-purpose the leftovers?

Let me know in the comments!


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