plant fuel

Chick’n, Pinto and Potato Stew

I’d been contemplating something like this for a while and vaguely remember making a similar recipe when it appeared in (the now-defunct) Gourmet magazine in the early 2000s. Since I had several red potatoes on hand from a recent Foodshare stash and nothing particular in mind for them, I decided to give the old recipe a vegan makeover. Since the chick’n, pintos and potatoes make for a very filling dish, I thought it would also be great for my January comfort food series!

vegan comfort food for winter

The original called for (actual) chicken and chorizo, but I’ve substituted Tofurky Lightly Seasoned Chick’n and pinto beans. Veggie chorizo is readily available at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and elsewhere, but I didn’t want the final result to be heavy and greasy (the Tofurky chick’n is fatty enough on its own), so I went with beans instead.

As with most recipes I take the time to post here, this easy one-pot meal offers numerous nutritional benefits for vegan runners and for other plant-based athletes. Here are just a few:

Plant Protein

The Tofurky chick’n contains 23 grams of protein per 3.2 oz serving. One package only contains 2.5 of these servings, but still – along with the beans and spread out among maybe four generous meal-sized portions, you’re in good shape.

Quality carbohydrates

The protein-rich ingredients above are also a reasonably good source of carbs and fiber, as are the potatoes. “Quality” is sometimes a topic of debate, but since many runners seek out easily digestible carbs in pre-workout mode, regular potatoes will deliver on that. Plus, if you leave the skin on (as I did when making this with red potatoes), you’re adding even more fiber than the beans alone, which can help keep you feel full for longer while you get the energy benefit of the potatoes.

Immune boosters out the proverbial wazoo

Garlic and onions are alliums and provide alliin, which converts to the immune-boosting compound allicin in the body. Onions are also a source of the anti-inflammatory compound quercetin, and the bell pepper and tomatoes are high in vitamin C.

So now let me show you how it came together!


4 medium-sized red potatoes (or 2 Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes), chopped into 1″ pieces about 1/2″ thick

2 tbsp Earth Balance

1/2 large red onion, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp cumin (because YOLO!)

1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes

3 cups (about 2 cans, drained) cooked pinto beans

1 6-oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (including sauce), sliced into 1/4″ pieces

1 package Tofurky Lightly Seasoned Chick’n, coarsely chopped

1/2 small bunch cilantro, finely chopped

Additional salt and pepper to taste (optional; I didn’t need any more!)


Place the chopped potatoes in a 6 quart or larger pot and cover with water. Add salt, bring to a boil, and boil until fork-tender. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a wide-bottomed soup pot, heat Earth Balance over medium heat.

Add onions, stir, cover (to trap steam and ensure even cooking) and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.


Add bell pepper and garlic. Stir, cover and cook for another 3 minutes.


Add crushed tomatoes, chipotles with sauce and cooked potatoes. Cover and simmer until hot (or bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium or medium-low).


Add remaining ingredients and simmer until heated through.


Turn off heat and leave for a few minutes.

Ladle into bowls and enjoy!


What’s your favorite comfort food? Do you have one that you would like to be able to veganize but need suggestions for ingredient substitutions? Let me in know in the comments and I’ll be happy to help!



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