Over the last few years Carl and I have experimented with our vegan chili technique. We started our experimentation by sampling complicated recipes that simmer all day, however the results were always darker and murkier than what we were hoping for.
Then we circled back to the chilis of both of our mothers. When he was growing up, his mother won a chili cook-off with a fresh, barely cooked version with canned ingredients. My mom likewise has always made a killer “frito soup” with canned beans, tomatoes, and black olives to serve garnished with corn chips, like the soupy version of a frito boat. We combined both techniques, added impossible meat, a little fresh green chili and a few other layers of spiciness like white pepper, and finally we landed on what we like.
Feel free to adjust the chilis for your level of heat. Also note that the black olives are optional, but for me they are a treat.
our vegan chili
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion (or half of a large onion), chopped
2 serrano or jalapeno chilis, deseeded and minced
1/2 teaspoon MSG (optional)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried red chili powder (such as Gochugaru or Aleppo pepper)
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounce package of Impossible or Beyond vegan meat
3 tablespoons taco seasoning (I use Trader Joe’s brand)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
16 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
16 ounces canned black beans (drained)
16 ounces canned white beans (drained)
16 ounces canned pinto beans (not drained)
4 – 16 ounces black olives, whole or sliced (optional)
1-2 cups water
salt to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Tajin (chili lime salt)
lime wedges, corn chips, additional olives
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the chopped onion and green chilis. After one minute, add the MSG (optional), white pepper, and dried red chili powder. Sauté a few minutes.
Add the garlic and impossible meat. Use a wooden spoon to break up the impossible meat. Add the taco seasoning and sauté 2-5 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and canned tomatoes. Drain the canned white and black beans and add to the pot. Add the pinto beans along with their canning liquid. Drain the olives. Keep whole or or slice to your liking, then add them to the pot. Add the sugar and Tajin. Add about 1-2 cups water to cover and stir to combine. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer about an hour, stirring occasionally. Add more water if needed.
Season with salt to taste. Garnish with lime wedges, corn chips, and/or additional black olives.