Tuesday, October 26, 2010

EASY Vegetarian Chili: 2 Methods-Fast & Slow

Here's another easy, healthy recipe for cold weather days--my favorite recipe for use in the slowcooker (crock pot).

This recipe comes to me by way Janet Kurzynske--the mom of a my great friend, Heather. Dr. Kurzynske is a nutrionist, and a really good cook. I love this chili almost as much as I love Heather--we used to sit indian style on the floor of her kitchen with big bowls of this chili in our lap, talking about all our college drama. Maybe it will comfort you the way it comforted us.

Without the cheese, this chili is fat-free, vegan, and amazingly delicious.

We often serve this chili as a vegetarian option alongside our turkey chili in the winter when we want to do easy entertaining. Just set up a "toppings" bar with green onions, cheese, sour cream, corn, fresh tomatoes, cilantro, olives, tortilla chips, etc., and serve with cornbread. Everyone can serves themselves and go back for more.

This recipe makes a big pot and I often freeze half the recipe. You can use it later as a topping for baked potatoes, or in tamale pie, or as a dip with sour cream, cheese, and layered onions, etc. (Google "skyline chili".) For other great ideas-check out this site.


  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, chopped (optional)
  • 2 large green bell peppers, diced
  • 1 bag frozen vegetarian crumbled burger (I use the Morningstar brand)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • *2 small cans plain tomato sauce or 1 bigger can (small cans are about 8 oz-bigger cans are about 14 oz.)
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can navy beans, drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. chili powder (I add some 'taco' seasoning as well)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cooked small pasta or a can of drained corn (both optional)
  • Shredded cheese (Mexican blend or Cheddar works best)
*NOTE: If you do not like this much 'tomato-ness' in your chili, feel free to skip the tomato sauce and use some chicken/beef broth and/or beer. We often use beer for half the tomato sauce

Toppings of your choice (green onions, chopped raw onions, olives, shredded cheese, fresh cilantro, corn, olives, etc.)


Mix all ingredients in a crock pot. Simmer for at least 4 hours.


Over medium heat, saute onion in a large pot until translucent. Add the bell peppers and sauté until tender. Add the vegeburger, tomatoes and sauce (also the bay leaf). Mix and heat through.

Gently stir in the beans and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper.

Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes, gently stirring occasionally to ensure there isn’t any sticking to the bottom of the pan. Mix in corn and pasta (if using) and heat through.

Serve with shredded cheese (cheddar or a Mexican blend) and any toppings desired. Remove bay leaf (not to be eaten).

Serves about 8-10.

Leftovers freeze beautifully.

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