Meatless Monday: Vegan chili

A chili so delicious that you'll forget that it's vegan.

A Palatable Pastime
Bulgur wheat makes up the base of this meaty-textured vegan chili.

I think it was 1994 when I first made this chili when we were trying out vegetarian cooking. But you have to understand, I am a die-hard carnivore. And I love chili. (I don’t want any vegans reading this to become offended because I do eat meat.)

I developed this recipe because in those days, the usual approach was to make any recipe without meat resemble its meat-filled version as much as possible. People who enjoy meaty foods and eat vegan mainly for health reasons will do better sticking to this type of recipe rather than removing the texture or thought of meat from a recipe altogether.

When eating more vegan foods, I discovered new uses for bulgur wheat, which is the cornerstone of this chili. I find that when it cooks, it kind of looks like ground beef crumbles in there, and if it is not overcooked, can have a chewy, meaty texture. Try this recipe out on friends who swear they must have meat in their chili to enjoy it.

I think a spread of this chili on game day with some veggie burgers will be the ultimate winner. It's just simply a good bowl of chili.

Vegan Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 large white onion, chopped

28 ounces can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

16 ounces can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce

4 ounces chopped green chillies

32 ounces vegetable broth

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 cup chili powder

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and black pepper, to taste

1 cup bulgur wheat

4 cups cooked beans: black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, etc.

1. In a dutch oven heat oil and add garlic and onion; cook until onions are soft, stirring occasionally.

2. Stir in tomatoes, chopped green chillies, vegetable broth, remaining spices, and bulgur.

3. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

4. Add beans to the mixture and continue to cook for another 15-25 minutes or until bulgur is tender.

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