Autumn is flirting here in Austin with cool mornings and evenings, leaves quivering off trees and runners in hoodies quickening their pace on the hike and bike trail. Halloween decorations adorn shop windows, pumpkin recipes are taking over the blogosphere, and school buses are rattling past my house each morning. I love the Fall and can hardly wait to wear jeans and boots and my new faux leather jacket! I especially love hunkering in with a steamy bowl of chili or stew, the fire crackling in the fireplace, and my sweet kitty Ringo snuggled in my lap.
I am craving soups and stews and spicy warming foods. Comfort food. I love a good bowl of chili and have several different versions I make. I love kabocha squash, also known as Hokkaido pumpkin, and have a surplus in the kitchen from some recipe testing. Kabocha is dark, and sweet and rich and toothsome and features well in vegan dishes. Here is a chili recipe I came up with last year when I had a a bunch of fresh peppers in my kitchen and didn’t know what to do with them. Following my fancy chili recipe is a classic, no-fail veggie chili recipe I make regularly. Two recipes:
*Note: If you are avoiding soy you can omit the tempeh in both recipes. In the Classic Chili recipe you can omit both the tempeh and Tofurky Meatless ground and replace them with 1 1/2 – 2 cups cooked brown lentils.
Recipe One: 4 Pepper Lentil & Tempeh Chili with Winter Squash
1 T olive or grape seed oil
1 medium to large onion, small dice
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded stemmed and minced (if you want heat leave some seeds)
1 medium poblano pepper, seeded stemmed and chopped
1 small (or half large) red bell pepper, seeded stemmed and chopped
1 small (or half large) green bell pepper, seeded stemmed and chopped
1 pound roma tomatoes chopped
2 T chili powder blend
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 medium kabocha (or other hard squash such as acorn, butternut or delicata) seeded and chopped
1 8 oz. package multigrain tempeh, chopped small or crumbled
1 cup brown or green lentils, rinsed and strained
1 bay leaf
2 – 3 cups water or unsalted veggie stock, enough to fill level with all ingredients
1 T tomato paste
1 tsp salt
1 T tamari
1/2 to 1 tsp. sweetener such as coconut sugar, agave, brown sugar or molasses
pinch fresh ground black pepper
pinch cayenne to taste or hot sauce of your choice
variation, add: 1 ear fresh corn (or one cup frozen)
Garnishes: fresh chopped cilantro, avocado and blue corn chips, lime wedge.
Heat oil in heavy bottom pot, medium to medium high heat. Saute garlic 30 seconds until fragrant and sizzling, add onion and peppers, cook until slightly soft. Add tempeh and saute 5 to 10 more minutes. Add chili powder, cumin, paprika, and oregano and stir to coat veggies. Add tomatoes and mix well with veggies and seasonings, simmer until tomatoes begin to break down a bit, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in lentils, squash and water or stock, bring to boil, cover and lower heat and simmer 30 minutes until lentils soften. Stir in tomato paste, salt, tamari, fresh corn and pepper, simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally 15 minutes more until flavors are blended and corn is cooked. Adjust seasonings.
Serve hot garnished with chopped avocado and cilantro and chips for dipping.
Recipe Two: A Classic Veggie Chili
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
Several cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 package tempeh, crumbled
1 packageTofurkey ground beef
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground basil
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Several tomatoes, depending on size, chopped (use the ripest most red tomatoes)
2 cups red kidney beans
Saute onions, green pepper and garlic in olive oil until soft.
Add tempeh (and any other fake meat you are using) and brown.
Combine spices together into a mixture, then add to ground meat.
Add red wine vinegar.
Add tomatoes and let simmer, until tomatoes cook down (20 to 30 minutes).
Add kidney beans and cook for a few more minutes.
Serve over white or brown rice. Garnish with vegan queso or Daiya cheddar cheese, onions and vegan sour cream. Makes great Frito pie!