Trying to eat healthier and living with a person who has vegetarian to vegan tendencies is a challenge sometimes. I THOUGHT I craved and missed meat… but a lot of times, it’s just the feeling of having comfort food, familiar flavors and textures I miss from growing up.
Recently I was craving REAL chili. Well, Frito™ Chili pie, actually. Vegan chili at the store was too sweet and just not “right.” So I went searching and here’s what I came up with.
This recipe has it’s root from one I found on OhSheGlows.com although she got it from another site that had zucchini in the recipe. I don’t do zucchini. But isn’t it great to share recipes and experiment with your creativity?
My creative project got good reviews during a Halloween party and some of my ‘mistakes’ have still been well received at home. I recommend making a double batch as it will only set you back about $15-20…IF you get Fritos.
Prep time can be 20-30 minutes depending on how fast you chop.
- 1 Tbsp EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- 1-3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 Bell Peppers, chopped (I used red)
- 1 Sweet Onion, chopped (I’ve tried both white and red…both work)
- 3 Carrots (recipe said ‘chopped’…I grated it…made it appear like meat…kinda)
Take ALL ingredients above and saute on medium until soft (5-10 minutes)
OPTION: Original recipe called for 1 can organic mushrooms, drained (BLEH!)
Original recipe calls for 1 Can each of:
- Black Beans, White Kidney Beans and Red Kidney beans… rinsed.
- 1 Can of Diced Tomatoes
I HOWEVER do not do well with Black Beans and mixed it up a bit. I used:
- Red Chili Beans, Pinto Beans, and White Cannallini Beans (No rinsing)
- 1 Can of Rotel
Mix it all up with the goodies you sauteed.
- 3 Tbsp Chili Powder
- 1 Tbsp Cumin
- Pinch of Sea Salt (I did about a tsp)
- Pinch of Cayenne (WARNING: I Accidental did a Tbsp or more once. Christi LOVED IT! But I had to cool it down a bit…well…a lot, actually.)
- 2 tsp Oregano
- 1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- Lime Juice (1 lime)
COVER and HEAT on low to medium heat for 20 Minutes stirring occasionally.
Here are my twists on the recipe to finish it up before serving (besides any listed above above).
- Add another Tbsp of Chili Powder, a little more Cocoa Powder, and dash of Cumin.
I learned from my mom’s winning Teralingua Texas Chili Recipe… add additional spices towards the end for more flavor. (Betcha wish I’d share that recipe too, don’tcha?)
- Take the lid off and raise the heat to a low boil so the water evaporates and lets the chili thicken. Stir often or else it might burn and stick!
- Slowly add just a bit of flour (pick your favorite) to allow it to thicken more (NOTE: The original recipe called for Chia Seeds to thicken… I had a Chia pet once… but if you have gluten allergies, you can try it — I’ve also found ground cashews work to thicken too, but tend to sweeten the flavor).
Cook for another 15-20 minutes and you should have an awesome, thick, spicy (but not TOO spicy) chili for a couple of days. Heck! Make it tonight and serve tomorrow. It’s always better the second day.
Serve over Fritos™ for the days of Frito Pie! If you’re only vegetarian and not vegan…go ahead and put a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle some cheese on top. (Frito Lay did NOT pay me to say that. lol)
And if you’re feeling extra creative… save some of the red onion, grab some cilantro and when you serve the chili on top of Fritos, add the onions with cilantro garnish. FANCY!
Bet you can’t eat one bowl.
Let me know what you think or if you come up with a flavorful variation.