Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My EASY Chili!

You followers of A Midlife Vegan know by now that I get a real charge from ordering vegan food off a menu, but my biggest vegan thrill in life (besides nourishing my children) is feeding my husband vegan food that he enjoys! This is a delicate operation. He wants full disclosure, but then he doesn't. Intuitively reading his mood at the appropriate moment, I carefully craft my answer to "What are you thinking about for dinner?"

More often than not, his response to me is, "I wish you hadn't told me that,"

But I know dishonesty has no place in our marriage and would only be met with ire. Also, I've got no poker face. So I usually keep it vague, "It's vegan, but there is nothing weird in there," With this I sidestep the whole point, which is: what does he consider weird? It doesn't matter -- we just won't go there!

Inspired as I frequently am by Morgan's creations at "Little House of Veggies" ( her Chili and Whole Grain Corn Bread caught my eye the other day. Check out her recipes -- you won't be sorry! I considered following these two recipes to the T, but then I realized I had an opportunity to soft-sell vegan to the man.  So I made vegan chili the same way I used to make his chili with meat. Then I did make Morgan's corn bread, since I knew there would be no complaints about what was "in there" about corn bread. I have no doubt Morgan's chili is amazing and will definitely try it sometime soon, for myself, and if it is not too different from what my husband is used to, will offer it to him as well. But the other night, I just did my usual, easy, lazy chili, only replacing the meat!  Here's the recipe:

My EASY Chili
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, small dice
1 package McCormick Chili Seasoning Mix - mild or medium
a package of WestSoy Seitan wheat protein strips, chopped a little smaller
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 16 oz can black beans
3/4 c. water
shredded cheese of choice --I offered dairy and non-dairy
2 scallions, chopped

Coat the bottom and sides of a slow cooker with the oil then add all ingredients except cheese and scallions to the pot, on high at first until mixture begins to bubble. Reduce heat to low and cook for 2 hours. Serve topped with cheese and scallions, if you like. (I chose non-dairy, he chose dairy)
Serves 6

If you prefer to cook on a stovetop instead of in a crock pot you may. There is nothing uncooked here, so the reason for the long cooking time is only to meld the flavors. This chili would be finished on a stovetop after bubbling gently for about 20 minutes. Stir frequently during this time to keep from burning. The chili is not likely to burn in the crock pot, as long as there is enough liquid.

I forgot to record the size of the seitan package before it went into the trash, but it was small, and you could use as much or as little of it as you please. The reason I chopped the strips into smaller pieces was to make them less noticeable, while still providing the right "meaty" texture. It's all about the psychology when we are trying to trick, er, coerce our loved ones into eating more healthfully! My husband really enjoyed my chili and, wisely, did not ask questions.

Here is my take on Morgan's cornbread:

It was delicious and more nutritious than traditional cornbread because of the addition of whole wheat flour. My husband liked it too! This morning I warmed up a couple of pieces and topped them off with a schmeer of earth balance butter and a dab of all-fruit blackberry preserve. It made for a lovely breakfast!

I encourage you vegans out there to use your intuitive psychological and creative cooking skills to get some healthy food into the diets of your loved ones! It's fun!


  1. Everything looks so delicious! Your cornbread looks perfect, and your chili...YUM! And EASY! Two thing I love! Thanks for the metnions! :) You are getting so creative in you kiitchen!!

  2. Thanks Morgan! And thanks for the meal inspiration too! I am looking forward to trying your chili next!

  3. I really like your food photography Cheryl! That is something Dustin and I are planning to focus on when we blog about recipes going forward. I like all your pretty dishes!

  4. Thanks Melissa! I am no natural photographer, but my camera does a lot of the work for me. I am fiddling with the settings to learn what works best -- still learning. It's fun though!