Hearty Meatless Chili

Handcuff me, please- this recipe was stolen from Burrito Lover. He’s pretty much Superman in the kitchen sans a cape- so I wasn’t at all surprised when I tasted his rendition of meatless chili and found myself going back for seconds thirds.

Here it is, the mother of all vegetarian chilis and a perfect balance between the flavor trifecta of smoky, spicy, and subtly sweet. It’s so beastly, in fact, that the Greek yogurt and fresh green fixins on top are actually a delicious necessity. Pull up a spoon, this is a bowl that’s got.it.all.

Besides, it’s an absolute fallacy that chili without animal protein is namby-pamby. Between the soft, chewy tofu and chunky, fiber-filled beans, this hearty stew is packed with protein, savory flavor, and is not the slightest bit weak and watery.

AND, it has an ingredient inside that, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I haven’t experimented with much before this recipe- okra.

 Along with being full of vitamin K and fiber, juicy green okra has high concentrations of mucilage which is a polymeric carbohydrate that when heated, produces a gooey slimy sort of texture. Since we wanted to thicken up the soup and okra has these magical, mysterious, mucilaginous (how’s that for a sexy word?…) properties, the perfect viscosity became within reach using this veggie. Okra is most famously known for its appearance in gumbo and in fact, the word ki ngombo, used in a number of West African languages, means okra. Fancy that!

My favorite sign by far

On a chilly rainy winter day, (and after the weekend’s happenings) there’s nothing else I’d rather be stuffing my piehole with.

In other news, unless you live under a rock at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean, you or someone you know most likely attended the women’s march on Saturday. Burrito Lover and I showed up ready to rumble with picket signs and a dog wearing a cape that said “Nasty Bitch.” The event was spectacular; around 750k women and fe-MEN-ists (plus a few dogs, can’t forget them) took to the streets shouting, screaming, smiling, chanting, praying, and laughing.

Despite some of its less-than-glam attributes (the inconvenience of menstruation, the pain of child birth…the list thunders on…) being a woman is something I have always been so emphatically proud of. Saturday as I marinated in the energy of other sisters, mothers, aunts, nieces, grandmothers, and daughters standing beside me, that pride felt ten, nay, hundredfold. Instead of sitting idly and watching what we’ve fought so hard for potentially crumble before our eyes, Saturday was for me, a gentle deafening reminder what an opportunity this all presents. We have the responsibility and the honor of teaching our littlest girls all of what they’re worth. And you’d better believe I will relish in demonstrating to my future daughter that she is powerful, strong, smart, and capable of anything and everything.

Hugs, kisses, and pussy hats.


Hearty Meatless Chili

Makes: 6 servings

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, minced
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Cayenne pepper
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 4 chipotles in adobo, minced plus 1-3 tablespoons of the sauce in the can (sauce is extra spicy and smoky, so go with 3 if that’s what you’re into)
  • 14 oz silken tofu
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 6 Thai chili peppers (only throw in 2 or 3  if you want it less spicy…)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups okra, sliced
  • 1, 15 oz can each, drained and rinsed: kidney beans, great northern beans, & pinto beans
  • Plain (whole fat or 2%) Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt for vegan option
  • Fresh scallions, sliced
  • Cilantro, sliced
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add olive oil and let it warm up for 1-2 minutes. Add shallots and garlic and cook until slightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Add in onion, stir until translucent, about 5 minutes, and then add in spices.
  2. Toss in tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the juices are almost absorbed.
  3. Add chipotles in adobo and their sauce, tofu, mushrooms, and Thai chili peppers. Stir until thoroughly combined and tofu is broken down. Then keep cooking, only stirring occasionally, until the whole “sauce” begins to cook down.
  4. Add vegetable broth and okra and bring to a boil.
  5. Stir in beans, turn heat down, simmer uncovered until reduced by half.
  6. Top your bowl with a dollop of Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt and a small handful of scallions and cilantro.

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