I was really excited when Slenderbread magazine asked me to develop recipes for a Vegan Thanksgiving. Even though I’m not vegan, the vegan cuisine certainly inspires me to eat cleaner and to be more creative.
Brussels sprouts and quinoa both deserve a spot in the “superfood” category, they are insanely good for us but they need a little help to make my taste buds dance. With only a few ingredients I turned the Brussels sprouts into candy tasting veggies and I cooked the quinoa in fresh carrot juice to give it a festive color and a sweet flavor.
But what to make for the main course? I called my fellow model blogger and vegan friend Emily Nolan (mykindoflife.com)to ask if she could help me with that. She didn’t have to think long, spicy chili; her husbands favorite!
What makes this recipe different than most chili recipes is that the soup includes cacao powder and coffee; most people love both and are somewhat addictive, so how could anyone turn down a bowl.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 large bell peppers (1 green, 1 red), chopped
- 3 medium carrots, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 to 1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, chopped or pureed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 corn tortillas, torn into pieces
- 1/2 cup brewed coffee (can also use decaf)
- 1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 2 tablespoons cacao powder (You can add extra for a warmer flavor)
- 2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 head cauliflower (grated like cheese)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus torn leaves for topping (optional)
- 1 bag Daiya cheddar cheese (for topping/mixing; we do both in my house)
- Sliced scallions to sprinkle
- 1 tub vegan sour cream (I like the brands Follow Your Heart and Tofutti)
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, carrots and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots begin to soften, about 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic (my husband likes mucho garlic) and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add the chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, chipotle, tomato paste and tortillas and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste is brick red, about 4 minutes (add a splash of water if the mixture begins to stick).
- Add the coffee (I use decaf if I’m going to be eating this at night) and simmer until almost completely reduced, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in the tomatoes, cacao powder, beans and 2 1/2 cups water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens slightly, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, trim the large stems off the cauliflower and coarsely grate the florets on a box grater. About 10 minutes before the chili is done cooking, stir in the grated cauliflower.
- Cook the chili for 10 minutes with the cauliflower in it and then remove it from the heat.
- Stir in the chopped cilantro and season with salt.
- Add some water if the chili is too thick. Ladle into bowls and add scallions and sour cream.
- If you’re feeling cheesy, serve it how my husband likes it and add a handful of Daiya cheese to the top of a piping hot soup bowl. Mix the cheese into the bowl until it gets gooey and stringy (this is important because this particular cheese tastes exceptionally good when it’s melted) and serve with a side of homemade cornbread or crunchy tortilla chips.
- You can also make this soup into an amazing dip by adding less water and mixing the entire bag of Daiya cheese into the pot of soup to cook down. This makes for a fantastic chili queso recipe.