Southwestern Style Chili

Photo Credit: Allyson Kramer
    45 mins

Cooking chili can easily be an all-day affair. The slow simmer of the ingredients is what generally gives chili its rich and irresistible flavor. In this recipe I use pre-made salsa, which is packed with flavor, to quickly and easily replicate the taste of chili that has simmered all day long. For best flavor and texture, seek out salsa that is available in the refrigerated sections of your favorite grocery store, rather than jarred salsa found on grocers' shelves, which tends to have a "creamier" texture than fresh made.

This vegan chili is not only effortless, but can easily be changed up to suit your cravings, and, better yet, what you may have on hand in your pantry. I tend to always have TVP in my cupboard, but if you find yourself with other types of vegan meat analogues, feel free to use your favorite in place of the TVP, or simply add more mushrooms! If you're not a fan of black beans, try pinto, kidney, chickpeas, or a variety of cooked beans in place of the black beans. 

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup TVP, soaked with 7/8 cups water or as instructed on package
  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil, such as olive or canola
  • 1/2 cup chopped crimini or button mushrooms
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 packet (1.25 ounces) Chili seasoning, or 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 containers Fresh mild salsa, about 12 ounces each
  • 1 (16 ounce) can vegetarian re-fried beans
  • 1 can, about 15 ounces) diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cans (about 15 ounces each) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup shredded vegan cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

How to Make It

In a large pot or shallow stock-pot, add the soaked TVP, 2 teaspoons cooking oil, 1/2 cup chopped crimini or button mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss well using a small spatula and then cook over medium to medium-high heat until the TVP is browned and the mushrooms are tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the packet of chili seasoning and cook an additional 1 minute over medium heat.

Add the 2 containers of salsa, 1 can re-fried beans, 1 can fire roasted tomatoes, 2 cans drained and rinsed black beans, and 1 cup vegan shredded cheese.

Stir well to combine while cooking over medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook for an additional 15 minutes, and up to 30, stirring often to prevent the chili from sticking and burning. Remove from heat and allow to cool briefly. Before serving, top with cilantro and any other toppings you enjoy (crushed tortilla chips, guacamole, vegan sour cream, etc.).

Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. To freeze, transfer to an airtight freezer-safe container and store up to 2 months in the freezer. To thaw, simply heat over medium heat in a saucepan until warmed throughout.