There is a principal in yoga called ahimsa which translates to non harming or non violence. This is why many yogis are vegetarian. I do not follow it one hundred percent but do try and limit my meat intake to a few times a week and only eat local, grass-fed, organic, all that good stuff.
In the spirit of eating more vegetable protein is this delicious vegetarian chili. It is hearty and warming, filled with deep red spices, green tomatillos, roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, corn, and tempeh. Tempeh is a healthy and high protein soy product that is slightly nutty and neutral flavored on its own so responds fondly to marinades and long simmers.
To keep things interesting, the chili is topped with salty cojita (or feta), creamy avocado, and crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds. I wouldn’t even think about eating chili without sour cream, so I add a big scoop too, but you can leave it out, use vegan sour cream, or plain fat free greek yogurt.
There is a longer and shorter version of this recipe. For the shorter version, purchase jarred tomatillo salsa (if you can’t find it, use regular diced tomatoes) and skip roasting the sweet potatoes. I’ve added sweet white miso as a flavoring agent since there is always a package of it in my fridge. If you don’t have it/can’t find it simply leave it out and add additional salt to flavor.
Meat or no meat this is an awesome chili recipe. Try it out and tell me what you think. :)
Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili
8 tomatillos, papery shell removed, rinsed, and patted dry
1 poblano, stemmed, seeded, and cut into quarters
1/4 cup cilantro (leave out if you don’t like)
juice of 1 lime
1 15 ounce jar tomatillo salsa
2 cups sweet potato, cubed into even bite sized pieces
1 red or yellow onion, chopped fine
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 poblano, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon barbecue spice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 8 oz packages tempeh (any variety – I use flax), grated with a box grater or cut into small pieces
4 cups vegetable broth or water (can use 12 oz good beer for some of liquid)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 tablespoon sweet white miso (optional, adds salt and umami)
1 tablespoon pure grade b maple syrup
crumbled cojita or feta
roasted pumpkin seeds
sour cream (vegan sour cream or plain yogurt too)
If making tomatillo salsa: Preheat oven to broil. Place tomatillos on a large rimmed baking sheet with a drizzle of oil. Broil 4 minutes, flip tomatillos, add poblano and broil an additional 4 minutes, until vegetables are softened and browned in spots. Cool slightly. Add to blender with lime juice and cilantro. Blend until smooth. Should be about 2 cups of salsa.
Meanwhile, film the bottom of a large pot with grapeseed oil over medium heat. Add onion, poblano, and celery and saute until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add tomato paste and spices, stir frequently for 2 more minutes. Add crumbled tempeh and 2 cups of liquid (vegetable stock, water, or 1 cup good beer/ 1 cup water) bring to simmer and cook for 20 minutes, until liquid is reduced and mixture is very thick. (If you’re using beer, this step will cook off the alcohol but you will still have the beer taste so use one you like.)
Meanwhile, reduce oven temperature to 400. Place sweet potatoes on rimmed baking sheet and toss with a drizzle of oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are soft and beginning to brown. If you don’t want to roast sweet potatoes, simply add raw potatoes to pot in steps below. You may need to add more liquid to the pot.
Add tomatillo salsa, sweet potatoes, drained black beans, corn and additional liquid (1-2 more cups, depends on how thick you like your chili) to pot. If using miso and maple syrup add them now too. Jarred tomatillo sauce may have added sugar so you won’t need to add additional sweetness. Taste the chili, see what you think, and add if you think it needs it. Or just trust me and do it.
Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, and cover. Cook at least 30 minutes to blend flavors and up to a few hours. Season with additional salt, pepper, and lime juice as necessary. Chili is even better the next day. The mixture thickens in the fridge so reserve some vegetable broth to reconstitute the next day.
Serve hot with cheese, pumpkin seeds, avocado, and sour cream.