In all honesty, I’ve always been confused by meat substitutes. Veggie “bacon,” fake meat crumbles, etc. If you decide to adapt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, why would you want to eat these things? While I’m not a vegetarian, I eat many meatless meals, filling my plate with filling yet substantial foods like lentils, whole grains and mushrooms.
However, I’m not one to completely dismiss a food until I’ve tried it. By happenstance, I came across this article that explains “hippie ingredients” like miso and nutritional yeast, as well as meat substitutes. The author talks about tempeh (a meat substitute), claiming “$10 says you can use it interchangeably in [chili, lasagna or Sloppy Joe’s], and even the most astute meat-eater wouldn’t be able to tell if you spice it properly.” Challenge accepted.
In the name of trying to fool my husband, I trekked to the “hippie” section of my grocery store. While I didn’t find tempeh, I did spot a chorizo-flavored seitan (a high-protein meat substitute made from wheat gluten) with a cute hipster guy on the package, and knew I could turn it into a spicy chili. With a big pot of chili and a very hungry and unsuspecting husband (I simply told him it was “chorizo chili”), dinner was served.
Now, Jeff is a meat lover. He craves steak, owns his own smoker, and smokes at least 5 pounds of meat many weekends. His review of this chili: “That is an outstanding chili. You should be very proud of that.” I actually still haven’t told him the truth until now. Hi honey – I fed you fake meat. And you had no idea.
I think this vegetarian chili would be perfect to serve a mixed crowd of vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike for game day! The vegetarians will enjoy the spicy flavor and textures, and the non-vegetarians won’t be able to tell the difference! Enjoy the game!
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 small white onion, chopped
- 1 (8 ounce) package chorizo-flavored seitan
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles, drained
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1-1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
- Sour cream or Greek yogurt, cilantro, Cheddar cheese and/or tortilla chips, for garnish (optional)
- Heat oil in medium saucepot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion; cook 4 to 6 minutes or until softened, stirring frequently.
- Add seitan; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned, breaking up seitan with side of spoon and stirring frequently.
- Add beans, tomatoes, chiles, stock, chili powder and oregano. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve with desired garnishes.