Introduction: Vegan Stoplight Chili

I've been making this chili for many years now, and it's loved just as much by my omnivore friends as it is by us herbivores. Best of all, the whole process only takes about an hour to complete, and the end result is chock-full of delicious peppers and wonderful protein!

Please keep in mind that my measurements are approximate so that they may easily be adjusted for taste.

Step 1: Ingredients

This chili is composed of the following ingredients:

1-2 tbsp. Olive oil

1 Onion

3 Cloves garlic

1 Red bell pepper

1 Yellow bell pepper

1 Green bell pepper

30 oz Dark red kidney beans

8 Plum tomatoes

1/4 cup Tomato paste

1 1/2 cups Water

2+ tbsp Chili Powder

1 tbsp Oregano

Cayenne pepper, salt & ground black pepper as desired

Ground beef substitute, such as Smart Ground (optional)

Step 2: Preparation

Drain and rinse the kidney beans. Set aside for now.

Dice the onion into small cubes. Because my eyes are extremely sensitive to onions, I use a vegetable chopper to cut them into small pieces. The onion I used made about 2 1/2 cups diced.

Cut the stem out of one of the peppers and remove the seeds. Slice the pepper into strips of about 1/4 inch thickness. Repeat with the other two peppers.

Use a garlic press to crush the garlic. If you don't have a press, cut the garlic into tiny pieces. Start by removing as much of the skin as possible. Lay the cloves out flat and with the flat side of your knife, firmly press down on the garlic, smashing it between the knife and cutting board. You should now be able to easily remove the rest of the skin. Dice the crushed garlic into small pieces.

Step 3: Cook the Veggies

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add onion, garlic and peppers, stirring to combine. Cover and cook on medium heat until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Step 4: Preparation, Part Deux

While the vegetables are cooking, dice all eight of your plum tomatoes. You should have a substantial tomato mountain when you're finished.

Step 5: Add Remaining Ingredients

When the peppers and onions are soft, add in the tomatoes, kidney beans, water, chili powder, tomato paste, salt, pepper, oregano and cayenne. Stir to combine evenly. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.

If you're unsure about the seasonings, err on the side of caution and put less in at first, then taste test the chili after 15 minutes of simmering. Add more seasonings as desired.

Step 6: Finished!

After the chili has simmered for approximately 30 minutes, you're ready to enjoy it! Turn off the heat and stir before serving.

This chili is hearty enough on its own, but if you're sharing it with a "Where's the meat?" crowd, consider adding a serving of ground beef alternative to the bottom of the bowls. Scoop the chili on top and turn the meat substitute into the chili to mix.

Serve with a side of bread, over rice, with tortilla chips... the possibilities are endless. Enjoy!

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