Vegetarian Chili Soup

It’s so cliche.  Every vegetarian blogger has their version of the most amazing chili soup recipe ever.

Google gives over 12 million hits when I search “vegetarian chili.”  Which kinda makes me feel pointless to add mine to the mix.  I mean, if you’re like me, you won’t try any recipe that isn’t yours.  And yet, here I am, sharing my recipe.  Maybe all 12 million of us do it because we just love our recipe so much that we can’t help but share it in case someone hasn’t developed their own.  And any household without a go-to chili recipe is just…inconceivable! [name that movie reference?]

Chili Soup

I grew up eating my mom’s chili and liked it so much I wouldn’t eat chili anywhere else.   She and my dad even had to merge the recipes they grew up with because they both liked their own best.  So I get it honest.  Of course, my mom’s recipe is made with lots and lots of beef, for obvious reasons.  While in 4-H I used that recipe to win a blue ribbon and beef award at the county fair.  And then I went vegetarian and didn’t eat chili for at least a year.  I didn’t know if I would ever find a vegetarian chili that I would like as much as I had loved my mom’s recipe.  I think I was grieving that loss a bit.

Eventually I got brave and took a stab at recreating my mom’s recipe into a vegetarian wonder.  I can’t give you the starting recipe because it’s a family secret.  But I can tell you that it calls for 4 pounds of beef and 2 tablespoons of diced green bell pepper and I could still make it from memory.  As you will see, the ratios have changed slightly…

Chili spices

My version gets a little more adventurous with the spices, too.  I’ve decided that it’s really the spices that differentiate chili recipes.  So clearly that’s why you should try my recipe.  Or maybe just steal a few ideas to incorporate into yours.  Like adding red lentils to help thicken the chili soup.   My chili soup needs to be thick enough that I can eat it with tortilla chips as a dip.

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Vegetarian Chili Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 3 gloves garlic
  • 1 cup vegetarian “beef” crumbles OR diced mushrooms
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans beans, 1 can black beans and 1 can kidney beans are my picks
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn (or a can of corn)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp ground chili powder

Instructions

1. Heat the oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven.  Add the onions, garlic, peppers and crumbles or mushrooms and cook until the onions are translucent and the peppers are soft.  This should take about 10-12 minutes.

2. Dump in the cans of tomatoes, drained beans, brown sugar, vinegar, red lentils, and all the spices.  Stir it up, cover, and bring everything to a boil.  If it seems to need a little more liquid, rinse a can of tomatoes with some water and add it to the pot.  Reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes.  The soup will only get better as it simmers and as it sits in the fridge until the next day.

*If cooking with a slow cooker, complete step 1 and dump everything in your slow cooker.  Cook on low for about 7-8 hours and enjoy.

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