Chili Sin Carne

I love this time of year and making warm soups! I haven’t had much experience making completely vegan soups, however, because I have always made a lot of “cream of…” style soups. So far this fall, I have made Chili, Panang Curry with Tofu and Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash soup*.



This Chili is my go-to recipe; I have made it so many times I think I could do it in my sleep. Sometimes I like to split the prep over a few days, so I roast tomatoes and any roasted peppers I am using first, up to a day or two ahead of time. The Chili is actually bette the next day, and Chili Cheese Burritos is nice to make with the leftovers, too. Or “Biddi” loves it on pasta noodles, like Skyline Chili from Cincinatti.

Vegan Chili

To replace the “meat” of Chili Sin Carne (“Chili Without Meat”) I used to toss in frozen fake meat crumbles, and briefly used TVP, but we have moved away from processed foods and now I prefer shredded carrots and cooked bulgur wheat. I got the idea from an Epicurious Recipe, but I have changed it over time. Roasting poblanos gives a nice heat, but it isn’t too hot for the toddler, which is nice. I add a tablespoon of chili powder in the bulgur when it is cooking to add more flavor to the wheat. Since Biddi loves corn, I usually throw half a bag of frozen corn in, but somehow forgot this time! I use whatever beans I have on hand, this time it was rosado (“pink”) beans and black beans–garbanzo beans, kidney beans, pinto beans and cannellini beans are all great. I have even used frozen edamame or lima beans in a pinch.




Chile Sin Carne Ingredients

  • Olive oil (1 tbspn for tomatoes, 1 for chili)
  • 4 lb Tomatoes
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 3 small Onions, or 2 medium Onions
  • 1 Yellow or Red or Orange bell pepper
  • 2 Poblano peppers
  • 1 lb mushrooms ( I used 8 oz each button and portobello)
  • 1 cup Red Bulgur
  • 10 oz bag shredded Carrots (or a bunch of Carrtos, shredded in food processor)
  • Chili powder(1 Tbspn for Bulgur, 1 for chili)
  • Fine pink Himalayan Salt (1/2 tspn for tomatoes and 1/8 tspn for chili)
  • 2 cups veg stock or water
  • 30 oz can Black beans
  • 15 oz can Rosado beans

Chili Sin Carne Cooking Method (Serves at least 6)

  1. Cut tomatoes and toss in 1 Tbspn Olive Oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt
  2. Convection Roast tomatoes on parchment paper at 375-400 for 30-45 minutes, turning once
  3. Roast Poblanos over open flame, cover to steam blackened skin off for 5 minutes, wash in cold water to remove char
  4. Cook Bulgur wheat according to package instructions with an added tablespoon of chili powder
  5. Cook Onions and Garlic for 5 minutes
  6. Add Carrots, Bell peppers and Poblano peppers, and 1/8 teaspoon salt and cook for 10 minutes (the salt will draw out some water from the veggies)
  7. Add Mushrooms and cook for 5-10 minutes
  8. Add roasted tomatoes, cooked bulgur, beans, and 2 cups liquid (stock or water) and cook for 30 minutes
  9. Serve with Avocado, salt, and hot sauce

The one problem with chili at this time of year is that I try to avoid using canned tomatoes, which leaves me at the mercy of grocery stores and their red-but-underripe tomatoes. These Romas were ok, they were from Canada and I had to cut some tops off because they were looking like mold was imminent.

We have a decently big greenhouse that produces local tomatoes, but since Amazon took over Whole Foods, they have been impossible to find–tragic! I am pretty underwhelmed by the changes since Amazon took over WF. Among my running tally of small changes that are disappointing, Amazon replaced the old produce bags with super shiny ones that I am sure have some BPA or similar chemicals in them. Since I have a pituitary adenoma (prolactinoma) I try to avoid BPA whenever possible, since BPA is probably the cause. I am hopeful the 365 brand canned goods remain BPA free. I also haven’t seen any real cost savings, but I will hold off a final judgement for a while longer.

Whatever, these tomatoes were organic, from Kroger, and 75% ripe. They weren’t packed in a can with tomato paste and sugar so for December I guess it is a win! Using home-roasted tomatoes adds a nice depth of flavor and eliminates not only added salts and sugars, but also BPAs!

* I followed Nerds With Knives’ recipe exactly, but my Squash was closer to 4 lbs, I skipped the Agave and Candied nuts, went heavier on the curry paste, and just dumped the whole can of coconut milk at once, rather than drizzling at the end.

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