Cheap Recipe: Vegetarian Chili with TVP

9 Sep

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

To learn more about cooking with texturized vegetable protein (TVP), click here.

TVP makes a fast, cheap, vegetarian version of chili that still tastes meaty.

TVP makes a fast, cheap, vegetarian version of chili that still tastes meaty.

I got home the other evening and realized I’d forgotten to thaw any meat to cook for dinner. A peek into the cabinet produced tomatoes and beans, so I settled on this quick, no-meat chili. You can, of course, make it with meat–just substitute 1 lb. ground beef or turkey for the texturized vegetable protein (TVP) and follow the recipe otherwise normally.

And by the way, this chili is both South Beach Diet-friendly and Atkins-friendly!

Begin by placing a large pot over medium heat. Chop 1 onion, 1

Chopping ahead of time and freezing veggies makes weeknight meals a snap!

Chopping ahead of time and freezing veggies makes weeknight meals a snap!

 green or red pepper, and 1 zucchini (optional). Finely chop 2 stalks of celery. Drop a large dollop of butter or margarine in the bottom of the pot (remember you’ll need extra fat if cooking with TVP) and toss in chopped vegetables.

Add a small amount of water or broth when adding TVP.

Add a small amount of water or broth when adding TVP.

I lucked out because I found peppers, zucchini and celery already chopped up in baggies in my freezer, so the onion was all I got stuck chopping. Here’s to chopping all your veggies the day you buy them–hooray!

Saute the vegetables for just a couple of minutes, until onions are translucent or frozen veggies are thawed. Add about 1/2 cup water or broth, throw in two or three handfuls (about 1 cup) of dry texturized vegetable protein (TVP) and stir for another minute.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt and a packet of chili seasoning (or 4 tablespoons equivalent of desired seasonings) over the mixture and stir again.

Open 2 large cans of tomatoes and 2 regular cans of beans (I used one dark red kidney and one black bean). A good tip

Store bean cans upside down before opening so the flavor won't settle in the bottom and stay in the can.

Store bean cans upside down before opening so the flavor won't settle in the bottom and stay in the can.

 when using canned beans for chili is to store the bean cans upside-down in the pantry. That way, when you open them, you’ll get the most of that thick bean juice coming out into the chili; it won’t have all settled at the bottom. The bean juice adds flavor to your chili!

I like to use a couple different kinds of beans.

I like to use a couple different kinds of beans.

I like a thinner chili, so I usually don’t drain the tomatoes at all if the chili will have a while to simmer. If I’m serving it right away, I just drain one can and leave the other as is.

Add the beans to the pot and stir. Once heat returns to the mixture, mix in the tomatoes. Leave on medium heat and simmer uncovered a minimum of ten minutes or as long as desired.

Remember, the longer it simmers, the more time the spices will have to soak into the

The longer the chili simmers, the more consistent the flavor will be.

The longer the chili simmers, the more consistent the flavor will be.

 vegetables and the more flavorful the chili will be. That’s why leftover chili always tastes better than the first round!

Serve with shredded cheese and tortilla chips or crackers. Freeze leftovers in microwave-safe bowls for easy chili mac on another night down the road!

I love scooping my chili up in tortilla chips. Sometimes I don't even use a spoon at all.

I love scooping my chili up in tortilla chips. Sometimes I don't even use a spoon at all.

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One Response to “Cheap Recipe: Vegetarian Chili with TVP”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Red Kitchen Project » Blog Archive » Cheap Recipe: Mexican-Style Stuffed Peppers - February 10, 2011

    […] whip up a small amount of chili sauce for this recipe (like I did), use thawed leftover chili (this batch variation freezes quite nicely), or even substitute a can or two of Hormel in its place. My version is […]

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