Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Slow cooker vegetarian chilli recipe

I've always found veggie chillies disappointing in the past. They've either been too watery or they've lacked flavour, or both. No such problems here! However, my caveat would be this: I quartered the spice for this and it was still waaaaay too hot for everyone at our pot luck supper except a Singaporean friend (Hi Kit!). And he likes his spice. So, chilli-heads, welcome in. And everyone else, I'd quarter the chilli poweder again (or use a milder one) and would then add the Tabasco at the end if it's then not quite punchy enough.  We spent so much time wiping sweat off our brows, there's not photo, I'm afraid, but the colour and appearance was attractive.

Ingredients for 6-8:

4 tbsp olive oil
4 onions, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 14 ox/400g pack of firm tofu, drained and cubed
3 cans black beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
2 14 oz/ 400g cans chopped tomatoes
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp ground cumin (keep this - it's not fiery and is key to the flavour)
8 tsp hot chilli powder (this is where I went wrong - this was still too much for us)
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (or other types would be fine)
1 tbsp Tabasco or other chilli sauce (not a sweet one though such as you might use for stir-fry)


Using a large frying pan or skillet, fry off the onions in the olive oil till they start to become a little more translucent. Add the bell peppers and the tofu and continue to cook until the peppers are a little softer and the tofu is a light golden brown. This should all take about 10 minutes.

Transfer the vegetables to the slow cooker, add all the remaining ingredients, stir gently so as not to break down the tofu too much and cook on Low for 6-8 Hours.


Did I mention how hot this was? Oh, I did? Well, it was a shame because the texture was pleasingly "meaty", not watery at all, and the rest of the flavours were good, especially helped along by the herbs, vinegar and cumin. It did take quite a while to chop all the veggies so maybe not one to throw together before work but could be good for a weekend party. The frozen leftovers reheated well, just as a meat chilli would, and the tofu doesn't collapse after freezing which was helpful.

If you're tempted to make this with dried beans, then don't (!), at least not without cooking the beans first. The acid in the tomatoes, quite apart from the vinegar, will stop the beans from cooking. I realised I'd actually tried this recipe with dried beans years ago and my notes say it was a disaster!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Dan,
    I totally agree and we eat a lot of vegetarian food ourselves. I also appreciate that not all vegetarians WANT vegetarian foods to taste like meat whether they are vegetarian on health or ethical grounds.
    My only point here was that I hadn't previously found a vegetarian CHILLI that I personally liked and that the texture had always been too watery. I didn't mean that all veggie food was like that. Indeed, the most popular post on this blog has been for my refried beans which are vegetarian too. I hope you'll enjoy the other veggie recipes on this site (and can maybe adapt some of the others). Thanks for commenting!