No matter how I start out, this chili always ends up making enough for a huge crowd with leftovers to be shared with friends or frozen for later use. The combination of vegetables in this recipe reflects whatever I had in my refrigerator plus a few things I picked up at the grocery store. Both the recipe and quantities are very flexible and accommodating to individual tastes and desires, so don’t feel like you have to follow the directions precisely. The secret is in the spicing. Taste frequently and adjust the seasonings to suit your tastes. It is best if it is cooked at least one day before you plan on serving it to give the flavors a chance to blend together. Get out your biggest soup pot (6-8 quarts) and start creating! Serve as a soup or a cheese-topped casserole with fresh cornbread and your favorite green salad for a hearty winter meal.
- 1 package tofu ground “beef,” regular or taco flavored
- 2-3 carrots
- 1-2 large onions
- 3 stalks celery
- 2 fresh peppers, green, red, yellow or orange
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 4 zucchinis
- 4 yellow crookneck squash
- 2 cups frozen corn kernels
- 1/2 pound baby portabello mushrooms (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5-6 cans (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes with juice
- 2 cans (15 ounce) black beans, drained*
- 2 cans (15 ounce) red kidney beans, drained
- Cumin, chili powder, garlic, coriander and salt to taste (a good taco or chili seasoning mix can be used)
- Aged cheddar cheese, grated, for topping (optional)
- *You can cook the equivalent amount of dried beans, any kind you like, to add instead of canned
- Cut up all vegetables in small or bite-sized chunks. Heat oil in a large 6-8 quart soup pot over medium heat. Sauté tofu, onions, carrots, celery, peppers and garlic in olive oil. Add diced tomatoes and remaining vegetables and beans. Stir to combine and cook at medium heat until thoroughly heated. Add spices to taste. Lower the heat and cook until liquids are reduced and mixture is thickened. This could take a couple hours. Taste and adjust seasoning frequently.
- Chili can be eaten as a thick soup, sprinkled with grated cheddar cheese if desired, or placed in a greased casserole dish of desired size, topped with cheese and baked in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.