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I first time made this chili I served it to two meat-loving men, who both couldn’t believe that it was vegan. The first recipe attempt was spot-on, and I had to be sure it wasn’t a fluke. Attempt number two is very similar to number one, with some minor changes: changed the type of oil and reduced it from 3 to 2 Tbsp, increased beer from 9 to 12 oz (simply because it makes more sense, and I was making it at 11 a.m. on a Monday, which, even for me, is too early for a drink), corrected an error in the preparation method, increased cooking time. My S.S. preferred this attempt over the first.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, medium dice
1 red bell pepper, medium dice
1 green bell pepper, medium dice
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup textured vegetable protein
2 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
12 oz beer of your choice (use gluten-free beer to make the recipe gluten-free)
1 28-oz can peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 15-oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 4-oz can fire-roasted green chiles
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, soak the textured vegetable protein in hot water. Drain, and then add to the pot along with the paprika, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Saute for 2 minutes.
3. Pour in the beer and reduce by half, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen the bits.
4. Crush the tomatoes and add to the pot, along with the beans and green chiles.
5. Cover the ingredients with water (about 1 quart). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until thick (chili will continue to thicken as it sits).
6. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with sliced scallions (optional).

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The result? Very tasty, not as spicy as last time. Increase cayenne pepper to 1 tsp, but otherwise this one is getting close to where I want it to be!

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2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp fajita or taco seasoning (alternately, use a combination of chili powder, cayenne, cumin, and garlic powder)
Kosher salt
8 medium whole wheat flour tortillas
8 oz pepper jack cheese, grated (can use non-dairy cheese to make it vegan)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup mayonnaise (can use eggless to make it vegan)
1/4 cup cilantro salad dressing

1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
2. Saute the onion and pepper until soft, about 5 minutes, and then add the corn, spinach, black beans, seasoning, and salt. Stir and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Heat the canola oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
4. Spoon about 1/2 cup in the center of a tortilla and spread out to about 1 inch from the edge. Sprinkle with 1 oz of the grated cheese and fold like a burrito.
5. Once the oil is hot, place the folded tortillas into into the oil, seam side down, and pan-fry until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove and drain on paper towels.
6. Combine the mayonnaise and dressing and stir.
7. Cut each “egg roll” in half on a diagonal and serve with the creamy cilantro dipping sauce.

Notes: should test it out in the oven, perhaps brush each “egg roll” with oil once it’s stuffed.

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3 Tbsp olive oil
1 eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch thick lengthwise
kosher salt and black pepper
1 15-oz container part-skim ricotta cheese
1 10-oz box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
zest of 1 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Evenly coat a baking sheet with half of the olive oil.
3. Lay the eggplant slices on the baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining oil.
4. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 15-20 minutes, or until tender and the slices can easily be rolled.
5. While the eggplant is roasting, make the filling: combine the spinach with the ricotta cheese. Add the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.
6. To assemble, place a tablespoon of the filling at the thicker end of the cooked slice of eggplant. Roll the eggplant and plate, seam side down.
7. Serve with red pepper sauce (recipe to follow).

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1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, medium dice
1 red bell pepper, medium dice
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
cayenne pepper, to taste
1 can black beans, drained but not rinsed
kosher salt and black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat.
2. Saute the onion and bell pepper in the pan, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
4. Add the cumin, chili powder and cayenne pepper to the pan; stir and cook for 1 minute longer.
5. In go the black beans. Stir and cook for about 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.
6. Mash half the beans with the back of a wooden spoon, a potato masher, or an immersion blender.
7. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

This condiment can be used the way refried beans are. Check back soon and I’ll show you what I did with them.

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