Travis’s Homemade Vegetarian Chili Recipe

WARNING! EXPERIMENTAL RECIPE! Since we made Bo’s massive steak last week, I thought we would give Travis his turn this week. Ever since I wrote the chili scene in You Can Leave Your Boots On, I’ve known I wanted to do post with a chili recipe. Only problem? I don’t have a vegetarian chili recipe. (Hey, I live in Texas with a Bo-style carnivore). But… I live in Austin, Texas and I know lots of vegetarians. So… none of them gave me their recipe to plaster all over the Interwebz. The advice I got was, “Just make your favorite chili recipe and sub textured meat protein for the meat.”

Vegetarian Chili RecipeOkay, all great, except all my recipes start with browning the meat. So I consulted Mr. Google. There are tons of vegetarian chili recipes, but none looked quite like the type of chili I would normally make at home. So…. I started from scratch. I’m experimenting on y’all.   Here we go…


  • 2 ancho or poblano peppers
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2-3+ TB chili powder
  • 2+ TB cumin
  • dash red pepper
  • 28 oz can diced tomato
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (1/2 cup reserved)
  • 1 can red beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • simmer 30 minutes
  • 1 lb Textured Vegetable Protein / or meat substitute (like Morningstar Farms grillers crumbles)
  • 2-3 TB masa


Optional Toppings (mix and match)

  • sour cream
  • grated monterrey jack or cheddar cheese
  • sliced jalepenos
  • green onions

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, garlic and peppers. Sauté until soft. Add the red and black pepper, chili powder, and cumin. Sauté another minute.

Add the tomatoes and vegetable broth and simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Add both cans of beans.

Simmer another 30 minutes or more.

Add the meat substitute. (Actually you can leave this out if you don’t care for the meat substitute. I debated putting it in because the chili was already pretty good. If you aren’t going to use the meat substitute, maybe use three cans of beans instead of two.)

Bring back up to just under a boil and simmer for another five minutes.

Now you need to correct the seasoning. Honestly, this is where I pretty much double all the spice, or possibly decide to randomly toss in some chopped serranos or something. Just keep tasting and adding until you get the heat level you want (or possibly a tiny bit hotter because we still have one ingredient left). Oh- one more note on the spice. I don’t have any salt in this recipe. I find that many canned vegetables already contain extra salt. YMMV, so add salt if you think you need it.

Some people put sugar in their chili. I don’t, but I do thicken with masa, which will add just a little bit of sweetness. Put your reserved vegetable broth in a small jar and add the masa. Shake until the mixture is smooth. Stir into the chili. Depending on how thick you want it, you can add a little more or less masa.

Now, correct the seasoning again.

Serve with cornbread and your choice of toppings.

This recipe was a hit with my family. Kiddo and Bones both had seconds. I didn’t tell Bones it was vegetarian until the second bowl, and he kept eating – so it passed the carnivore test!

This recipe is vegan if you leave off the dairy toppings. As far as I can tell, it is also gluten free.  Gluten is a dietary restriction I don’t have, so you should check your ingredients!

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