Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Recipe: Wendy's Chili (for vegans)

After recently giving birth to my third child, a friend offered to bring dinner over for my family. Hesitant at first because of our vegan diet, she assured me that she was willing to take on the challenge. She brought over delicious black bean burgers and also some black bean soup. Both were delicious!
In the black bean soup, she added some TVP. Previously, I had only used "fake meat" products in things other than soups, after failing an attempt early on in my vegan journey. I was so disappointed that I would not be able to enjoy that meaty texture in my food that I did not attempt it again. But this friends black bean soup changed that for me.
I thought of other soups and things that I could use TVP in. I thought of Wendy's chili, and how the TVP was just the right size to substitute the ground beef in their chili. I began the hunt for a copy-cat recipe. I found one that looked like it would be my closest bet. It was from Todd Wilbur's "Top Secret Recipes". After making a few modifications, I had an excellent copy-cat version of Wendy's Chili that was completely vegan! Now all I had to do was wait for my husband to get home so that I could serve this chili for dinner. He was very surprised and pleased with the results. So much, in fact, that he has requested it a few times since and even wanted it for his birthday dinner. I have a feeling that this chili will be a staple in our household during the coming winter months.

Wendy's Chili (made vegan)
Source: Todd Wilbur's "Top Secret Recipes", with modifications
1 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP) (can be purchased at Harris Teeter)
2 cans tomato sauce
2 cans kidney beans, undrained
2 cans pinto beans, undrained
1 large onion, diced
2-3 stalks celery (sliced into thirds, then diced)
1 4-ounce can green chiles
1 can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tsp. cumin
3 Tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. sea salt
2 cups water*

Prepare TVP according to package instructions (pour 7/8 cup boiling water over 1 cup TVP and let sit for 10 minutes to rehydrate).

Combine all other ingredients in cast iron pot. Bring to a boil. Add TVP. Let simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 hours.

Serve with corn chips or crackers.

*I've always thought of Wendy's chili as being more soupy than the average chili. If you plan on eating the chili with chips rather than a spoon, 1 cup of water might work best.

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