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Meatless Monday #1

I’m going to try to post a “Meatless Monday” meal every week.  I honestly don’t know how long I’ll keep it up, but I’m going to give it my best shot.  The problem with posting on Monday is that if the recipe sounds like something you really would like to try for dinner that night, it doesn’t give you much time to get to the store and get the ingredients. So I plan to post “MM” recipes over the weekend.

Besides the Boca burgers I use to buy for Marissa during her vegetarian days, I’ve never purchased or cooked with meat replacements before, but the more I hear about them, the more I’ve been wanting to give them a chance.  Vegan activist and author, Kathy Freston, has been a frequent guest on both Oprah and Ellen and she swears by the Gardein and Morningstar Farms brands, so that is what I am going to start with.

I purchased a half-dozen different packages and decided to play it safe for this first go-round and make chili since if we didn’t care for the “fake” meat taste, the bold and spicy flavors of chili would easily cover it up!

If you would like to learn more about shopping for and cooking with vegan products, check out this really awesome “Vegan Starter Kit” link on Oprah.com. In the meantime here is my first “fake meat” recipe… and I have to admit, it is pretty darn good!

Meaty Meatless Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1/2 cup peeled and diced carrot
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/2 package (6 ounces) Morningstar Farms Grillers Recipe Crumbles, frozen (do not thaw)
1 cup V-8 vegetable juice or beer
15.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
14.5-ounce can undrained diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
Sour cream, diced avocado and/or shredded cheddar cheese for garnish

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat, add the oil, and swirl to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper and sauté until onion is translucent.  Stir in the chili powders, cumin, and oregano and cook another minute.  Add the frozen crumbles and stir to combine.

Add the V-8 or beer, black beans, and tomatoes with their juices. Bring to a boil, reduce to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes for the flavor to marry and for the liquid to reduce. Stir in the corn and cilantro and simmer for an additional 2 or 3 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and serve.  Garnish with sour cream, avocado, and cheese, if desired.

Serves 4

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1 David Bickford { 04.11.11 at 10:05 AM }

I often make meatless chili, but I’ve never found an imitation meat that tastes nearly as good to me as a recipe based on whole beans (both pinto and black) along with diced vegetables such as zucchini, Mexican gray squash, or chayote. That combination, coupled with fire-roasted tomatoes from Muir Glen and one of the chili spice blends from Penzeys, works well for me by celebrating the legumes and vegetables within on their own terms.

2 Linda Hopkins { 04.11.11 at 10:22 AM }

Hi David, I agree, chili can certainly stand on its own without any meat at all! And I adore chayote squash, although I’ve never used it in chili. I will definitely give it a try next time, thanks for that suggestion!

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