When it comes to stick-to-your-ribs comfort food on a cold, rainy day, a steaming bowl of chili is at the top of the list. With the forecast for a soggy weekend, I cooked up a big pot of vegan white bean chick’n chili to warm the bones. This version is a bit lighter than traditional red chili with tomatoes and meat, but no less hearty. Adding pureed cannellini beans, a naturally creamy bean, added to the thickness and richness without adding fat calories. The northern beans, a bit firmer, were left whole for texture. I drained but didn’t rinse the beans to add flavor and thickness.
To further develop the flavors of the chili, I added ingredients in increments. You’ll note that I added the spices before adding the broth. Browning them lightly in the Chick’n/onion mixture deepened their flavor. As with all recipes that use spices and salt, adding to taste, is always best so use my measurements as a guideline. I then let each addition simmer before adding other ingredients.
Abbot’s Butcher Chopped Chick’n is a spot-on plant-based replacement for white meat chicken chunks, that is high in protein. For those not eating soy, this product contains pea protein. It’s also gluten-free. It’s available in the plant-based refrigerator section of Whole Foods and Target.
The vegetable broth that I used is a concentrated jarred vegetable stock from Williams Sonoma that I recons4tuted, according to package directions. I like this intensely flavored vegetable stock for hearty dishes. The boxed varieties at the market are fine, too, but do have a milder flavor.
I found packaged fresh corn on the cob, at Whole Foods, that I shucked. I highly recommend it if you can find. Otherwise, thawed frozen corn kernels are fine. Trader Joe’s frozen white corn is always super sweet.
The Santa Fe tortilla strips were a lucky find at Ralph’s. A Kroger store brand, they are salty and savory and great in this chili or munched right out of the bag. Totally addictive! You can also use broken pieces of your favorite tortilla chips for a nice crunchy contrast to the creamy chili.
Fresh cilantro was my other topping of choice to add an herbaceous note. Of course, the traditional chili toppings are always delicious, and I list them at the end of the recipe.
I hope you’ll try this veganized version of white chili to keep you warm this weekend!
Vegan White Bean Chick’n Chili
Serves 6-8, cut the recipe in half for a smaller pot of chili
3 T avocado or olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
4 cloves finely chopped garlic
2 packages Abbots Chopped Chick’n or other vegan chicken replacement
4 tsp ground cumin
1 T dried oregano
1 tsp dried coriander
1⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cups vegetable broth
2 7 oz. cans mild whole green chiles, chopped
2 15 oz. cans cannellini beans, drained but not rinsed, pureed in a food processor or blender 3 15 oz. cans northern or navy beans, drained but not rinsed, left whole
2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernels
Salt to a taste
Green Tabasco to taste
Juice of one lime
Santa Fe tortilla strips or broken pieces of tortilla chips of choice
Other topping options:
Vegan Sour Cream
Vegan shredded cheddar or Mexican style shreds
Chopped sweet white onion
In a very large heavy stockpot (I used a 5 1⁄2 quart Staub pot) heat the oil until shimmering.
Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent, being careful not to brown.
Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
Add the Chopped Chick’n and sauté until lightly browned, stirring up so that it doesn’t stick.
Add more oil if necessary.
Add the spices and cook a minute or two, stirring all of the spices into the mixture.
Add the broth and bring to a boil.
Turn the heat down and simmer 10 minutes to let flavors develop, stirring up the Chick’n so it doesn’t stick.
Add the chilis, pureed beans and whole beans and simmer another 10 minutes, stirring as necessary.
Add the corn, salt and several good shots of green Tabasco sauce and simmer 15 minutes.
Again, stirring as necessary.
Taste for seasonings and add more spices, salt and/or Tabasco sauce as needed. Add the lime juice and cook another few minutes.
Serve immediately in large crocks with toppings of choice on the side. Refrigerate leftovers.
Can be frozen for longer storage.