Before I adopted a plant-based diet, there were some dishes that I never made with meat. Like pasta sauce (here’s my go to recipe). And chili.
Not sure why, but for some reason, I never liked the addition of meat in these dishes. However, once I went all in on the vegan eating, I knew I had to pay more attention to my protein sources.
Let’s pause a minute on this while I clear up the myth that you can’t get “enough” protein on a plant-based diet…
- First, all plants have protein, though some have more than others (think nuts, legumes, beans, lentils).
- Secondly, our bodies don’t store protein and will eliminate the excess or turn it into fat.
- Therefore, there’s absolutely no point in consuming more than your body will use for that day. For example, 1 cup of cooked, chopped chicken has about 43 grams of protein. That’s only 3 grams shy of the recommended daily requirement for the average woman. So unless our lady eats almost nothing else the rest of the day, she’ll be consuming way more protein than is needed.
- By comparison, I reach a third of my daily requirements with a thoughtful, 100% plant-based breakfast. Combine that with lunch, dinner and snacks, I rarely have an issue meeting my daily requirements unless I’ve skimped on the nuts and beans.
Which brings me to this secret-ingredient vegan black bean chili.
Beans are excellent sources of plant-based protein, but I wanted to dot my protein “i’s” and “t’s” in this dish and add a little more. Plus I wanted to give the appearance that meat was present to appeal to meat eaters. Like my husband.
So what’s the secret ingredient in this secret-ingredient vegan black bean chili? Walnuts! Finely chopping the walnuts with some garlic and onion powders and sage in a food processor or blender makes it look like I’ve added ground meat into my chili. Genius, right?!
But wait, there’s a second secret ingredient too…chocolate!
It may sound weird, but trust me on this. The chocolate tangos with the chili powder to deepen the flavor, plus it’s a superfood that has won many a woman’s heart so of course it needs to go there.
And there you have it. The his ‘n hers secret ingredient vegan black bean chili.
Let’s get cooking!
This protein-packed chili has two secret ingredients to appeal both to him and to her.
- 3 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup veggie stock
- 4.5-6 cups black beans
- 2 large onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 7-8 large garlic cloves, minced
- 4 Tbsp chili powder
- 3 tsp cocoa powder
- 4 tsp oregano
- 3 tsp salt
- 4 tsp cumin
- 1 cup walnuts
- 3-4 dashes onion powder
- 3-4 dashes garlic powder
- 1-2 dashes ground sage
If you're cooking your own black beans, do so according to package directions. I usually soak mine in cold water overnight, rinse then add to a fresh pot of boiling water and boil for about 115-20 minutes. Then I turn off the heat and soak for several more hours.
If you want the walnuts more tender, soak them for 30 minutes in water that been just boiled.
Add the onion, garlic and peppers to a large stock pot along with the veggie stock over high heat. Saute about 5 minutes or until the veggies start to become tender.
Add tomatoes and spices. (Hint: I like using the 1 cup of water to rinse out the cans and add it into the chili pot - it helps prevent waste that way!)
Add cooked beans.
For the walnuts, add to a food processor or blender along with garlic and onion powders and sage and pulse until the walnuts are finely chopped. Then add to the chili.
Bring the chili to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about one hour to let the flavors develop.
RECIPE NOTES: This chili tastes even better on the second and third day as the spices work themselves through. It also freezes well!
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