Sunday, November 19, 2017

Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili (With Homemade Soy Chorizo Crumbles) for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

With last week's kitchen experiments in using jackfruit in a vegan version of a classic Chicken Noodle Soup being a success, I was inspired this week to make a veg-friendly, yet still meaty and full-of-flavor bowl of chili. I wanted a ground meat texture and lots of flavor, so I decided to make my own tofu chorizo crumbles. With three different beans, tomatoes and lots of spices and love, (plus some delicious toppings) it made for one of the best bowls of chili--either meat-ful or meat-free--that I've eaten.

The chili itself if vegan, but I used leftover real cheese and labne (yogurt cheese) so it makes the entire dish with toppings vegetarian. You could of course use vegan versions of the cheese and sour cream/yogurt cheese or omit them. 

You have to plan ahead for the soy chorizo crumbles--freezing the tofu overnight, then rinsing and draining/pressing out all of the water gives it a chewier, meat-like texture and all of the spices give it the flavor of chorizo. I froze my tofu Friday night, thawed, rinsed and pressed it on Saturday and cooked it up on Sunday. It's more time than actual effort involved, and you could shorten that timeline up by thawing and cooking it on the same day. A tofu press helps but you can squeeze out a lot of the liquid with your fingers so it isn't necessary. 

Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili with Homemade Soy Chorizo
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 6 to 8)

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 to 2 jalapenos, seeds and membrane removed, finely chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed 
1 jar Goya Tomato Sofrito, optional (I used it to pop up the flavor)
2 1/2 Tbsp chili powders of choice. I used 1 Tbsp chili powder & 1 chipotle chile powder & 1/2 Aleppo chile powder
2 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 (28 oz) can or box crushed roasted tomatoes with liquid
1 (28 oz) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with liquid
1 can or 2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can or 2 cups kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can or 2 cups cooked pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup veggie stock
Homemade Soy Chorizo Crumbles (see recipe below)
sea salt and black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium heat and add onion, bell pepper, and jalapenos, cooking about 10 minutes until onion softens and begins to turn golden. Add garlic and saute another minute or two. Add sofrito cooking base and spices ingredients through the liquid smoke and cook for several minutes, until spices are fragrant. 

Add tomatoes and their liquid, the beans and the veggie stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can add additional stock or water if chili gets too thick. 

(I sauteed my chorizo crumbles ahead of time but you can make them while the soup cooks--see recipe and process below.) Stir in the finished chorizo crumbles and cook for another 10 minutes so they absorb the sauce. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt, black pepper and chili powder if desired.

Serve hot, garnished with toppings of choice such as cheese or vegan cheese, sour cream or cashew cream, chopped green onions, these homemade lime pickled onions, pickled jalapenos, and hot sauce. 

Note: For my Homemade Soy Chorizo Crumbles, I used this technique to make the tofu ground meat and added seasonings found in chorizo sausage. Again, plan on giving yourself at least a day to freeze and thaw the tofu before making the crumbles.

Homemade Soy Chorizo Crumbles
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 2 cups)

1 (1 lb) block of extra-form organic tofu
3 Tbsp canola oil
3 Tbsp white vinegar
! Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp roasted garlic powder
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 Tbsp ancho chili powder or chili powder of choice
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper 

A least a day before freeze tofu in package overnight. Defrost and pour out liquid. Rinse tofu thoroughly several times.  Using a tofu press, or lots of paper towels and your hands, squeeze as much liquid from the tofu as you can. (See more detailed steps of how to do this here.) Crumble tofu into small pieces. 

Heat canola oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add tofu crumbles and all other ingredients, mix well and cook over medium--until the tofu gets brown and crispy--stirring and breaking up any larger pieces. Drain on paper towels and set aside to use in chili or other dishes.

Notes/Results: OK, this chili is really good. Not just vegetarian chili good, but any chili good. My "soup clients"--carnivore friends that have me make double batches of my weekly soups for them to buy LOVED it and said "Just the right amount of smokiness. As hearty as a meaty chili but feels so much better knowing it's veg." and they called it the best chili they every had. I won't go quite that far but the flavors really popped--especially with all the toppings and the meaty texture was great. A healthy, satisfying chili that won't have you missing the meat--but is heart-healthier, I would happily make it again.

We have some good friends and tasty dishes waiting this week in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's have a look at what got linked up this week! 

A warm Souper Sundays welcome to Amber of The Hungry Mountaineer who joins up this week with Kerala Style Coconut Vegetable Soup inspired by her travels to that region. She says, "If you are at a bar in India, order a crap beer cocktail and get a free mocktail for your spouse? Seriously? Maybe the lady of the relationship needs alcohol also after peeing in a hole in the ground and missing her flight!Or maybe she just needs some tasty Kerala style coconut based vegetable stew. This soup is amazing!!! Just like all the delicious coconut filled food of the southern tip of India."

Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen is here with Preserved Lemon Coriander Orzo Salad and said, "I have to say, it was okay, but it did not work quite as well as the piquancy of the Preserved Lemons did not cling onto the Orzo Pasta so well. I won't grumble though, it filled a little hole in my belly. The best part for me was the fragrant coriander, but then I do like coriander very much."

Linda of shared Sweet Potato & Carrot Soup and said, "Would you like a bowl of sweet potato and carrot soup?  It is delicious and a great way to get your servings of vegetables. This is a quick and easy to soup to make and it freezes well in smaller portions. Regular visitors know I use freezer bags that store flat and take up a lot less space to freeze portions of soup.  This soup keeps its lovely orange colour, even when frozen.  It thaws quickly on the counter and then pours into a mug or bowl."

Tina of Squirrel Head Manor brought "Fish Chowder to Warm Your Bones" and said, "Easy as can be and it made a great dinner. I had made a baguette earlier in the day just to go with this chowder, splendid combination and definitely comfort food. Next time we may make it a seafood chowder and toss in some bay scallops."

Here at Kahakai Kitchen I'm sharing a slaw that went along with Ina Garten's Salmon Tacos with Cabbage-Cucumber Slaw and Mashed Avocado. We are calling the slaw a salad and the tacos a sandwich--but whatever you call it, the combination of flavors was delicious and it was an easy and healthy dinner.

Mahalo to everyone who joined me at Souper Sundays this week! 

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on the post you link up to be included.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. Wow---your claim that this is the best chili you've ever had has me intrigued! I may do a spin on this one, Deb. (Plan on posting up a round-up of a Thanksgiving meal that includes a couple of salads and will link-up tomorrow or the next.) Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    1. I said ONE of the best! Hah! ;-) My clients called it the best. It is really good--loads of flavor from the homemade tofu chorizo and the chili itself.

      I look forward to seeing your salads. Happy Thanksgiving to you Debra!

  2. Deb,
    That chili sounds really good right now since our temps have dropped to the 30's. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  3. Your 3 Bean Chili looks really good, but I am esp. excited by the Homemade Soy Chorizo Crumbles, and the fact that it is made with tofu - interests me. I have made some at home with sunflower seeds and have enjoyed it, but would love to try yours - hopefully will. Thanks for hosting SSS - Joining in again with a wintry salad


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