Hearty & Healthy: Vegan Texas Chili

Now that I am a mom, my main focus now is setting up my child(ren) for as much success as possible. Obviously, I think that success is defined by the things I have failed at or have strived to achieve and have never been able to fully accomplish. My bad habits are a failure to me and I don’t want to pass them on. 

However, I know that some of my habits, opinions and lifestyle choices are inevitable for them to inherit because, well, they are my children. They are from my womb and my DNA. Some things are hard to truly remove from the cycle.

Part of the bad habits that I don’t want to pass on to my kids includes poor eating habits. When faced with the choice, I always choose the unhealthy option over the healthy. But I don’t want that for my kids. 

After sitting in a conference at Vanderbilt about obesity and diabetes, it got me motivated. One of the things I learned from these researchers is that if a child is obese by the time they are 2-5 years old, they have set their course for the rest of their life and will be combating obesity until they die. That’s not a lot of time!! When I heard that, I  told my husband that it was time for us to get our act together. We basically had about 18 months to build better eating and exercise habits.

Because children learn more from examples, if we truly want our kids to be healthy then we need to be healthy ourselves, not just teach and expect it from our kids. 

In another post, I talk about the benefits of going vegetarian. Mostly discussing the benefits that affect our planet, but obviously, there are health benefits as well. Unless, of course, you are the vegetarian that overindulges on bread and chips and cheese because technically they are vegetarian. Just removing meat from your diet and calling yourself a vegetarian isn’t worth it if you don’t actually eat more vegetables. 

Basically, I would call myself about 80% vegetarian/vegan. I am eating breakfast and lunch with vegetables, grains, and plant-based proteins. When I can eat a vegan meal, that is better than a vegetarian meal. Which is why I tried this Butternut Squash Tex-Mex Chili. This chili doesn’t have any meat in it, but you won’t notice it! You could probably serve it at a family meal and no one would know the difference! 

With Tennessee sprinting into winter, these cold days have put me in the mood for something warm and hearty. When I came across this recipe, I knew I needed to try it. When it snowed yesterday, I couldn’t think of a better pairing.

The Recipe

For starters, this recipe calls for crumbled Morningstar Tex-Mex Vegan Burgers. Well, my local Kroger didn’t have them (I’ll bet H-E-B would, though!). So, instead, I used Beyond Meat Feisty Plant-Based Beef Crumbles. Personally, I think they worked better than broken up veggie burgers. The consistency was more “ground beef” texture.

The ingredients for this recipe are as follows:

  • 2 cups of pre-cut butternut squash cubes (one-inch cubes)
  • ½ a yellow or white onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups of low-sodium or no-salt-added vegetable broth or vegetable stock
  • 1 15-ounce can of no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 12-ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1 -15 ounce can of no-salt-added diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted diced canned tomatoes)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 MorningStar Farms Tex-Mex Vegan Burgers (I used Beyond Meat Feisty Plant-Based Beef Crumbles)
  • spices: 1 tsp. chili powder, ⅛ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • optional topping: cilantro, avocado slices, and/or additional spices if you like

In addition, I added a can of Great Northern Beans, a Poblano pepper, mushrooms, and fresh garlic. Seriously, I can’t remember a dish that I didn’t use fresh garlic and onions.

This chili is so simple and so fast. I made a double batch in about 30 minutes. 

In the recipe, they have you beginning with a quarter cup of vegetable stock in your pot and simmering it with your onions. I think I probably would add the peppers to the simmer, as well, to bring out more of the flavor. 

Since I didn’t use the veggie patties, I didn’t need to preheat the oven. Instead, I added the “beef” crumbles to the pot after the onions had been simmering for a couple of minutes, or until the onions became a little brown/translucent. 

Next, I added all the good stuff – the veggies! I put everything in raw, so no need to roast the squash prior or anything. The mixture is a bit watery at first, but that is what it is supposed to look like. Let it simmer/low boil for about 20 minutes or until the chili has thickened to a consistency that you like. 

There are only a couple of things I would change in this recipe. I would definitely add some more heat to it and include maybe a teaspoon of salt. When I make this again, I will add jalapeños, for sure (actually kind of surprised to call this a “tex-mex” chili and NOT include jalapeños!). 

Truly, I wish I had more pictures to share with you. Sometimes taking pictures is hard to remember when I’m meal prepping, making baby food, and trying to keep my son happy. But, I can tell you for sure that this recipe is delicious and we will definitely be making it again!

The only picture I got of this beautiful and delicious vegan chili!

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