In the new book, Blissful Basil: Over 100 Plant-Powered Recipes to Unearth Vibrancy, Health, and Happiness, Ashley Melillo shares her struggle with anxiety and how “swapping meat, dairy, and processed foods for a vibrant rainbow of whole foods—has played an important role in fostering my well-being.”
Blissful Basil offers a vibrant journey through vegan cooking, where delicious plant-based foods become the colorful foundation for meals that nourish the body and delight the senses.
Today we’re excited to share an easy vegan chili recipe from the book (below). This chili requires just 15 minutes of active prep time and then you can sit back, relax, and occasionally give it a stir. It’s the perfect meal to have simmering in the background on a lazy Sunday afternoon while you binge-watch House of Cards (Frank Underwood, you scare me, but I just can’t quit you).
This vegan chili recipe garners its meatiness from walnuts and sun-dried tomatoes that have been pulsed into a crumble and sautéed with onions, peppers, tomatoes, beans, and an array of spices. Balsamic vinegar and tamari deepen both the flavor and the color of the chili. The balsamic enhances the complexity of the chili’s acidity and mingles with the tomatoes in the loveliest of ways, while the tamari adds an enticing umami quality. A lengthy simmer time melds the flavors together, and then it’s time to serve. Spoon this chili into bowls, pile on the toppings, and serve with a hefty handful of tortilla chips for dipping!
- 2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil or vegetable broth
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and diced
- 1 medium poblano pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
- 1 cup raw walnut pieces
- 3 ounces no-salt-added, dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 (28-ounce) cans unsalted whole peeled tomatoes in juice
- 2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1–2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or coconut sugar
- Sliced avocado
- Halved grape tomatoes
- Thinly sliced scallions
- Fresh cilantro, stemmed and chopped
- Crushed tortilla chips
- Cashew Sour Cream (see below)
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1/2–3/4 cup filtered water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1–2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon tahini
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, red peppers, and poblano pepper, and sauté for 6 minutes, or until the peppers are just beginning to soften and the onions are generously flecked with golden-brown edges, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, add the walnuts and sun-dried tomatoes to a food processor and pulse 30 times, or until roughly minced and crumbly. Transfer to the stockpot along with the garlic, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, sea salt, and coriander. Decrease the heat to medium-low and sauté for 4 minutes, or until the spices are wafting a rich, toasted scent, stirring frequently.
- Add the whole peeled tomatoes with juice and bring to a simmer, using a spoon to thoroughly crush them to the desired size as they heat. Add the kidney beans, black beans, and water, and continue to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Then, stir in the balsamic vinegar, tamari, and maple syrup, and decrease the heat to medium-low. Partially cover, leaving the lid askew, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
- Cover completely and continue to simmer for at least another 45 minutes but preferably 1 hour or longer, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Taste and season with more sea salt, if desired.
- Ladle into bowls, layer on the toppings, and get cozy. Refrigerate leftovers up to 4 days or freeze for up to 1 month.
- Add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend on high for 2–3 minutes, or until completely smooth. Transfer to an airtight jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To keep this dish oil-free, opt for vegetable broth instead of olive oil.
- To keep this dish nut-free, use raw shelled sunflower seeds instead of walnuts and omit the Cashew Sour Cream.
- To keep this dish soy-free, swap out the reduced-sodium tamari for coconut aminos.
- If you’re not using a high-speed blender (e.g., Vitamix or Blendtec), soak the cashews in water for 2 hours or boil them for 10 minutes to soften before blending.
- Got leftovers? This chili is even better on the second day after the flavors have mingled overnight!
Vegan chili recipe reprinted from Blissful Basil by arrangement with BenBella Books. Copyright © 2016, Ashley Melillo. Photo by Ashley Melillo.