I know. Seriously, I know. Chili can't have beans in it. Chili is all about meat. Chili can't have beans AND be meatless! What is wrong with you, woman? Well, lots. I'm a legitimate mess, but I promise you this recipe is delicious, filling, and satisfying. It's also healthy and high in protein, which helps you keep your 2018 resolutions. Even better, it makes a shockingly delicious meal out of vegetables most people think they don't like, and it's beloved by eaters of all ages. If you want to add some meat to it, by all means! You'll still be getting your veggies.
The Seasoned Cynic's Vegan Chili
3 tbsp. olive oil
Soy sauce - at least 5 tbsp., but more likely 6-8*
Zest of 3 limes
2 medium onions (either yellow or sweet), diced
1 (7 oz.) can of diced green chiles
1 lb. mushrooms, diced or quartered
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed off, diced or quartered
1 (12 oz.) beer (preferably one you'd like to drink)
1 (15 oz.) can plain tomato sauce
1 standard (approximately 15.25 ounce) can of corn, drained
2 standard (approximately 15 ounce) cans black beans, one drained
2 standard (approximately 15 ounce) cans chickpeas, drained
1 qt. vegetable stock
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. garlic chili sauce or sriracha
1 tbsp. honey, optional - it rounds out the flavors and keeps Brussels sprout bitterness in check
1. In a 6 quart pot over medium-high heat, sauté the onions until softened with the olive oil, 2 tbsp. of soy sauce, and the zest of 1 lime. Add in the green chiles and sauté for a couple of minutes, then add in the Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, zest of another lime, and 2 more tablespoons of soy sauce. Cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Once the vegetables in the pot are softened, allow the liquid to reduce until the bottom starts to caramelize (do NOT let it burn) before pouring in the beer. Stir well and make sure nothing is sticking to the pot. Bring to a boil and stir in the smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, garlic chili sauce, and honey (if using). Allow this to reduce for a few minutes.
3. Add in the corn, black beans, chickpeas, tomato sauce, zest of the third lime, and 1 more tablespoon of soy sauce. Stir will, then add in the vegetable stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and allow the chili to simmer for about an hour and a half, stirring frequently.
4. Once the liquid has reduced by about an inch and you have a gorgeous chili, taste it and add more soy sauce as needed until it's properly salted to your liking. (I typically use 6-7 tablespoons total when I prepare this recipe.) At this point, you can also stir in more garlic chili sauce/hot sauce if you like it spicier. No need for a garnish, but a squeeze of lime juice wouldn't hurt anybody.
Notes: If the finished product is too sweet for you, add in a tablespoon or two of cider vinegar. If it's too acidic or too bitter, add a little light brown sugar or honey. It's ok to mess with the recipe a little to suit your taste.
*The amount of soy sauce varies because the ingredients used can vary - some canned items are salty and some are low or no sodium. Broth is the same way. Use at least 5 tablespoons of soy sauce throughout the cooking process to layer flavor, but know that you can end up using 6-8 tablespoons total before it tastes properly seasoned. Mushrooms and Brussels sprouts need lots of flavoring!
This chili is great when you first make it, but it's dynamite reheated after a night in the fridge. You may need to stir in some more soy sauce if it tastes less seasoned than it did the day you made it.