As a kid, my mom made some amazing chili, it was seriously deeelicious! However, I had a particular way that I enjoyed eating it. It always started with a layer of plain elbow macaroni noodles, a slice of American cheese, then topped with a ladle of chili. To this day, this is how I prefer to eat a bowl of chili (sub the American cheese for a homemade vegan cheese sauce)… some things never change, and today I’m sharing a classic chili recipe that can be made in the crock pot.
My favorite time of year to make chili is just when the seasons start to change, and the temperature starts to drop. You can make this chili on the stove top, and I posted a recipe for this ages ago… but here is a recipe on how to make vegan chili using a crock pot. The nice thing about using a crock pot is that it allows you to do a little prep work early on in the day, and then that’s it. Not much fuss at dinner time. I’d say that’s an ideal situation for those busy times….(such as for Halloween, when you know that you’ll be busy getting the kids ready to go Trick-or-Treating after school).
To start this dish, first turn the crock pot to high. Then chop a half of an onion and some red and green peppers and put them in a skillet with a little oil. Sauté for a few minutes until the onions become translucent, and then add minced garlic. Cook for about a minutes longer.
Add the beans to the crock pot.
Open one can of diced tomatoes, and pour it into the pan that was used to cook the veggies. With a wooden spoon (or even a rubber spatula!), scrape any of the spices and bits that may have been left behind. This one step will heat up the tomatoes, which in turn will speed up the overall cooking time of the chili. How about that trick?!?
When the tomatoes begin to bubble, remove the pan from the stove and carefully pour the tomatoes into the crock pot.
Pour in one cup of hot water and add an Edwards and Sons bouillon cube. Today I used the Garden Veggie flavor, but the Not-Chick’n or the Not-Beef would work, too.
Add two bay leaves and then stir. Let the chili cook for about 5 hours.
Add a pinch or two of sugar and stir. When ready to serve, add additional salt to taste.
About twenty minutes before dinner, start the cheese sauce and the macaroni (follow the cooking instructions on the package of the noodles). The sauce recipe that I’ve been using for several years is very similar to the video from BuzzFeed.
However, with that said… there are a few differences between my cheese sauce and the BuzzFeed cheese sauce… In addition to the cashews, I also use a half cup of canellini beans and finish the sauce with the juice from half of a lemon or lime (I like lime better). The citrus gives the sauce a tang…like cheddar. I don’t use salt while blending, because I boil the veggies (carrots, onions, and garlic clove) in salted water, and then I use the cooking liquid to thin the sauce while blending. (Recipe below)
Once you’ve made a cheese sauce there’s no going back!.. It’s so delicious, and great for sooo many different foods… Like Philly Cheese Steaks (recipe to come!!), or soft pretzels, nachos, broccoli and cauliflower…
Anyways… feel free to assemble your bowl of chili to your liking…. but if it were me… it’s first the macaroni, then a drizzle of the cheese sauce, and lastly the chili. Garnish with your favorite toppings such as fresh onion, avocado, and/or crushed tortilla chips.
Note: Feel free to use the cheese sauce for just a great home style Mac and Cheese… that’s delish, too. However, give it a few cracks of fresh black pepper. It will knock your socks off.
- Chili Ingredients
- 1 can black beans
- 1 can kidney beans
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 onion diced
- 1/2 green pepper
- 1/4 red pepper
- 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Edwards and Sons bouillon cube
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- This recipe is inspired from a recipe in the cookbook, Vegan Comfort Food," by Alicia Simpson. While the recipe in the cookbook is delightful, I have omitted all of the oil to make this a healthier sauce.
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1/2 cup cannellini beans (freeze leftover beans for later use... like more CHEESE SAUCE!!)
- 1 potato peeled and dice
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 small piece of onion
- 1 garlic smashed (skin removed)
- 1/8th of a red pepper
- salted water from boiling the veggies
- juice from half a lime
- Chili Instructions
- Turn the crock pot to high.
- Dice onions and peppers and add them to a hot skillet with oil. Once the onions are translucent, add the garlic. Cook for a minute longer. Add the chili powder, cumin, and oregano to the pan and stir. Let cook for one minute on low. Place the contents into the crock pot. Add the beans to the crock pot.
- In the same pan that was used to cook the veggies, empty the contents of one can of diced tomatoes and turn the burner to medium heat. With a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, remove from heat and pour contents into the crock pot.
- Pour one cup of water into the crock pot, and add one Edwards and Sons bouillon cube to the crock pot. Add two bay leaves to the chili and stir. Cover the crock pot with the lid and let cook for about 5 hours. Before serving, add a pinch or two of sugar and stir. Taste for salt. Serve immediately, or turn the crock pot to low until ready to serve.
- Soak cashews in water for 3-4 hours in water and drain. (Skip this step if you have a heavy duty blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec).
- Boil carrots, potatoes, onions, and garlic in salted water until fork tender.
- Fill blender with cashews and beans (rinsed and drained). With a slotted spoon, add the boiled veggies and piece of (raw) red pepper. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the salted cooking water to the veggie mixture (start with a 1/2 cup and add more liquid if necessary). Blend on high until smooth. Squeeze in the juice of half of a lime. Check the consistency of the cheese sauce. If it's too thick, pour in more water a little at a time. Serve over macaroni noodles.
- Note: If using a non-heavy duty blender, boil the red pepper with the other veggies.
- Enjoy! ???