Quick Vegetarian TVP Chili

Winner of the Brokeback Mountain
Chili Cook-off Festival
This will probably not win the "Waco, Texas Big Ol' Barby-cue n' Chili Bakeoff" competition. But I guarantee no animals will be harmed during the production of this chili. It's a compliment to the Nutrela stew found elsewhere on The Recipeless Cook, where you can read about TVP in more detail. The notable difference, is this recipe uses a smaller form of TVP, "TVP granules". Which can be found in health food stores, or the health food aisle of your grocery store. They're even sold in organic version (which is wise, because soybeans today are usually from genetically-modified crops). Once cooked, the granules are  intended to resemble ground beef. They do a fine job of adding taste and texture to this chili. Without the added fat or hormones etc. added to the beef.

The beauty of this chili, is not just that it tastes delicious, or that it's healthier than traditional recipes, or low in cost, but that it can be a relied on as a last-minute supper idea. When you don't even have the time to think of supper ideas. So long as you keep beans and TVP in the pantry, you've got three-quarters of the ingredients here ready made. The rest is a few quick chops, and in the pot it goes. Let it simmer while you take a shower or watch the news, and you're done, in lickety-split time. It's a good choice for a family or pot-luck dinner, and don't be surprised if your carnivorous guests think there's meat in it! (Just tell 'em it's snake meat, they'll like that... And if they figure out it's some kind of veggietarian thing, tell them you were mentally putting quotes around the term "snake meat").

Substitutions: To season, you can use some or all of the spices suggested, or your favorite chili spices. Eliminate the cayenne and red pepper flakes if you don't like heat. Substitute spaghetti or tomato sauce if you prefer (but try the soup!). Use a smaller (19oz) can of kidney beans and another 19oz can of pinto beans, if you like. Or use vegetable broth instead of water. And if you really can't find TVP granules in your area.... try harder. But if you still can't find TVP.... you haven't tried hard enough. However, if you've tried harder and tried again and still can't find the TVP, and the closest you've come is finding a package of "Tony's Veal Parmesan"... ok, then try tofu.


1 large can (28 oz) kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 reg. can (19 oz) tomato soup (ie. Campbell's)
1 onion, large, chopped
1 celery, diced
1 bell pepper (ie. red), small but chunky dice
1 carrot, small dice
2-3 garlic cloves, cut how you like
olive / vegetable oil
1/2 cup TVP (aka "Nutrela", aka "Soy Protein"), granule size


1 T mexican chili powder
1 t paprika
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground coriander
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/4-1/2t red pepper flakes
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t Lemon juice (opt)
bay leaves
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper



Place the TVP granules in a sauce pot with plenty of water to cover. Simmer for 5 min., drain, rinse.


In a medium or large pot on med-low heat, sweat the onions, carrot, bell pepper and celery in 1 or 2T oil (sauté onions until soft and transparent, but do not let brown). Add all the dry spices (except the bay leaf/leaves). Cook, stirring for one minute. Add the beans, along with the can of tomato soup and 1 1/2 cups of water, and finally the bay leaf/leaves. Simmer for 30 min, or until the flavors develop, and it reaches a nice chili consistency. Ten minutes before the chili is done, add in the TVP granules, worcestershire sauce and lemon juice (if using), let simmer for 10 min.

"I learned to drive on those East Texas red clay backroads
And I mean to tell you my friends
They were no easy roads
You had to watch out for all the curves
Down by Kelsey creek
And detour through the Lindsay's pasture
When the water ran too deep "

- "Memories of East Texas"
: Michelle Shocked


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