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Fast, Friendly & Vegan Big Game Chili

vegan chili

Big Game Chili

The game should be aggressive, your Chili needn’t be. I adapted this recipe from a 30 minute chili recipe I found in a Southern Living magazine years ago. This is so quick, so flavorful and loved by meat eaters and vegetarians alike. You don’t have to tell the meat eaters there is no meat in it, but when they ask for the recipe, you are gonna have to fess up. The flavors are very friendly and bold but not overly spicy. Of course you can adjust the spices to your liking. I personally like to taste food with the spice, not just spice. To be upfront, this is not a full on organic meal made with seasonal and local ingredients… sometimes things can’t be perfect. Especially when you want it fast and/or you are feeding a larger crowd. You do what you can. This makes a really great starter vegan recipe because it’s so easy and relatively inexpensive. This is one of my favorite Chili recipes!


1 T Olive Oil

1  14 oz package Gimme Lean Beef meat free – or your favorite brand of meatless beef crumbles

1/3 C Chili Seasoning Mix See Below

2 (14.5 oz) cans of Diced Tomatoes with Green Pepper, Celery and Onion I used Hunt’s brand

2 (8oz) cans Tomato Sauce I used Hunt’s brand

1 (15 .5 or 16 oz) can Dark Red Kidney Beans, undrained

1 (15.5 or 16 oz) can Light Red Kidney Beans, undrained


1 tub Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream for garnish. I like the non-hydrogenated version

Green onion or Chives diced for garnish

Daiya Cheese for garnish, cheddar flavor

Chili Seasoning Mix

3/4 C Chili Powder

2 T Ground Cumin

2 T Dried Oregano

2 T Dried Minced Onion

2 T Organic Sugar

2 T Dried Minced Garlic

2 T  Seasoned Salt such as Lawry’s

Place all ingredients into an airtight container and shake well to combine.

*Note This makes about 4 servings of spices so you can make this 3 more times! To make this recipe even faster next time, store the left over spices in a sealed  airtight container and keep in a cool dry place. Shake well before using. I personally halve this recipe. I use 1/3 C Chili Powder and a Tablespoon of each ingredient. I then have two batches. One for now and one for later.

Directionssmall vegan chili

Heat 1 T of Olive Oil in a medium to large stock pot over medium heat. Start browning the Gimme Lean.  I usually use a wooden spoon or other utensil to constantly break it up to smaller and smaller pieces.

Once the Gimme Lean is browned, sprinkle evenly with 1/3 cup of your pre-mixed chili seasoning and saute 1 minute over medium-high heat.

Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and undrained beans.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.

Top with favorite garnish and serve with a side of warm vegan cornbread!

Sometimes you just need a really fast recipe in your collection. Try making this recipe more homemade with fresh organic vegetables and organic sauces because that can certainly be done here! Please let me know how your chili turns out.


The Karmatarian~

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Need another great appetizer for the game? Try my popular Simple Mango Chutney

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Maple Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash with Tofu, Raisins and Walnuts

It’s been in the teens and single digits for days here in Chicago. I’m cold. I have a bad case of cabin fever and I’m craving some sort of comfort food. I was looking around the kitchen wondering what to do with that butternut squash just sitting over there… waiting for me. Stuck inside as it snowed yet again, it was a good time to be creative.

I was very impressed with the aroma’s that filled the house while this was roasting. I’m going to keep this in mind for a beautiful dish to present to guests. One whiff and they are sure to feel special.

Maple Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash with Tofu, Raisins and Walnuts


1 Medium Butternut Squash

1 14 oz Package Firm Organic Tofu, drained well and cut into 1/2″ cubes. I used Wildwood organic, high protein/super firm, no drain.

1/2-3/4 C Red Onion sliced in rings or largely diced

1/2 C Raisins

3/4 C Coarsely Chopped and Toasted Walnuts. I toasted mine in the toaster oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes

Prepared Quinoa or Short Grain Brown Rice for serving



3/4 C Olive Oil

1/2 C Organic Grade B Maple Syrup

1/4 C Rice Vinegar. I used Trader Joe’s Seasoned Rice Vinegar

1/4 C  Organic Soy Sauce. If you want this recipe to be gluten free, be sure to use gluten free soy sauce

1 tsp Jarred Crushed Garlic. You can use Fresh, 2 cloves, minced.

1+1/2 tsp Fresh Rosemary. I used fresh that I had previously frozen.

1 tsp Dried Thyme

1/2 – 1 tsp Cinnamon. I used 1 tsp



Sea Salt, Pepper, Agave. I added 1/8 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt and 1 tsp Agave. A dash of freshly ground Pepper.



Preheat oven to 450 degrees

First drain tofu ~ While tofu is sitting and draining, make your marinade. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Keep in mind that roasting will bring out the sweet maple flavor and the salty flavor ends up a little more diluted. I added salt just in case.

Cube your tofu and add to the marinade, cover and refrigerate for about a half hour. Preferably longer.

Next, while the tofu is marinating, toast the walnuts and set aside. Peel the butternut squash. Be sure to use a good peeler to prevent an unnecessary headache. This is where  I grew frustrated in the past and would hesitate to make squash recipes. I recently found an awesome peeler called the Titan, that really does the trick! Cut the peeled squash in half lengthwise, clean and then cut into 1/2 inch cubes. The smaller the pieces the faster it will roast. You want bite size pieces for this dish.

When the marinade is ready, add the cubed squash, red onion and raisins to the tofu marinade and fold gently to coat everything. Be careful not to break apart your pretty tofu cubes. Once coated, transfer to a very shallow baking pan. I used a Jelly Roll pan. You can pour on every last drop of marinade or use a slotted spoon *see note below. Spread out evenly and put on middle rack of the preheated oven and roast for 12-15 minutes. Remove and carefully use a spatula to flip over as best as you can and put it back to roast for another 12-15 minutes.

When done roasting, transfer it all to a beautiful serving dish. Serve alone, over Quinoa or Brown Rice and top with the toasted walnuts for delicious added texture.

I divided my soy sauce in half with Bragg Liquid Aminos to reduce sodium.   You can use all Soy, all Braggs, Tamari, or Nama Shoyu or whatever you prefer. After all, cooking is your art.

*NOTE: You can make a side of Quinoa or Short Grain Brown Rice for this dish. Or it tastes great on it’s own. I added 1/4 cup more oil to equal 1 cup and made sure to use every last drop of marinade to roast this so I would have extra sauce to serve over brown rice, which gives an Asian feel or Quinoa for a modern comfort food feel. If you prefer to eat it alone, you may consider using a slotted spoon to lay it out on the roasting pan so it won’t end up too saucy or oily in the end.


~The Karmatarian

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Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Salad Over Red Quinoa with Cilantro Dressing

I made this new dish tonight that was very inspiring! You can enjoy this as an appetizer or main dish. Cinco de Mayo is around the corner, and this dish would be perfect for a party.

This dish was adapted and altered from the back of a Trader Joe’s Organic Red Quinoa box. Thank you Joe! The dressing recipe was altered from a Betty Crocker recipe I found. Thank you Betty! This could be served as a salad or as a main dish like I enjoyed it tonight. The warm red quinoa was amazing. This dish is beautiful, different and deliciously vegan!

Updated on 6/24/13 – to make life easier. I just made this dish again over the weekend and tweaked the measurements and rewrote the directions to make it simpler to follow. I am happy to report, this dish was a hit as usual!

Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Salad Over Red Quinoa with Cilantro Dressing


  • 2 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Cup Red Quinoa, cooked in vegetable broth (above)
  • 1, 15 oz Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Cups Frozen Sweet Corn Kernels, thawed
  • 1 Avocado, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 Cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 Cup Red Onion, finely diced
  • Zest of 1 Lime
  • 1/3 Cup Cilantro, chopped
  • Cilantro Dressing (recipe below)
  • Sea Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Chopped Cilantro for garnish – optional


Cook quinoa with broth according to package directions.

While quinoa is cooking, combine beans, corn, avocado, tomatoes and onion, lime zest and cilantro. Add the Cilantro dressing (recipe below) and toss gently. Taste, and add sea salt as needed to bring out the flavors. It may not need much more. I added a little over 1 tsp more.

When quinoa is cooked, drizzle with olive oil, mix and spread evenly onto a large platter and top with the bean salad. Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired. 

Cilantro Dressing

  • 1/3 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs Finely Chopped Cilantro
  • 3 Tbs White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 – 3 tsp Agave Nectar

Place all the above ingredients into a container with tight fitting lid and shake. Taste and adjust.

Let the quinoa cool before topping it if serving as a salad, or top it and eat it warm right away! Mmmmm. Mmm



~The Karmatarian

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