Vegetarian Tofu Chili

As the Holidays come to an end and the weather turns from cool to downright frigid, a warm bowl of chili becomes all the more inviting.

While I was in Cincinnati, I made a version of that city’s namesake chili.  In that effort, I used ground turkey to thicken the chili and give it that hearty depth.

This year, Caitlin and I have been striving to eat less meat, all the while giving our meals the same strong flavors.  In this case, the tofu works as a perfect substitute for ground beef or turkey, making this vegetarian chili worthy of any meat-lover’s dinner table.

Ladle a few spoonfuls into a large mug or bowl, garnish with strips of toasted whole wheat bread, and cup your hands around the warm, smoky, taste.


PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 40 minutes
YIELD: Serves 6

1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 poblano pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 small jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
2 cups water
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 to 2 teaspoons ground chipotle chili
1 to 2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 dashes of Tabasco Sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste


Arrange tofu on a large plate lined with 3 or 4 paper towels and top with more paper towels. Press firmly to release as much water as possible from the tofu. Discard paper towels, crumble tofu and set aside.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat. Add poblano, onion, and jalapeño, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients (including the crumbled tofu) and stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened and flavors have melded, about 30 to 40 minutes.  Ladle chili into bowls and serve.  Garnish with strips of toasted bread.


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