Recipe Round-Up: Texas Chili

Photo by dasroofless. Licensed under creative commons

It’s a bit repetitive to include “Texas” in the title there. Of course any chili on a blog about Texas will be Texas chili. But Texas chili, real Texas chili, poses special problems for vegans. Traditionally, Texas chili contains no beans, and beans are the basis for most vegetarian chilis. But vegans are creative, and we don’t let a pesky problem like this bother us. Here are the best beanless vegan chilis from around the web, each purist in its own way.

But first the rules. Besides no beans, Texas chili can’t have any vegetables. So no recipes that include corn or zucchini. We’ll let onions and tomatoes slide, but the veg meat should be the star of the show.

First up is this chili from the crew at Radical Eats in Houston. This recipe is an ode to Texas chili. It’s about the ingredients and the journey, and not about following directions. The chili features ground crumbles like Boca or Gimme Lean, though Staci says that tvp will work in a pinch. But really, you can’t go wrong with a recipe that begins with “Well you have to start with a really good veggie stock and lots and tons of onions,” and includes the option of cooking the chili “forever” or “half of forever” depending on your tomato choice.

Texas chili made with bulgur. Photo by mollyjade. Licensed under creative commons

The next recipe is mine (you knew that was coming!) I feel strongly about my Texas chili. Don’t even think about adding beans. I use bulgur, though I’ve also subbed tvp or a combo of tvp and bulgur for a lower carb version. My recipe was born out of a longing for real Texas chili despite the fact that several of my family members make great with bean chilis (my sister-in-law’s has hominy, it’s fantastic). Those other chilis just weren’t what I think of as chili. This cooks up fast and makes a mean Frito pie.

Texas chili made with Gardein beefless tips. Photo posted with permission from Vegan Chronicle

And the final Texas chili comes to us from Starr at The Vegan Chronicle. This recipe uses Gardein beefless tips and a Dutch oven for a recipe that probably comes closest to the slow stewed chuck wagon chili made with tough cuts of meat on Texas cattle drives. For extra authenticity, use a cast-iron Dutch oven.

Three beanless vegan chilis made with three different kinds of veg meat. We still need a good seitan chili that stews in the pot to round things out.

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I can’t write a post about Texas chili without mentioning the Texas Vegetarian Chili Cook-off, now coming up on its 23rd year! This annual festival inspires all kinds of creative dishes, with every vegan ingredient known to man. Last year there was even a raw chili. They’re not all authentic, but they’re a great picture of the creativity and pride inherent to Texas vegan cooking.

Recipe Round-Up: Biscuits

It’s time for another round-up of your favorite vegan Texas recipes. Last edition was all things chicken-fried, and biscuits are just the thing to eat with chicken-fried seitan.

The biscuits I’m talking about are light, fluffy, and flakey. They might be a bit sweet, but they aren’t a scone. And they definitely aren’t a cookie to be eaten with tea.
Back in the day, when making food took up most of people’s time, biscuits were eaten when yeasted bread wasn’t available. They were usually beaten biscuits, because someone would beat the biscuits for half an hour or more. The beating would incorporate air into the biscuits making them lighter. But beaten biscuits weren’t anywhere near as light and fluffy as present day biscuits.
Nowadays, biscuits are made with baking powder and no one gets much of a workout making them. Biscuits go well with pretty much any Southern dish, but they’re a special breakfast treat when covered in country gravy.
Biscuits used to be the easy way to get bread, but with bread available at every grocery store, bakery, and farmers market, homemade biscuits are more of a splurge. Vegan Explosion shares her recipe for biscuits and her lazy Sunday philosophy to go with them.
Where’s the Revolution gives us a recipe for vegan buttermilk biscuits. According to her, the keys to good biscuits are high quality flour and a sharp biscuit cutter. This recipe holds a special place in my heart because it was my first biscuit success after several failed attempts. (Hint: don’t twist your biscuit cutter!)
JohnP from the I-40 Kitchen shares a twist on the traditional Southern biscuit: sourdough biscuits. The recipe starts out by fermenting yeast and soy yogurt. Don’t let the word ferment scare you off. JohnP walks you through the whole process, and his biscuits look amazingly fluffy.
And finally, Jewish Vegan spills the secret for flaky biscuits: folding the dough. She has the results to prove her point. Her biscuits show the characteristic rise and flakiness of a true Southern biscuit.

Recipe Round-Up: All Things Chicken-Fried

 

Chicken-fried steak is one of the most Texan foods out there. Despite the name, chicken-fried steak isn’t some turducken Frankenstein product. Traditionally it’s flattened cube steak battered, fried, and served covered with country gravy. In other words, it’s a steak fried in the manner of fried chicken.

Sometimes it’s made with chicken instead, and you end up with chicken-fried chicken. Which is nothing like fried chicken.

If you’re not from around these parts, you might call this dish country fried steak. And we’d probably let it pass.

Just because a Texan doesn’t eat meat anymore, it doesn’t mean they have to give up battering, frying, and gravy-ing their food. And when you’re vegan, the sky’s the limit for chicken-frying. If you can flatten it, we can chicken-fry it!

Here is a round-up of vegan chicken-fried recipes from Texans and honorary-Texans around the Web.

Shown at the top of the page, Morgan at Little House of Veggies chicken-fries seitan, though she suggests Gardein scallopini would work great instead. Don’t be fooled by the spinach in her photo, this is pure comfort food.

Chow Vegan shares a recipe for Chicken-Fried Portobello Mushrooms. Not into frying? She has a recipe for baked chicken-fried tofu with creamy gravy that’s lighter in calories and oil.

If you’re looking for something more traditional, Bok Choy Bohemia has a recipe that’s got her reaching for her seldom-used steak knives: Chicken-Fried Seitan.

And if you’re ambitious, Soundly Vegan has step-by-step instructions for homemade¬†Chicken-Fried Tofu Steak starting by making your own tofu. There’s a recipe for mushroom gravy to go with it, and while that’s not a Texas tradition, it looks tasty.

If you’re a little less ambitious, Ellen Degeneres has a recipe for Chicken-Fried Steak Bites¬†using Gardein. Enjoy them with a twist on the traditional white gravy: cashew gravy.
And finally, Austinites Cristen and Miguel out-Texan everyone with a post about chicken-fried seitan breakfast tacos at Tomorrow Austin.

Have a vegan Texas recipe you want to share or an idea for a recipe round-up? Email us at lonestarplate (at) gmail.com.