One of my first tasks as a new vegetarian was already the one I was dreading: trying to prepare a simple dinner that isn’t a time suck. In trying to figure out how to create two variations (yes, a his and hers) of the same dish without too much additional work, I stumbled on my first success since returning to team veg, with good ole fashioned chili.
I won’t call this a recipe, because chili is such a personal project. Everyone makes it their own way, seasons it differently, and has specific preferences for heat. As such, let’s talk in ingredient generalities. My base is only several varieties of beans, sometimes corn, my own superb blends of spices, and quality tomato sauce. My gentleman is not a fan of most chili additives like peppers, onions, or chunks of tomatoes. I rectified that in my own batch of chili later, but for my base, that’s what went in the crock pot.
I halved a package of firm tofu, and saved the plain half with its water in one container. (Though, I do find that marinading a few segments in different spices while all of my supplies and tools are out can be pretty efficient). To the other half, I added Sriracha chili sauce, garlic, chunky garden salsa that replaced all of the veggies I mentioned above, chili powder, paprika, and cumin, and gave the concoction a good shake before returning it to the fridge.
On the stovetop, we made a batch of chili meat with a half pound of ground turkey and the same spices used for my tofu. Preparing meat was an added step because I wouldn’t have been eating it otherwise, but a month ago it was just another part of the recipe, so I didn’t consider it too much hassle. Once the meat was browned and then cooled, it was also set aside. I added a few spoonful of chili base to the container to keep the turkey from drying out.
Each time one of us wanted a bowl of chili, there was already a cozy crock of it waiting on the counter. A few spoonfuls of ground turkey for him, or tofu and veggie marinade for me, went into the bowl first, microwaved just a moment. His chili was savory but not too spicy for his particular palate, while mine was super spicy and managed to squeeze in all the stuff I want in a bowl of chili. –Casandra Armour