Vegan Chili Bake

Guajillo chiles, ancho chiles, tomatoes, pinto beans, corn, scallions, a bit of vegan cheese and a cornmeal outer crust makes for a hearty, gluten free, plant based meal.   I love a bowl of chili.  Who doesn't?  Wouldn't it make a nice casserole?  Indeed!  Top it with avocados, vegan sour cream, or even a bit of lime juice, and you're on to something.

Guajillo chiles and ancho chiles are both quite mild and a touch fruity.  Ancho chiles taste a bit like raisins, and guajillo chiles taste somewhat like tart berries.  Together, they are a powerhouse without being overly hot.  Both dried chiles can be found in the Hispanic section of most large chain grocery stores.  For this recipe, I used the El Guapo brand.

If you prefer a spicier sauce, add some jalapeño to the mix during the blending process; otherwise, this could be considered a mild sauce.  If your sauce tastes a bit too bitter, add some vinegar and/or sweetener until it tastes right to you.  For a variation, add a cup of broken up soy curls with the pinto beans, corn, and scallions.  

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Vegan Chili Bake


6 guajillo chiles, soaked with stems and seeds removed

1 ancho chile, soaked with stems and seeds removed

5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

¼ tsp dried Mexican oregano

1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes, completely drained of juice

1 ¾ cups fake chicken broth

1 tsp agave

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Salt, to taste

1 15 ounce can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen corn

4 scallions, chopped

½ cup shredded vegan cheese

Cornbread Topping:

1 cup non-dairy milk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 cups cornmeal

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

¼ cup nutritional yeast

¼ cup green part of scallion, chopped

1 Tbsp agave

¼ cup canola oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.  In a large heavy pot or dutch oven, add olive oil, garlic, onion, a dash of salt and oregano over low heat.  Sauté for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.  Add chiles, drained tomatoes, and fake chicken broth.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  

2. Once everything is done simmering, add to a blender and blend until smooth.  Return to the pot, and stir in agave and apple cider vinegar.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  If too bitter for you, add a bit more vinegar and agave.  Stir in pintos, corn and scallions.  Grease a 8 X 12 baking dish, and pour in the chili mixture.  Sprinkle with vegan cheese, and set aside.

3. Moving on to the "cornbread topping", mix the apple cider vinegar into the non-dairy milk, and allow the milk to curdle (about 3-5 minutes).  While the milk is curdling, add cornmeal, salt, baking soda and nutritional yeast to a large mixing bowl and combine.  Create a well in the center, and add milk mixture, green parts of a scallion, agave, and canola oil.  Stir until just combined.

4. Pour the cornbread mixture over the chili mixture, and spread evenly.  Bake at 400 F for 30-40 minutes or until the cornbread mixture is set.  Remove from the oven, and serve with sliced avocado and vegan sour cream.

Vegan Chili Bake