Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wendy's Vegan Chili Mac Recipe

Hi friends! It has been WAY too long since I posted a new recipe.  Lately I have been preparing a lot of things that I have already written about and, the new things that I have tried making have been, well, less than blogworthy. So I'm really excited to tell you about something delicious called Chili Mac, for those of you that have never heard of it.

I first was introduced to the concept by a co-worker who was participating in the 28-day Engine 2 Challenge at Whole Foods with me. She found a recipe on FatFreeVegan and recommended it, suggesting it might be good for my 10-year-old daughter who was also participating in the challenge with us. She was so right, my daughter loved it. Me, I thought it was okay, but not worth making a second time. Check out that recipe here at  FatFreeVegan Chili Mac

So when my friend Jill was asking for dinner ideas for her family I brought it up. And I thought, it's such a great concept for a healthy meal, I need to give it another go. So I printed out a few vegan chili mac recipes from the Internet and came up with my own, using the ingredients that I know I like. I suggest you do the same. Just like my vegan enchilada recipe, chili mac is super easy to customize!

I decided to go with a meat replacement product called "Gimme Lean." I've used it before and I couldn't recall whether or not I liked it. Eating these types of vegan meat substitutes is something I try to really limit. Too many ingredients, a little too high in salt. But I wanted to see if I could make a Vegan Chili Mac recipe that the whole family would love, and this really helped. Next time I make this, and there will be a next time, I am going to use a meat substitute like Morningstar Farms  Veggie Crumbles. I just like the consistency of that product better.

Wendy's Vegan Chili Mac
serves 8

8 ounces whole wheat elbow macaroni (I used Barilla Plus)
1 large onion, chopped
3 Tbsp vegetable broth or water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 package frozen Morningstar Farms Veggie Crumbles or 1 chub Gimme Lean Ground Sausage
10 ounces frozen corn
1 25.5 ounce (or more) jar of your favorite tomato sauce
1 bunch kale, rinsed, hard stems removed and sliced thin
1 cup (or more) water
1 can kidney beans, washed and drained (I used a 20 ounce can, but a 15 ounce can is fine too)
1 Tbsp chili powder (mild, med or hot--your preference)
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
optional: Cayenne pepper or red chili flakes, to taste-be careful, you can always add more

Cook macaroni according to package directions and set aside.

Place a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add vegetable broth. When bubbling, add chopped onion. Stirring frequently and watching the heat (we are looking for browning, not burning), cook until onions are translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and stir. Add a few Tbsp water or broth if pan is too dry as you are sauteing the onions and garlic.

Add veggie crumbles or veggie sausage. The veggie sausage will take more work to break it up and brown. The veggie crumbles just require stirring to cook and brown. Once browned, add corn and stir.

Turn heat to low. Add tomato sauce and at least 1 cup of water. Add kale and stir. Add beans and stir. Add cooked elbow macaroni and stir. Season with 1 Tbsp. chili powder, 1 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp salt and if desired, a pinch of Cayenne pepper or red chili flakes. 

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