Delicious and Easy Veggie Chili Recipe (Crock Pot). Unique Ingredients Make This Dish!

Chili.  Not the most creative dish, and almost everybody knows how to make it.  There are a gazillion recipes out there, and I’ve tried many of them (the ones without meat, of course). For whatever reason, I’ve never been completely satisfied with any of the chili dishes I’ve made, whether I followed a recipe or made it up myself.  I always felt like there was something missing, and I couldn’t describe or figure out what that something was.  Also, I always made it too spicy, and as I’ve said many times, I’m a spice wimp.  All this changed last night.  Finally!

The mushrooms and cauliflower may sound like strange additions but trust me, they work. You can’t really taste them but they add a nice texture and I’m sure contribute to the overall flavor.  The real secret in the great flavor, I believe, comes from the baked beans and liquid smoke.  The fresh corn is a great addition, especially now when corn is in season.  Add more chili powder and maybe some cayenne if you like your chili spicy.  Try it and let me know what you think.

Guilt-Free Bacon? OH YES!

Back when I ate animal foods, I never ate pork – except on rare occasions if it was in the form of a BLT.  Bacon alone grossed me out but on that sandwich…yum!  How silly is that?  Reminds me of the mentality I had towards chicken – I could eat a boneless chicken breast no problem, but give me chicken on the bone and forget it!  It’s amazing what we can talk ourselves into, or out of, in order to ease our conscience.  Anyway, when I discovered tempeh bacon I was so excited to be able to eat BLT’s again, and more than occasionally since it’s not unhealthy! There are several varieties of ‘fake bacon’ out there, but the majority of them are highly processed and not what I’d call healthy (with the exception of Fakin Bacon by Lightlife, which is made from tempeh).

In case you aren’t familiar with tempeh, it is a traditional soy product originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans and usually a grain into a cake form.  It has a high content of fiber, protein and vitamins and a unique, earthy flavor with a very firm texture.  I recommend steaming the tempeh prior to cooking to remove some of the bitterness, as well as to help it absorb flavors of marinades, etc.

In a pinch I will buy Fakin Bacon, however it’s about double the cost of making it myself from plain tempeh.  If I do use the pre-made bacon, I never cook it according to the package instructions as it calls for frying in oil.  See recipe below for details.