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minimalist chili

Quick and Easy Vegan Chili and Cornbread


Whew! It's been a while and so much has changed. The past two months have been one wild ride road tripping around California, staying with friends in NorCal, getting an offer to work and live with said friends and then settling into our space. Mendocino county is a world away from Los Angeles and it could not be a more welcome change, I even get to spend most days making food in a professional kitchen. The ocean, the trees, the people and the whole vibe is just a relaxed, magical wonderland. More on all of that soon, but let's get to what you came here for...chili. 

Wait...hang on...not done yet, but I'm getting to something about chili I promise.

...the thing I like most about rural living is the instant sense of community- people help each other, share with each other and connect on a level that wasn't quite so common in busy SoCal. From the start, we have had the opportunity to spend time with amazing people. On one such occasion early in our stay I made this quick and easy meal with minimal ingredients and not a lot of equipment. It's one of those one-pot dishes that can stretch to feed many, many mouths quickly and efficiently - even with seconds (and thirds) involved. I have thrown a variation of this together for a while now, with somewhat more fancy preparation, but sometimes simple is best and the addition of corn bread makes everyone happy. No one even noticed it was oil-free and vegan. It might not be the most complex, gorgeous thing I have ever made but take a lesson from my new home and the wonderful people who live here - it's about what's on the inside that counts.

Make this for your next big get-together and let me know how many hugs you get!


  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 red onion
  • 2-4 small yellow squash
  • 2 large Portabello mushrooms, or 6 small 
  • 1 ear of corn ( cut off the cob)
  • 2 16 oz. can kidney or red beans
  • 1 20 oz. can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • 1 18 oz. can salsa
  • 1.5 cups water
  • Garlic powder, chili powder, salt, pepper to taste
  • Optional: cilantro, roasted red peppers, any type of greens, etc.

Stovetop Cornbread

  • 2 packages cornbread mix 

*READ THE INGREDIENTS: some brands have egg, milk or lard already in the dry mix. Trader Joes, Bob's Red Mill and many others are vegan though!

  • Replace how ever many eggs the recipe calls for with flax eggs
  • Replace milk/water with almond milk
  • Replace oil with equal amount mashed banana
  • Optional: chili powder, chopped jalapeno pepper, vegan cheese, cilantro, salsa, garlic, etc.

To make the cornbread:

1. Preheat your oven to 350*F and mix all ingredients above together. 

2. Lightly grease a cast iron skillet with coconut oil or vegan butter, and begin to heat on the stove top. Add in your cornbread mixture (and try to avoid eating all of the batter)

3. Turn the heat up to high and cover with tin foil. 

4. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the batter starts to pull away from the sides. 

5. Turn off the flame, remove the tin foil and transfer your cast iron skillet finish off in the oven for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown.

*If you don't have a cast iron skillet, cook your corn bread in the oven according to the packaged directions.

To make the chili:

1. In a large pot, cook the onion in a little bit of water and add your spices. 

2. Add all liquid ingredients to the pot and bring to a simmer.

2. Chop the veggies and add them to the pot. 

3. Let simmer until veggies are tender.

4. Turn off the heat and add your beans, stir to distribute and heat through. Serve!






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