Autumn is here. The Yukon experiences seasons differently than other parts of Canada do.

Our southern friends won’t start gearing up for fall until the end of September, but here in the north this lovely season comes in mid-August. Currently the trees are ablaze with neon yellow – stretching as far as the eye can see.

What compliments fall better than a staple comfort food, chili? Served up at tailgates, barbecues, potlucks and even Thanksgiving, this versatile dish is commonplace among Canadians no matter when fall hits.

Since becoming a vegan a few months ago I thought it would be neat to try out a vegan chili. Carnivores: hold your breath, you may actually be surprised at how good meatless chili can taste.

To begin, I chop two onions and sauté them with four cups of sliced of white mushrooms. Sautéing the mushrooms can be done with olive oil or soy margarine; I use a bit of both.

While the mushrooms cook (20 min on a low setting), it’s time to bring out the crock pot.

I add one cup of water, two large cans of diced tomatoes and one large can of tomato sauce. If you have the time and tomatoes, you can easily make your own sauce.

The next ingredient is optional. I am a fan of hot spice, so to give this chili some kick, I take a handful of green and red chili peppers, finely chop them and add them into the crock pot – remember to wash your hands after.  

Next up are the beans. Today we are going with two large cans of kidney beans and two large cans of black beans.

By this time the mushrooms should be done: just add them straight into the pot. Then, it’s time for the tofu. For all the vegans out there, you know tofu is a must-have. I like to cook with the extra firm tofu, but you can use whichever texture you prefer. Simply pick up your tofu block and crumble into the pot. Stir it around a bit, get everything nicely mixed together.

Then it’s time to add some extra spice. A few dashes of black pepper, a few dashes of white pepper, some tabasco sauce, and then, four tablespoons of liquid honey, which adds a nice contrast to the spice.

ZOnce all the ingredients have been added and mixed, I set the crock pot to low and cook for four hours.

Before the chili is served, you need to think about the garnish, because it just wouldn’t be chili without one. Fortunately for vegans, there are many types of vegan cheeses to choose from. I will be honest and admit that I am not a fan of the vegan cheese, so for my garnish, we are going to head over to the greens.  

There are many green veggies you can use to top your chili. You can use chopped green onions, steamed broccoli heads, bok choy, sprouts – the possibilities are endless. I like to use chopped spinach.

So there you have it: a healthy vegan chili that does not skimp on the flavour.