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Mom’s Vegan Chili


My mom laughs so hard, tears stream down her face. Not just sometimes. Like, frequently.

Sometimes the things she thinks are funny really are funny. But other times she’s mostly just laughing at something my dad has said in utter stone-faced seriousness that no one else can actually take seriously because it sounds so absurd. I cannot even begin to explain to you the words that come out of this man’s mouth, but they’re usually laced with profanities and instantly blasted out to all the kids from mom via text. He was the king of “shit my dad says” long before Shit My Dad Says was a thing.

My dad’s not the only one that keeps my mom entertained, though. My sister is easily one of the more dramatic (in a theatrical way, not a duh-RAAAAAAH-ma way) storytellers I’ve ever met, and my mom and I usually laugh until we cry and then hyperventilate in harmony whenever she lets loose on one of her rants. (Ask her about the US Postal Service some time…) And my brother is basically a clone of my dad. He’s funny in that I’m-usually-silent-but-when-I-speak-up-it-counts kind of ways. I can’t even handle him.

But one of the ultimate childhood stories that still sends my mom into hysterics happens to be about yours truly. And it’s not even that good.

No one in my family ever has been or will be vegetarian. So when I, at the tender age of like eight, declared I would no longer be consuming animals, I did so with a grand theatrical display to show the rest of those carnivores who was right.

We were sitting around the table getting ready to eat burgers (standard) and I launched into a tirade about animal rights and the injustice of what lay in front of me. Eating animals was wrong and the blood would not be on my hands, no sir. I stormed up the stairs screaming, “This family has GOT to stop eating cows.” And that was that.

It’s not even that funny. But call my mom right now and she’s probably choking back sobs of laughter. I promise you this.

Though my family will never hop on my meat-free bandwagon, there is one meal we can all agree on all the time: mom’s vegan chili.

This is what she makes for me every time I come home, and it’s basically all I eat the entire time I’m there. It’s my favorite thing in the world. I make it for myself, but it’s never the same.

I’ve been making it for so long I can do so without referencing the recipe. And that, I think, makes it officially a family heirloom–something I’ll pass down to my kids, vegetarians or not, hilarious or not.

Mom’s Vegan Chili


  • 1 lg onion
  • 1 tablespoon veg. oil [I use olive oil]
  • 1 (28oz) can undrained whole tomatoes chopped [I use diced]
  • ⅔c picante sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 large green & red peppers
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed & drained


  1. Saute onion in hot oil until tender. Add tomatoes, picante sauce, cumin, salt, and oregano. Bring to a boil; cover & simmer 5 min.
  2. Stir in beans, peppers & carrots. Cook over medium-low heat 25 minutes or until veggies are tender. [I added corn too]

[I’m pulling some of my all-time favorite food posts from my old blog. You will find this original here.]


  1. TaMo TaMo

    Is that corn in your chili? I’ve never put corn in mine.

  2. Peggy Peggy

    I made this for lunch today and modified it for what I had on hand. I used dry pinto beans, shredded carrots (bought for salad but needed to use the rest), salsa instead of picante, and I minced some garlic with it too. I also added about a cup of water to cut down on the spiciness. Otherwise I used your directions and I have to say DELICIOUS! My meat eating hubby said it was good but he would prefer ground beef or turkey in it so next time I’ll make two batches as my son will love it either way. Your mom created an awesome recipe and it will be a repeat in this house!

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