Comfort Food Fix

The Chicago Diner is one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago. It’s a excellent destination when you are craving vegan comfort food. Now that it’s cold outside, comfort food is almost a necessity! Chicagoans are very lucky to have this great establishment, but sometimes you just want to have some comfort food at home. The Diner serves an entree called Chili Mac, which is a combination of vegan chili and mac & “cheese.” It’s a tasty combination that can’t be beat on a cold, blustery day. Here is my version of Chili Mac…vegan chili topped with a scoop of mac & “cheese.” This recipe will serve approximately 10 people. (I promise to post a picture the next time I make this.)

Vegan Chili
Will make one large pot of chili. This recipe is really flexible. You can adjust the ingredients to your liking and increase or decrease the spice level as well.

1 large can of chili beans
1 can of diced tomatoes with juice
1 medium onion chopped
1 green pepper chopped (red, yellow, or orange peppers also work)
1 can corn with juice (optional)
1 package sliced mushrooms
carrots shredded, amount desired
1 zucchini sliced thin (steamed)
1 can kidney or pinto beans
1 packet chili seasoning
Cilantro and Tofutti brand sour cream to top (when eating without the mac & cheese)

Saute onion and peppers in oil. Add mushrooms and work until tender. Puree can of chili beans in blender. Add to onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Add tomatoes in juice. Add packet of chili seasoning mix. Add beans, carrots, steamed zucchini. Cook on medium-low and simmer for about 1 hour. Just before finished, add corn if desired, and heat through. Top with cilantro and sour cream (skip when making the chili mac recipe).

Mac and “Cheese”
This is a variation of a mac and “cheese” recipe I found online. The mac and “cheese” recipe was attributed to Soul Vegetarian.

14 oz. uncooked elbow macaroni
4 cups water
10 1/2-oz. package soft silken tofu, drained
1 cup soymilk (unsweetened)
1/2 cup tahini
3 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. vegetable oil

Blend tofu and soymilk in blender or food processor until smooth Add tahini, nutritional yeast, turmeric salt, and oil; mix until smooth.

Using a large pot, boil macaroni in water until done; drain in colander.

Place macaroni back in pot and turn stove on low. Stir in the “cheese” sauce and heat until warm. To keep a creamy consistency, add soymilk as needed while warming. (Adding soymilk when reheating leftovers will also make it creamy again.)

For chili mac, serve chili in a bowl with a scoop of mac & “cheese” added on top. Both recipes alone are quite tasty, so you actually have three choices for leftover dishes: chili, mac & “cheese”, and chili mac. Enjoy!

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