Vegan Chili Mac with Tri-Color Rotini

If you couldn’t tell by now, we love chili. It’s can be such a unique recipe so there are countless ways to prepare. For this take we decided against the good ole’ fashion vegetarian beans. We got funky with it and crumbled up some tempeh to add a hearty texture! Plus we love cheeze (the vegan kind!). So what better way to combine two of our favorite things than to… well, combine them ;)

The cheeze for this chili mac is full of nutrients too! It’s made from pureed veggies and cashews. We can thank the carrot and nutritional yeast for keeping it true to cheezey color. You should try it before mixing it with the chili. It’s totally unique! Honestly it’s not the cheeziest thing we’ve ever had, but it’s delicious nonetheless. If you really want it to be cheezier, add more nutritional yeast. Or you could even toss in some shredded vegan cheddar. But that’s totally your call! It satisfied our cheeze-tooth just how it is though!

Beer Pairing:
Our choice of beer for this dish has got to be Blue Point Brewing’s Toasted Lager. The chili mac has so many bursting flavors, we thought something malty with a touch of hops would compliment it well. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

For the Cheeze:
2 cups cauliflower, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
¹⁄3 white onion, diced
½ cup water
½ cup raw cashews
¼ cup coconut milk
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp salt

For the Chili:
1 tbsp olive oil
8 oz tempeh, crumbled with large grater
¹/3 white onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño, minced (seeded for less spicy)
15 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes
6 oz can tomato paste
½ of a 12 oz box tri-color rotini
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp paprika
salt ‘n pepper to taste
vegan mozzarella shreds (optional)

Prepare all your veggies first.

Bring several cups of water to a boil in a medium-size pot. Toss in the cauliflower, carrot, and white onion for the cheeze. Let it rapidly boil for 10 minutes. Transfer the veggies, without the water, into a food processor or blender. Throw in the rest of the cheeze ingredients (you can use leftover water from the pot), and puree until smooth with no chunks. Set aside.

In a larger pot, heat oil over medium heat. Toss in the tempeh crumbles and sauté until starting to brown. Next add in the onion and sauté for another few minutes until those start to soften. Then mix in the bell pepper and jalapeño. You may want to spritz the mixture with water every few minutes if it’s looking a little dry and/or sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Once the peppers are starting to soften, mix in the kidney beans and spices. Also, get another pot of water boiling for the noodles and toss those in when ready. When the noodles are going, stir in the tomatoes (with juice) and tomato paste with the chili. Mix it well.

Simmer over low-medium heat, covered for 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, strain the noodles and then mix those into the chili. Pour the cheeze a top and mix that in too. Alternatively, serve the cheese separately smothered over the chili on each plate. Enjoy hot with mozzarella shreds as a garnish!

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