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I’m working less over the holiday season. While I do have my first commercial project in the works–yay!–many of my clients have flown south to avoid the dreary winter. This leaves me happily free at home to cook and entertain.

We are hosting some football parties and I’ve been experiencing the dilemma of what to prepare that fits my new eating habits.  Last weekend, I created a new recipe for vegan chili. It was sublime!

I had purchased El Zapatista Chorizo from No Evil foods with the intention of making a breakfast scramble. It sat in the fridge for a few weeks–breakfast is typically a quick affair. I saw it and decided to make chili.

This version of chorizo is soy free–made from vital wheat gluten. It has a crumbly texture and tastes fantastic and crisps up nicely when you brown it in a lightly oiled skillet. It was the perfect “non meat” to elevate my vegan chili.


Recipe: El Zapatista Chorizo Chili 

  • 1 pkg El Zaptista Chorizo
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 2 cans chili beans (mix of pinto, black beans, and kidney beans)
  • 1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 Tbs tomato paste
  • Seasonings: 3 Tbs Chili powder, 2 Tbs Cumin, 1 Tbs Paprika, 1/2 Tbs Garlic powder, 1/2 Tbs Onion powder
    • NOTE: My kids freak out over onion and garlic in it’s raw form. Feel free to substitute 1 clove of garlic and 1/2 finely chopped medium onion
  • 2 tbs Barbecue Sauce (optional)


  1. Heat Dutch oven or large skillet on med. Add olive oil.
  2. Add crumbled chorizo to skillet and brown–about 5-7 minutes. Adjust heat if necessary.
  3. Add cubed butternut squash and sauté until lightly browned–again, 5-7 minutes. If mixture begins to char, add small amount of water.
  4. Add beans, tomatoes, paste, and seasonings.
  5. Bring to a boil.
  6. Cover and simmer 40 minutes to 1 hour. Add additional water if needed.
  7. Taste. (I found the chorizo had a vinegary tang…so I adjusted slightly with sweet BBQ sauce).  The recipe makes a milder chili. Adjust spices as needed.  I did not find that I needed additional salt.
  8. I mashed the butternut squash to thicken the chili.
  9. Serve with desired chili toppings. We like Fritos, diced onions, avocado, cilantro.


My daughter made the traditional meat version of our family chili–she was a rock star! I think I definitely have a new chef in the family.