Sunday, April 13, 2014

Vegan Cincinnati Chili

The last time I had Cincinnati Chili from Skyline would have been when I still ate meat, and that's coming up on 12 years. My husband went to the University of Cincinnati, and we've taken several trips there to visit his friends and see the city. The first time I tried Skyline I was in love, and the memory of that sweet-ish chili served over spaghetti and topped with cheddar cheese still looms large in my mind. (And yes, I tried the vegetarian versio at Skyline after I became's just not the same.)

You can, of course, get Skyline Chili at the grocery store now in either a frozen container or a can (ewww...meat in a can!). When my husband bought some last week, I decided to try to make a vegan version.

While I was very tempted to try a version I found that uses lentils--because everything is better with lentils!--I decide to make a more "authentic" version using vegan crumbles (yes, it is processed and bad for me, but I wanted to be as close to bad as the original!) I used this recipe from

First I sauteed chopped onion in olive oil then added minced garlic and the veggie crumbles.
Next I added a can of tomato sauce (a deviation from the recipe, which called for one cup each of tomato sauce and water...why wouldn't I use all tomato sauce?), diced tomatoes (another deviation; I used just one cup), red wine vinegar, and the spice mixture, which includes cinnamon, brown sugar, and cocoa powder. I also did not use the hot sauce, since the only kind I have is Sriracha, which would be too hot for this recipe, or the kidney beans, since I don't remember beans in the original version.

I let it simmer for 20 minutes then served it over whole-grain spaghetti and topped it with Daiya cheddar cheese shreds.
While Daiya mozzarella cheese on pizza is great, I'm not a huge fan of fake cheese in general except for ones I make from scratch, and I don't totally love the Daiya cheddar flavor. I liked the parts without the cheese best, so next time I'll leave the cheese off.

Aside from the cheese...this was fantastic! I really loved it. I paired it with a salad of organic sweet baby lettuces and Santuary Dressing (ranch-style dressing) that I made from Appetite for Reduction. It was a great combination.

I asked my husband to try the chili and was curious to see what he thought since he just had Skyline a few days ago (albeit from a can...ewww!) His response: "It's pretty good!" That is high praise in his book, so there you have it. This recipe is a great substitute for the real Cincinnati Chili.

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