"Awesome" Vegan Chili

My grandfather, Paul Toolan, was born in a small coal-mining town in northeastern Pennsylvania on May 12th, 1920. Paul, or Grandy as most knew him, would have been celebrating his 100th birthday today which brings up so many fond memories. He cared so much for his 2 children, 10 grandchildren and (now) 16 great-grandchildren. One of the many ways he would show his love was preparing his famous chili recipe. Although he didn't cook a lot, this dish was so good that we stopped calling it chili and started simply calling it "Grandy's Awesome".

A few months before he passed away last year, I asked him if he could tell me how he made his world-famous Awesome. He told me he didn't follow a recipe per se, but did provide details such as the red kidney beans had to be Hanover brand and be sure to find the largest red, orange and yellow pepper you can find. He also mentioned that he would use very lean ground beef, either 95 or 98% lean beef. As his personal dietitian I commended him on limiting the saturated fat in this recipe while sneaking in so much plant-based protein and fiber! I also told him I would modify it when I make it for myself since I do not eat red meat, so here is my vegan rendition of "Awesome".

Vegan "Awesome" Chili Recipe:


  • 2 Tb extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 Red bell pepper, diced

  • 1 Orange bell pepper, diced

  • 1 Yellow bell pepper, diced

  • 1 large Vidalia onion, diced

  • 1 Jalapeño pepper (seeds removed if you wish to limit the heat), diced

  • 2 Cans of Hanover red kidney beans (drained and rinsed to limit sodium)

  • 1 Can of Hanover northern white beans (drained and rinsed to limit sodium)

  • 1 Large can of crushed red tomatoes

  • Cumin*

  • Paprika*

  • Black pepper*

  • Cayenne pepper*

  • Garlic powder*

  • Onion powder*

  • Green onion/scallions to garnish


Once you have the ingredients, you can dump them all in the slow cooker and cook it on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Once cooked, onions should be translucent. Serve in a bowl and garnish with chopped green onions.

* For the herbs/seasonings, season to taste. Everyone has different preference for these flavors. I honestly did not measure, since I am my grandfather's granddaughter, but I would say no more than 1 teaspoon of each or as Grandy told me: "a little bit of this, a little bit of that".

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