Chili with Cornbread, Sour Cream and Salsa

Warm up with this season-shifting chili and dress it up with cornbread, corn salsa and homemade vegan sour cream

Chili with Cornbread, Sour Cream and Salsa
Photo: Matthew Kenney

Beans and legumes are an important staple in plant-based cuisine thanks to their high nutritional value, diverse adaptations and subtle flavour. This plant-based chili is an effortless meal filled with sweet and smoky flavours that will leave you feeling full and satisfied but not bursting. Jazz it up with vegan sour cream, cornbread and corn salsa.

Vegetable Chili


  • 4 ½ tsp. grapeseed oil, divided
  • ½ cup yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup carrot, chopped
  • ½ cup bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup smoked tempeh, crumbled
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • ⅓ cup green chilies, diced
  • 3 Tbsp. Southwest Spice Blend (see recipe)
  • 1 ½ cups kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast


Heat a large cast iron skillet or pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and bell pepper to the pan and sweat it out with a pinch of salt.

Add the crumbled tempeh and the garlic cloves and cook until the tempeh is browned. Add the canned chilies and the southwest seasoning. Cook until all the ingredients are dry and sticking to the pan, then add the diced tomato. Use the juices from the tomato to deglaze the pan, scraping up any bits of food stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Add the bean, tomato sauce and nutritional yeast and simmer. Cook for 15 minutes to an hour, until desired consistency and flavour is reached.

Serve garnished with sour cream, corn salsa and a wedge of cornbread.


This cornbread is perfectly sweet, moist and tender and makes a delicious side. It is the ideal comfort food and accompaniment for the vegetable chili.


  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups plant-based milk
  • 1 Tbsp. flax meal
  • 3 Tbsp. hot water
  • ½ cup dairy-free butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup yellow cornmeal, fine
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt 
  • ¾ cup sweet corn, canned/frozen/fresh
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup, and more for brushing


Preheat the oven to 400 F and brush a 6-inch cast iron skillet with oil and place in the oven to preheat.

In a bowl, prepare the buttermilk by combining the apple cider vinegar and milk. Set aside.

In another warm bowl, prepare a flax egg by mixing the flax meal with the 3 Tbsp. of hot water. Set aside to bloom.

On medium low heat, melt the dairy-free butter in a pot on the stove and then add the brown sugar and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. When the sugar has dissolved into the butter, remove from the heat.

In a large mixing bowl, add the cornmeal, all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk to combine. Add the maple syrup, buttermilk, melted butter and flax egg and mix well to combine. Lastly, fold in the whole sweet corn pieces.

Carefully pour the batter into the hot cast iron skillet. Cook for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Once out of the oven, brush with maple syrup. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

Southwest Spice Blend

This salt-free spice blend is packed with flavour and a little bit of heat. Use as a dry rub, or in a marinade.


  • ⅓ cup coriander seeds
  • ⅓ cup cumin seeds
  • ¼ cup smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder


Combine and mix well.

Corn Salsa

Use the corn salsa leftovers as a topping for a salad, filling for a wrap, or scoop it with chips.


  • 1 cup corn, fresh/canned/frozen
  • 2 Tbsp. red onion
  • ½ jalapeno pepper (or fresno pepper), finely minced
  • ¼ cup cilantro, finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. agave
  • ¼ tsp. salt 


Heat a cast iron skillet on high. Add the corn to the skillet and dry roast, stirring occasionally to brown evenly. Some kernels may pop out of the pan. Once kernels are partially blackened, remove and allow to cool.

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and allow the flavours to marinate for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Sour Cream

Use this sour cream recipe to cool down spicy dishes and add creaminess to sweet or savoury foods. Add chopped herbs such as cilantro or chives to make it extra special. Replacing traditional dairy-based toppings with a tofu-based alternative lowers the fat and cholesterol.


  • 1 pkg. silken tofu
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup grapeseed oil


Place the tofu, lemon juice, maple syrup and salt in a high-speed blender and puree until smooth. With the blender running, slowly rain in the oil (this should take about 2 minutes).

Salt with salt to taste and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour before serving. 

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