“I love chili,” says Graham Dodds, executive chef and co-owner of Wayward Sons. “I always do Texas red beef chili with my jalapeño cornbread in the fall on my menus. I wanted to come up with a plant-based version that was still comforting and soulful.” What he came up with—vegan beet chili—is a must-try, even for carnivores. “Beets are a natural substitute for beef, in my opinion, even offering a vibrant blood-red color,” he says. But Dodds did have one fear. “I love the culture of chili, the long cooking process, and the several spice ‘dumps’ throughout. But I worried the beets wouldn’t hold up to that long cooking process, especially having to roast them first and put them through the grinder. But they do! And one of the most inspiring things about this dish is that even people who don’t necessarily care for beets really enjoy them this way.”
1. House-Made Quinoa Crackers
For this earthy side, Dodds uses chia seeds, quinoa, sesame seeds, sea salt, sugar, Espelette pepper, and—perfect for fall—pumpkin seeds.
Dodds sources his beets from Tassione Farms in Stephenville and New Frontier Farm in Corsicana.
3. Cashew Crema
Raw cashews are soaked overnight and drained, then blended with cold water, lemon juice, salt, and nutritional yeast. The result is finally run through a fine mesh strainer.
How do you make people forget about the beef? A savory blend of roasted and peeled red beets, minced yellow onions, Martin House Bockslider beer, garlic, paprika, ancho chile powder, tomato purée, vegetable stock, ground coriander seed, cayenne pepper, ground cumin seed, and grapeseed oil.