After wanting to create healthy recipes for himself and his wife, a certain red-headed stranger, Willie Nelson reached out to James Beard award winning chef and founder of the green market expansion efforts Wholesome Wave, Michel Nischan. Although Nelson is a meat-eater, his health-conscious wife enjoys vegan food so Nischan created two recipes for the pair. He shipped them a meat chili and vegan version with the recipes attached and the couple loved them. In fact the Nelsons exclaimed: 'Oh my God, this is the best f***ing chili we've ever tasted.’ Since then the couple has consistently requested the recipe. In conjunction with SXSW Nischan and Nelson are hosting a potluck- style dinner benefiting Wholesome Wave at Willie’s Texas ranch and the signature dish: Nischan’s vegan chili.
A Texas-style chili is made with a ton of onions and beef or beans (depending on your dietary preference). But Nischan's vegan version emphasizes the chilies. “The key to this recipe is cooking the chile peppers Mexican style – toasting, blooming, rehydrating, pureeing and the long-cooking process. And any dry spices go and get hard toasted.”