Vegetarian Chili Help

I’m newish to vegetarianism. I had actually tried the diet briefly once before. Honestly, I don’t find it a very hard thing to do. Vegan would be harder - and perhaps one day I’ll go that route there are still issues I’m contemplating. But for now I’m a vegetarian and its really, to me, not nearly as bad as most carnivores, like I used to be, think it is, and I knew it wouldn’t be. This is because with very few excpetions meat REALLY isn’t all that great. All ethics aside, meat, as a food, is just ok. It is what you cook it in that you really crave. Its the steak sauce more so than the steak, essentially. So form my perspective, not a big sacrifice. I’m even finding some of my favorite foods, like burritos, are better without it.

Now one thing I do miss already is Chilli, and i need to let my ego self gloat a bit - my chilli is famous. Its complimented constantly and whats more is even legitimately award winning. The funny thing is there are just three base componets to it:

  1. Tomato Sauce
  2. Pinto Beans
  3. Ground Beef

Everything else is in how I season it, using powders and sauces only. I do not work with whole vegetables in my chilli. I think a lot of people are surprised to discover this is actually why they like it so much. Vegetables like onions and bell peppers I don’t ever use in a dish where they are to be combined with other headliners, they are over powering. A little onion powder, but never the texture and overpowering flavor of a chopped onion.

Now… One trick I tell people who are thinking about being veg is your better off spending most of your time NOT eating meat substitutes. You’ll enjoy the diet more if you generally forget about meat and enjoy what the other food groups have to offer in their own right. When you do do it, go into the black bean burger expecting to eat a black bean burger, not a hamburger, and you won’t be disappointed.

That said I need a meat substitute - baring in mind my commentary on full vegetables in the chilli, and would like some advice on what you think would be my best bet for keeping my formula in tact without using meat.

Looking forward to your suggestions!

: ) Thank you. I realize my recipe is a little more involved than that…but this is what I like. Maybe you’d like it.
I usually use this recipe:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, medium dice
1 carrot, medium dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bell pepper, medium dice
1 zucchini, medium dice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon chili powder
2 (15-ounce) cans light kidney, dark kidney, or black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups water
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
Chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Quartered lime pieces, for garnish (optional)
Shredded cheddar cheese or crumbled queso fresco, for garnish (optional)
Sour cream, for garnish (optional)
Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot with a tightfitting lid or a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, carrots, and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the bell pepper and zucchini to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Add the cumin and chili powder and stir to incorporate. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are knife tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the beans, water, and tomatoes with their juices and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer until the vegetables are soft and the flavors have melded, about 15 minutes. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary. Serve and garnish as desired.