Last month, plant-based Impossible Burgers began their long-awaited grocery store rollout in Southern California and a few blessed states on the East Coast.

Listen, I’m no Don Draper or anything, but isn’t late September just about the weirdest time you can think of for a burger debut? Heme, the ingredient that makes Impossible meat bleed like beef, wasn’t approved by the FDA ‘til the end of July, so there’s that — but still. The 4th of July is long-gone. Barbecue season just wrapped up. Even vegan dads in Washington state wouldn’t post up at the grill in the rain for this, not when they could grab an Impossible Whopper from the comfort of their Chevy Volts.

But all is not lost for the Impossible Burger: Chef Tim Ma, a Grist 50 2019 honoree who runs food operations for eco-conscious Hotel Eaton D.C., has graced us with his recipe for Impossible Chili, just in time for soup season.

“[It’s] an alternative use for Impossible meat that most people don’t think about,” Ma said. “It’s actually something we serve in the hotel.”

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Ma says he serves dishes up Impossible Chili with vegan queso and “pork” rinds. I think you should scoop it into mugs and serve it for Halloween, alongside a big helping of vegan cornbread. However you do it, at least you can delight in the fact that you’re eating an environmentally conscious (and seasonally appropriate) meal.

Impossible Chili

Adapted from a recipe by Chef Tim Ma


2 lbs Impossible meat
1/2 cup canola oil
½ lb cranberry beans (soaked overnight)
1 cup shallots, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
¼ cup garlic, minced
2 jalapeños, chopped
½ cup tomato paste
2 cups white wine
1 quart vegetable broth
3 cups canned tomatoes

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2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp herbs de provence
1 tbsp cayenne
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp sugar
Kosher salt to taste

2 tbsp arrowroot starch
8 tbsp cold water


  1. Put cranberry beans in a high-sided stockpot and cover with about 2 inches of water. Add a few aromatics like bay leaves, thyme, garlic, and parsley stems. Bring to a boil and simmer until cooked — soft, but with a little bite.
  2. In a second, wide stockpot on high heat, add oil, and then add Impossible meat, breaking it up and sautéing until browned and cooked through — about 4 minutes.
  3. Add shallots, carrots, celery, garlic, jalapeños, and tomato paste, and cook for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add white wine, stirring frequently, until liquid is almost all gone.
  5. Add vegetable broth and tomatoes, then spices, and let simmer on medium-low heat for about an hour, adding more broth if reduced.
  6. Add cranberry beans.
  7. Make slurry by combining water and starch and stir until it makes a paste. Add paste to hot chili and stir until thickened and emulsified.
  8. Serve!