Growing up in Arkansas, I was exposed to a lot of home-cooked, country condiments — chow chow, homemade salsa, all manner of jams and jellies, pickled okra, etc. But somehow chili sauce escaped me. After trying Kam's though, I'm not sure how I ever lived without it. They sent me samples of their HOT chili sauce and their Sweet & Spicy.
Chili sauce is simply a chunky blend of vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh chiles. It's got a touch of sweetness and a touch of heat, and it's used in everything from sloppy joes to baked beans (and yes, even cocktail wieners — vegan ones, of course!). Plus, it's great as a condiment on burgers and hot dogs, and I've discovered that it's even excellent with tortilla chips and crackers.
Side note: After receiving my jars of Kam's back in the fall, one of my co-workers gifted every one in the office jars of his home-canned, homemade chili sauce. And this is apparently a thing people do when they end up with too many tomatoes. Not sure how my Granny never got on the chili sauce bandwagon, but I have lots of her jars of home-canned salsa and stewed tomatoes.
Anyway, back to Kam's. Both flavors have the same base of fresh tomato and chiles, so they taste very similar, something like a cross between salsa and ketchup. The Sweet & Spicy is slightly milder and sweeter than the HOT sauce. The hot one contains ghost peppers, but it's not burn-your-face-off hot. It's got just the right amount of heat that slowly builds in the back of your throat.
Kam's is 100% natural, low in sugar (only 2 grams per serving), and non-gmo. I've been eating these (and my co-worker Tom's homemade sauce!) now for a couple months on just about everything you can imagine — veggie burgers, with chips, on vegan pudla pancakes, stirred into in soup beans, with vegan cheese and crackers, you name it.
One of my favorite uses so far is as a side condiment for roasted potatoes. My mama often eats chow chow with her fried potatoes, so that use popped to mind immediately when I tasted the sweet-spicy condiment. It's very similar to chow chow. Last weekend, I roasted some potatoes and carrots in the air fryer (20 minutes on 350 degrees) and served with Kam's Sweet & Spicy.
But so far, I think my very FAVORITE use has been on vegan grilled cheeses! I created this delicous Grilled Veggie Chili Melt (with vegan cheese, chili sauce, sauteed veggies, and hummus) last week, and I'll be eating it several more times this week since I have plenty of ingredients left. And since I recently discovered my neighborhood Kroger store carries Kam's (found it in the natural foods section), I'll be restocking when I run out!
Here's the recipe!
Grilled Veggie Chili Melt
Yields 1 sandwich
1/4 white onion, thinly sliced
1/3 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/3 zucchini, thinly sliced
1/3 summer squash, thinly sliced
Soy sauce, to taste
2 slices whole wheat bread
1 slice vegan cheese (I used Daiya cheddar slices)
1 Tbsp. hummus, any flavor
1 Tbsp. chili sauce (I used Kam's Sweet & Spicy)
2 tsp. olive oil or vegan margarine
Pour a little water in the bottom of a small skillet, just enough to cover the bottom. Heat to medium and add onions, peppers, zucchini, and squash. Water-saute until tender, adding splashes of extra water as needed to prevent veggies from sticking or burning. (You can also just use oil to saute the veggies! Up to you!). While you're cooking, add a couple splashes of soy sauce to taste.
Once the veggies are done, remove them from the skillet and wipe it out. Spray olive oil or spread vegan margarine on one side of each piece of bread. Heat the skillet to medium-low.
Place one slice of bread, oil-side-down, on a plate. Spread the hummus on the other side. Top that with veggies and top them with chili sauce. Then put the cheese slice on top of the veggies and top with the remaining bread, oil-side-up.
Place the sandwich in the warm skillet and press down with a spatula. Grill on one side for about 3-5 minutes or until lightly toasted. Flip and toast on the other side. Eat!