If you are looking for the easiest, nourishing heartwarming pot, you have come to the right place. This recipe requires minimal ingredients and it is highly customizable.
The dish is called "chili" because it is traditionally made with chili peppers or chili powder, which gives it its characteristic spicy flavor. The word "chili" is derived from the Nahuatl language, spoken by the Aztecs, where "chilli" referred to the hot peppers used in their cuisine. Over time, the term "chili" came to be associated with the dish itself, which typically consists of meat, beans, tomatoes, and spices. In recent years, there has been a rise in vegan and vegetarian versions of chili, which replace the meat with plant-based protein sources like beans or tofu.
We will be using Unmeat Chili with beans along with other canned beans for this recipe. I used precut mirepoix for ease and convenience.
- Canned beans: These ready-to-use beans are a convenient and nutritious addition to your vegan chili. Packed with protein, fiber, and essential nutrients, they add a hearty and satisfying texture to the dish.
- Mirepoix: A classic combination of diced onions, carrots, and celery, mirepoix adds depth and flavor to your vegan chili. These aromatic vegetables provide a savory base for the dish and enhance its overall taste.
- Tomato sauce: Made from ripe tomatoes, tomato sauce adds a rich and tangy flavor to your vegan chili. It provides a smooth and velvety texture while adding a hint of sweetness to balance out the spices.
- Chili spice mix: A blend of various spices like chili powder, cumin, paprika, and garlic powder, the chili spice mix gives your vegan chili its signature bold and spicy taste. It adds depth and complexity to the dish, making it a flavorful and satisfying meal.
- Vegan yogurt: A dairy-free alternative to traditional yogurt, vegan yogurt adds a creamy and tangy element to your vegan chili. It provides a cooling contrast to the spiciness of the dish and adds a touch of creaminess.
- Cilantro: This fresh herb adds a burst of freshness and brightness to your vegan chili. It adds a pop of color and a refreshing flavor that complements the spices and other ingredients in the dish.
- Olive oil: Used for sautéing the mirepoix and adding richness to the dish, olive oil is a healthy and flavorful choice. It adds a subtle fruity flavor and helps to bring all the flavors together in your vegan chili.
See recipe card for quantities.
Saute aromatics of mirepoix. Feel free to use what ever aromatics you may have. I used pre cut mirepoix from trader Joes.
Spice it up with chili spice mix, or smoked paprika. I had lemon smoked paprika salt which I used generously.
Add in beans and unmeat chili beans.
Add in marinara and give it a good stir. Let cook for 10-20 minutes on medium heat.
Let cool for a bit, adjust seasoning and then serve with your favorite grain, and top with cilantro & vegan yogurt.
Hint: One helpful hint for this recipe is to taste and adjust the seasoning as you go. Since everyone's spice tolerance is different, it's a good idea to start with a smaller amount of chili powder and other spices, and then gradually add more if desired. This way, you can customize the level of spiciness to your liking. Additionally, if you find that your chili is too thick, you can add a bit of vegetable broth or water to thin it out. On the other hand, if you prefer a thicker chili, you can let it simmer uncovered for a bit longer to allow some of the liquid to evaporate.
- Beans: If you don't have or don't like the beans called for in the recipe, you can substitute them with other types of beans such as black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, or chickpeas. You can also use a combination of different beans for added variety.
- Vegetables: Feel free to customize the vegetables in this recipe based on what you have on hand or what you prefer. You can add or substitute vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, corn, sweet potatoes, or mushrooms.
- Spices: If you don't have all the spices listed in the recipe, you can use a pre-made chili seasoning mix instead. Alternatively, you can adjust the spices to your taste by adding more or less chili powder, cumin, paprika, or other spices.
- Tomato sauce: If you don't have tomato sauce, you can use canned diced tomatoes or tomato puree instead. You can also use fresh tomatoes, but you may need to cook them down longer to achieve a saucy consistency.
- Vegan yogurt: If you don't have vegan yogurt, you can use a dollop of vegan sour cream, coconut cream, or cashew cream as a creamy topping for your chili.
- Oil: If you prefer to avoid oil, you can sauté the mirepoix in vegetable broth or water instead.
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili: Add diced sweet potatoes to the chili for a touch of sweetness and extra heartiness. You can either cook them with the vegetables or roast them separately and add them to the chili towards the end of cooking.
- Quinoa Chili: Add cooked quinoa to the chili for added protein and texture. Simply cook the quinoa separately according to package instructions and stir it into the chili before serving.
- Lentil Chili: Replace the beans with lentils for a different texture and flavor. Use green or brown lentils and cook them with the vegetables and spices until tender.
- Chipotle Chili: Add a smoky and spicy kick to your chili by adding chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Chop up a few peppers and stir them into the chili along with some of the adobo sauce. Adjust the amount based on your spice preference.
- White Bean and Kale Chili: Swap out the red kidney beans for white beans and add chopped kale to the chili. The kale will add a nutritious boost and a vibrant green color to the dish.
- Mexican-Inspired Chili: Add some Mexican-inspired ingredients like corn, diced green chilies, and a squeeze of lime juice to give your chili a south-of-the-border twist. You can also top it with avocado slices, chopped cilantro, and a sprinkle of vegan cheese.
Feel free to get creative and experiment with different ingredients and flavors to make this vegan chili recipe your own.
To make this easy vegan chili recipe, you will need the following equipment:
- Large pot or Dutch oven: This will be used to cook the chili and simmer all the ingredients together.
- Cutting board: A sturdy cutting board will be needed to chop and prepare the vegetables.
- Knife: A sharp knife will be necessary for cutting and dicing the vegetables.
- Wooden spoon or spatula: This will be used for stirring and mixing the ingredients in the pot.
- Measuring cups and spoons: You will need these to accurately measure the ingredients for the recipe.
- Can opener: If you are using canned beans or tomato sauce, a can opener will be needed to open the cans.
- Serving bowls: Once the chili is cooked, you will need bowls to serve it in.
- Optional: Immersion blender or potato masher. If you prefer a smoother consistency for your chili, you can use an immersion blender or potato masher to partially blend or mash some of the beans and vegetables.
These are the basic equipment needed to make this vegan chili recipe. However, feel free to use any additional kitchen tools or appliances that you find helpful or convenient.
This vegan chili can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Make sure to let the chili cool completely before transferring it to the container. When reheating, you can do so on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally. If you have leftovers that you won't be able to consume within the 4-5 day timeframe, you can also freeze the chili for longer storage. Allow the chili to cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or freezer bags. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw and reheat, simply transfer the frozen chili to the refrigerator overnight to thaw, then reheat using your preferred method.
One top tip for this vegan chili recipe is to let it simmer for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. This will help develop a rich and robust taste. However, if you have the time, letting it simmer for even longer, such as 1-2 hours, will further enhance the flavors and result in a more flavorful chili. Just make sure to stir occasionally and adjust the heat as needed to prevent sticking or burning.
A: Yes, you can definitely make this vegan chili in a slow cooker. Simply follow the recipe instructions to sauté the vegetables and spices, then transfer everything to a slow cooker. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours, until the flavors have melded together and the chili is heated through. Adjust the seasoning as needed before serving.
A: Absolutely! If you prefer a spicier chili, you can increase the amount of chili powder or add additional spices like cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes. You can also add diced jalapeños or other hot peppers to the chili for an extra kick. Adjust the spice level to your taste preferences.
A: Yes, this vegan chili recipe is naturally gluten-free. Just make sure to check the labels of any canned ingredients or spices you use to ensure they are gluten-free. Serve the chili with gluten-free toppings like avocado, vegan cheese, or gluten-free cornbread.
A: Yes, you can make this vegan chili oil-free by sautéing the vegetables in vegetable broth or water instead of oil. This will still provide flavor and help soften the vegetables without the added oil.
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These are my favorite dishes to serve with [this recipe]:
Easy Vegan Chili
- - 2 cans of beans such as kidney beans or black beans, drained and rinsed
- - 1 onion diced
- - 2 carrots diced
- - 2 celery stalks diced
- - 3 cloves of garlic minced
- - 1 can of tomato sauce
- - 2 tablespoons of chili spice mix or to taste
- - Salt and pepper to taste
- - Vegan yogurt for serving
- - Fresh cilantro chopped, for garnish
- - Olive oil for sautéing
- Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and sauté the diced onion, carrots, and celery until they start to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute until fragrant.
- Add the drained and rinsed beans to the pot, along with the tomato sauce and chili spice mix. Stir well to combine.
- Bring the chili to a simmer and let it cook for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will allow the flavors to meld together.
- Taste the chili and season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve the vegan chili hot, topped with a dollop of vegan yogurt and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.
- Enjoy your delicious vegan chili!
We sometimes take for a granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience, that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove