This Easy one-pot Vegan Chili is healthy, hearty, and perfectly cozy! Packed with beans and veggies, it’s high in fiber and protein.
Craving comfort food without meat or dairy? This vegan chili recipe is your answer.
It’s one of my family’s favorite meat-free dinners that is cheap to make and keeps everyone satisfied and happy, and that is saying a lot coming from a bunch of meat-eaters. And like any good curry or stew, the leftovers taste even better the next day.
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
- Made with healthy and hearty ingredients. What makes this chili the best is the wide variety of fresh vegetables and hearty beans in every bite.
- It’s flexible. Turn up the heat, use the veggies you love, or change up the spices. I sometimes like to add some form of plant-based protein for extra staying power, like crumbled tofu or tempeh chunks.
- A perfect freezer meal. Can you believe that this dish freezes well for up to 6 months? It’s the make-ahead and meal-prep recipe of your dreams!
- Perfect texture and flavor. The texture of this chili is super thick and hearty, with chunks of vegetables and plenty of beans. It’s savory, a little spicy, and thanks to the taco seasoning mix, a little bit smoky.
- Dietary friendly. Not only is this dish completely plant-based, but it’s also dairy-free and gluten-free.
This vegetarian chili recipe is so simple, and besides a bunch of veggies and pantry staples, there isn’t much else that is needed. Here is what you’ll need:
- Olive oil. For sauteing.
- Onion and garlic. Must-have aromatics for any good chili. For the garlic, I prefer using fresh cloves over the dried kind because the flavor is unmatched.
- Taco seasoning. I used a store-bought mix, but if you have time, you can definitely make your own. If you do the latter, make sure it has plenty of smoked paprika and ground cumin in it.
- Black beans. The first of the two beans used in this vegetarian chili! Black beans are packed with plant-based protein (15 grams per 1 cup) to help every serving keep you full for hours. Canned black beans work perfectly or you can use dried beans that you pre-cooked yourself.
- Pinto beans. This is the second type of healthy bean I love adding to the dish. They double the amount of protein and add an ultra-meaty texture.
- Tomatoes. Use canned diced tomatoes or chop fresh tomatoes yourself. I recommend adding an extra tablespoon of tomato paste to amp up the flavor if you use the latter.
- Sweet potatoes. I love the sweet flavor these potatoes add to stews and soups. If you don’t have sweet potatoes, use white or red potatoes or diced butternut squash instead.
- Red bell pepper. These also add a nice sweetness! Feel free to use any color of bell pepper as a substitute.
- Carrots. Finely chopped.
- Vegetable broth. To help loosen the consistency and add more flavor.
- Salt. For flavor.
How to make vegan chili
Saute the aromatics: Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add the onion and garlic and cook until they’re fragrant. Sprinkle the taco seasoning over top and cook for another 30 seconds.
Add everything else: Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, stir well, and bring the chili up to a simmer. Place the lid on top and let the chili cook for a few hours.
Serve: Give the finished chili a good stir, then taste and add more salt as needed. Ladle into bowls, serve with your favorite toppings, and enjoy!
Can I use an instant pot?
Did you know you can make a pressure cooker or instant pot vegetarian chili? It’s just as hand-off and needs little prep time. Here is the process to do so:
- Sauté onions, garlic, and veggies in the Instant Pot with olive oil.
- Add beans, diced tomatoes, broth, and spices. Stir.
- Close the lid, set to high pressure for 8-10 minutes, and cook.
- Allow natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then quick release.
Just remember to give everything a good mix before serving.
Recipe tips and variations
Let it simmer. The chili needs to simmer for at least 2 hours or a maximum of 4 hours. You could serve the chili after about 45 minutes if you’re low on time but I find the flavors won’t be quite as deep and layered.
Eat the next day. I’m telling you, the chili tastes even better after it chills overnight! This gives all of the flavors time to get to know each other and meld together. Just reheat a batch the next day and enjoy. Similarly, you can make a double serving and freeze one to enjoy later.
Add more beans. I love this two-bean chili as-is but almost any type of bean can be used here. Try chickpeas, cannellini beans, great northern beans, kidney beans, etc.
Add more protein. As mentioned earlier, I often like to add some plant-based protein to give the chili more heartiness and staying power. Crumbled firm tofu is always a good option, and I’ve also had success with vegan ground beef crumbles.
Turn up the heat. Make spicy vegan chili by adding a pinch of chili powder or cayenne pepper or swapping the red bell peppers for chipotle peppers or drizzle on some hot sauce.
Add toppings. Everyone knows the best part of a big bowl of chili is the toppings! Nothing beats a dollop of vegan sour cream, fresh corn, sliced red or green onions, avocado, crispy tortilla chips, fresh cilantro, and let’s not forget some vegan cheese on top. You can also serve this with a side of my vegan biscuits.
To store: Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
To freeze: This chili freezes well for up to 6 months. Keep it in an airtight container or sealed freezer bag, and let the individual servings thaw in the fridge before reheating.
To reheat: Heat the individual servings or one big batch of leftover chili in a pot on the stove or the microwave until warmed through.
More cozy meat-free dinners to try
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can easily make vegan chili in a slow cooker. Saute the aromatics as normal before dumping them and the rest of the ingredients into the bowl of the crockpot. Cook on Low heat for 6 hours.
This recipe is naturally low in fat so keeping the oil helps keep this chili rich and flavorful. If you must omit it, add some cashew sour cream or avocado to the finished dish.
BEST Vegan Chili Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 14 oz black beans canned and drained
- 14 oz pinto beans canned and drained
- 14 oz canned tomatoes diced
- 3 small sweet potatoes cubed
- 1 small red bell pepper sliced
- 2 small carrots chopped
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Heat oil in a Dutch oven or deep pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the taco seasoning and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the remaining ingredients and cover the pot and let everything simmer for at least two hours or up to four hours.
- Give everything a good stir, add more salt as needed, and serve with your favorite toppings.
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