Vegan Chili Recipe

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5 from 14 votes
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This Easy one-pot Vegan Chili is healthy, hearty, and perfectly cozy! Packed with beans and veggies, it’s high in fiber and protein.

vegan chili.

Craving comfort food without meat or dairy? This vegan chili recipe is your answer.

Like butter beans or cauliflower casserole, 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
  1. Recipe Highlights
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make vegan chili
  4. Alternative cooking methods
  5. Recipe tips and variations
  6. Storage instructions
  7. Frequently asked questions
  8. More cozy meat-free dinners to try
  9. Vegan Chili Recipe (Recipe Card)

Recipe Highlights

  • 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.
vegetarian chili recipe.

Ingredients needed

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.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

How to make vegan chili

What I love about this recipe is just how quick it is to put together. There is barely any prep time and the stove top takes care of all the hard work!

Step 1-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.

sauteed aromatics.

Step 2- 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.

how to make vegan chili.

Step 3- 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!

vegetarian chili.

Alternative cooking methods

Did you know you can make this chili in the Instant pot or slow cooker? It’s just as hand-off and needs little prep time.

Instant pot instructions: Start by sauteing onions, garlic, and veggies in the instant pot with oil. Next, add the beans, tomatoes, broth, and spices and give it a good stir. Now, close the lid and set the instant pot to high pressure for 8-10 minutes. Finally, allow the natural release for 10 minutes, before a quick release.

Slow cooker instructions: 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.

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.

Storage instructions

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.

best vegan chili.

Frequently asked questions

Can I make this oil-free?

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.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes! As written, this chili doesn’t contain any ingredients derived from wheat or gluten.

More cozy meat-free dinners to try

vegan chili recipe.

Vegan Chili Recipe

5 from 14 votes
This Easy one-pot Vegan Chili Recipe is healthy, hearty, and perfectly cozy! Packed with beans and veggies, it's high in fiber and protein.
Servings: 8 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 50 minutes

Ingredients  

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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. 

Notes

TO STORE: Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
TO FREEZE: Vegan 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 208kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 10gFat: 2gSodium: 752mgPotassium: 769mgFiber: 11gVitamin A: 9524IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 82mgIron: 3mgNET CARBS: 28g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Comments

  1. Chili is one of those foods that I love but don’t make nearly often enough. Just like soup. Love that stuff too, but I forget how much I like it because I’m not usually willing to put in the work to make it. Then I have some while I’m out somewhere and wonder why I don’t eat it more. I miss living at home when my mom would almost ALWAYS have a delicious soup on hand. This cooking for yourself stuff is for the birds…

  2. Poor poor kangaroos… if you can open the freezer without getting hit by a flying pack of chicken my “portion” has a mysterious bag labeled greens (I think it’s chard and a ton of kale from the summer) and a baggie of lentil soup.

  3. Hah, I love your mom for wanting to call her lamb roast vegan! One time, when I was at my mom’s for dinner, I didn’t feel like eating any of the meat dishes. All of a sudden, she asks me in this worried voice, “are you vegan now”? I’m like, no, I am your daughter, after all.

    You know what goes well with this delish chili? Marble rye!

    1. OH MARBLED RYE.

      You are NOT her daughter. I am totally linking her to your ‘baked’ potsticker recipe. You brought ME shame. She probably will disown you!

  4. My parents are good cooks and will make/eat just about anything! Growing up we did eat way too much barbecued chicken breast though.

    Right now I have a huge costco sized box of edamame beans that i keep forgetting to eat. Oh – I also have filet mignon ☺ I don’t like steak but my husband loves it. I have never tried kangaroo – I am not sure I would like it.

  5. I make my chili in a very similar way. Two “extra” ingredients I mix in at the end are cocoa powder and PB. The take the flavor to another level!

  6. Kangaraoo sausages?! Are those a real thing? I’m scared. My fam still loves their meat, but they also beg me to make them vegan creations whenever I come home to visit. Winning!

    1. YES. Alchemy needs to stock it. I think your family are more awesome than you. Well, you’re mum at least. Say hi from me please.

  7. All I really have to say about this is… your first vegan recipe AND meeting me all in the same couple of days? Too big of a fan of this. And I need to make it. And eat it with kale 😉 (obvi…) Safe flight home todayyyy get your booty back here asap!

  8. oh yes! so perfect for a poor college student! AKA moi! saving this recipe for when i move into my apartment!!!

  9. Kangaroo sausage!?!? That frightens me. This chili however does not. I’ve had giant pots of chili in my fridge for the last couple months with all of this goodness and also with quinoa. My mom has a good idea about nutrition, my dad…kinda? Which is funny because he is a doctor, but let’s be real most doctors sadly don’t know shit about nutrition.

  10. i actually think that vegan chili can be heartier than that with beef or chicken. Maybe it’s the fiber? Either way, this looks good!

    p.s. when you move to US bring us some Kangaroo sausage!

  11. well my parents always tell me they ate baked chicken, brown rice, and some sort of salad while in reality, its chicken curry (in creamy sauce), white rice pilaf with nuts and butter, and vegetables…and they never tell me about desserts.. i have banana slices in my freezer.

  12. Your sister’s beef demands are way too funny! Had me cracking up. This chili sounds delicious! If I wasn’t vegetarian I’m sure I would love kangaroo sausages too. I remember visiting Australia when I was a child and trying kangaroo. I thought it tasted a bit like beef, but I could be wrong 😛

  13. Cool idea to add curry to chili! I’ve never heard of doing that before.

    I’m not too picky about protein – I like pretty much everything! It’s my family who are the picky ones haha. So for family dinners we’re pretty much limited to chicken, beef, and pork, which are the only proteins we can all agree on. I’ve offered to cook them all up some tofu but they turned me down. 😛

  14. Right now my freezer has way too many popsicles because they had a sale on them and Darryl bought them at the end of the summer. But who wants to eat popsicles now that it is cold out? No one. This chili looks awesome, Arman! I would love this today for lunch!

    1. I think it would be criminal for you and the boys not to polish them off..before Thanksgiving! Maybe make popsicle soup? (I totally didn’t do that as a kid….)