This Vegan Chili recipe is so rich and robust! Packed full of flavor, it’s wholesome and hearty with layers of complexity and depth. Video.

This Vegan Chili recipe is so rich and robust! Packed full of flavor, it's wholesome and hearty with layers of complexity and depth. Video.

You are looking at my all-time favorite Chili recipe. It’s rich, smoky and deep with just the right amount of heat. Though it’s 100% vegan, this chili recipe has incredible depth and complexity that even meat-eaters will appreciate. It’s perfect for meal prep, nourishing you throughout the week.

Make a big batch on Sunday, then serve it up with Vegan Cornbread Muffins during the busy workweek, or freeze it in batches. Hearty and deeply satisfying, this is the best vegetarian chili!

Why You’ll Love This!

  1. Cozy and comforting! Chili is the ultimate cold-weather comfort food. This recipe is made with warming spices and it has the perfect amount of heat to warm you from the inside out!
  2. Full of healthy veggies. Onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers, and sweet potatoes give this chili a colorful assortment of vitamins and nutrients. Plus, the beans add even more nourishment, protein, and fiber!
  3. Complex, robust flavor. Ingredients like cinnamon and chipotle add hints of warm spice while cocoa powder adds richness and depth. Soy sauce is a sneaky addition that adds a bit of umami, while enhancing all of the other flavors in the dish!
  4. Perfect for meal prep and freezing! Chili is the perfect recipe to make in large batches to enjoy on busy weeknights, and it stores well in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Vegan Chili Ingredients

  • Onion: Adds a savory and slightly sweet flavor to the vegan chili.
  • Carrots: Bring a natural sweetness, a subtle earthy flavor, and nice texture to the chili.
  • Celery: Contributes a nice crunch and slightly tangy taste to the chili.
  • Red bell pepper: Adds a sweet and slightly tangy flavor to the chili, along with a slight crunch. Poblano peppers can be used as an alternative to add a mild heat and a smoky flavor.
  • Sweet potato or parsnip (optional): Add a touch of natural sweetness and a creamy texture to the chili.
  • Garlic cloves: Adds a robust and aromatic flavor to the vegan chili, enhancing its overall taste.
  • Spices (chili powder, ground cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, dried oregano, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and chipotle): These spices work together to create a complex and well-rounded flavor profile that’s warm and earthy, citrusy, smoky, herbal, with a perfect amount of heat.
  • Diced tomatoes (canned or fresh): Contribute a tangy and slightly acidic taste to the chili. They also provide a rich and thick texture.
  • Cooked beans: The assortment of black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, or other beans adds a hearty and creamy texture to the chili.
  • Soy sauce: Adds a savory and umami flavor to the vegan chili. If preferred, you can substitute with gluten-free liquid aminos or vegetable bullion paste/cubes for a similar effect.
  • Tomato paste: Adds richness and thickness to the chili. It also enhances the tomato flavor.
  • Dark cocoa powder or one square of dark chocolate (optional): Brings a subtle bitterness and depth to the chili.
  • Maple syrup (or brown sugar) to taste: Adds a touch of sweetness that balances the acidity of the tomatoes and harmonizes the flavors in the chili.
  • Ground walnuts or pecans, or ground soy meat: If included, ground walnuts or pecans add richness and a nutty flavor to the chili. Ground soy meat or similar plant-based meat substitutes can provide a meaty texture and taste for those seeking a heartier chili experience.

Fun and Tasty Chili Toppings!

This Vegan Chili recipe is so rich and robust! Packed full of flavor, it's wholesome and hearty with layers of complexity and depth. Video.

Vegan chili toppings

Pick any or all of the following:

  • Avocado
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Pickled onions
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Cilantro
  • Scallions
  • Vegan sour cream
  • Vegan cheddar cheese
  • Fresh squeeze of lime juice
  • Tortilla chips

How to Make Vegan Chili

Cook the base. Dice the onion, and saute in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat with a few tablespoons of olive oil, until fragrant and golden. Lower heat to medium heat, add the carrots, celery and garlic, and saute 5 more minutes.

Add more veggies. Chop the bell pepper and sweet potato and add to the pot, season with ½ teaspoon sea salt and continue cooking for 10 minutes, or until veggies are just tender, stirring occasionally.

While this happening, line up your spices, rinse and drain the beans. If using fresh tomatoes, dice them saving the juices.

Add the spices. When the veggies are just tender add the spices – chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, smoked paprika, cayenne, cinnamon. Toast the spices in the pot for 1-2 minutes to bring their flavors forward.  

Add the tomatoes, beans, and broth. Add the tomatoes (with their juices), beans and vegetable broth.

Simmer. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, stir,  and then cover with a lid, and simmer gently on medium low heat, for 10 more minutes or until veggies are fork-tender.

Stir in the tomato paste, soy sauce, chocolate and maple syrup. Add the optional ground walnuts. The ground nuts add depth and also thicken the chili. If leaving them out, you could blend 1-2 cups of chili in the blender and return this to the pot to thicken.

A healthy vegan chili recipe that is loaded up with nutritious veggies- a great way to use up all those stray veggies in the fridge. Healthy and FULL of flavor! #veganchili #vegetarainchili #easychili #healthychili #vegandinnerrecipes

Taste and adjust. Taste, adjust, adding more salt, spices, or maple syrup as needed.

Serve in a bowl with any of the following: fresh cilantro, diced avocado, scallions, pickled jalapeno, hot sauce, sliced radishes, pickled onions, vegan sour cream or vegan cheese, or a drizzle of olive oil.

Expert Tips

  1. Take your time cooking the base of the chili. This vegetarian chili recipe starts with a flavorful base: onion, garlic, celery, carrot. Cooking the onion until fragrant and deeply golden adds depth here, so take your time.
  2. Add additional veggies! Feel free to add additional veggies like sweet potato, parsnip, zucchini, corn, or winter squash if you like. I find the sweetness of sweet potato and parsnip really elevates here.
  3. Season the chili well. Add spices, soy sauce for depth and add chocolate for both depth and subtle sweetness. Add optional walnuts for extra umami. The spices and seasonings will add a deep earthiness, and you end up with a delicious pot of vegan chili that even meat-eaters will enjoy.

FAQs

Can Vegan Chili be made in an instant pot?

YES! This vegan chili can be made on the stovetop or in an instant pot. See the recipe notes.

What can you substitute for meat in Vegan Chili?

Use soy crumbles or other ground plant-based meat alternatives. Lentils or ground walnuts also add a nice meaty texture.

Is Vegan Chili healthy?

Yes! Because of the assortment of colorful veggies and the beans, this chili is rich in calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. This chili is an excellent source of plant-based fiber.

How to store Vegan Chili

The chili will last 4-5 days in the fridge in an airtight container or can be frozen for up to 6 months. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave. If reheating from frozen, thaw in the refrigerator first.

Our favorite Vegan Chili -full of depth and flavor and loaded up with healthy veggies. #veganchili

More Cozy Soup Recipes!

Whip up a batch of this super flavorful Vegan Chili this weekend with Classic Cornbread or these Vegan Cornbread Muffins and let us know what you think! xoxo

Sylvia

Watch How to Make Vegan Chili! | Video

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This Vegan Chili recipe is so rich and robust! Packed full of flavor, it's wholesome and hearty with layers of complexity and depth. Video.

The BEST Vegan Chili Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 47 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine| Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x
  • Category: chili, soup, stew, vegan
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: american
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This Vegan Chili recipe is so rich and robust! Packed full of flavor, it’s wholesome and hearty with layers of complexity and depth. Video.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced small
  • 1 cup carrots, diced small
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, diced  (or sub 4-ounce can diced green chilies)
  • 6 fat cloves of garlic, rough chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or ground chipotle
  •  teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  •  14-ounce can of diced tomatoes, with juices, or 1 1/2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced (with juices)
  • 3 x 14-ounce cans beans – any assortment of black, pinto, kidney or etc. (drain and rinse) about 4.5 cups cooked beans.
  • 1 cup of veggie broth, more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce  (or GF Liquid Amino’s) or sub 1-2 veggie bullion paste or cubes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dark cocoa powder, or one square of dark chocolate (optional, but good!)
  • 12 chipotle peppers, finely minced (or use 12 tablespoons adobo sauce from the can) 
  • 12 teaspoons maple syrup ( or brown sugar) more to taste
  • Optional: add crumbled or ground plant-based meat, like soy crumbles.
  • Optional:  1/2 cup ground walnuts or ground pecans 
  • Optional Garnishes – avocado, pickled jalapeno, pickled onions, chopped tomatoes, radishes, cilantro, scallions, vegan sour cream, vegan cheddar or a drizzle of olive oil

Instructions

  1. Dice the onion, and saute in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat with a few tablespoons of olive oil, until fragrant and golden. Lower heat to medium, add the carrots, celery and garlic, and saute 5 more minutes.
  2. Chop the bell pepper and optional raw sweet potato and add to the pot, season with ½ teaspoon salt and continue cooking for 10 minutes, or until veggies are just tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. While this happening, line up your spices, rinse and drain the beans. If using fresh tomatoes, dice them saving the juices.
  4. When the veggies are just tender add the spices – chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano,  smoked paprika, cayennecinnamon. Toast the spices in the pot for 1-2 minutes to bring their flavors forward.  Add the tomatoes (with their juices), beans and veggie broth.
  5. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, stir,  and then cover with a lid, and simmer gently on medium low heat, for 10 more minutes or until veggies are fork-tender.
  6. Stir in the tomato paste, soy sauce , chocolate, chipotle, and maple syrup. Add the optional ground walnuts. The ground nuts add depth and also thicken the chili. If leaving them out, you could blend 1-2 cups of chili in the blender and return this to the pot to thicken.
  7. Taste, adjust, adding more salt, spices, or maple syrup as needed.
  8. Serve with any of the following: fresh cilantro, diced avocado, scallions, pickled jalapeno, hot sauce, sliced radishes, pickled onions, vegan sour cream or vegan grated cheddar, or a drizzle of olive oil.

Notes

For faster cooking, be sure to dice veggies small. It helps if you have a large sharp knife. 😉

Chocolate and soy sauce may seem strange for chili, but both add complexity and depth. Using canned tomatoes may make this quite acidic, so use maple or brown sugar to balance it here.

This can be made in an instant pot.  Set to Saute function: saute onion, garlic, carrots, celery in olive oil 4-5 minutes, add bell pepper, sweet potato, salt, spices, tomatoes (with all the juices) drained beans, and broth and soy sauce.  Pressure cook for 7 minutes on high. Manually release. Stir in tomato paste, chocolate, maple and ground walnuts. Taste, adjust salt, sweetness and add chipotle for more heat if you like. Keep on warm, and serve with any of the garnishes.

The leftovers are great the next day- to mix it up a bit, try serving it over a baked potato.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 227
  • Sugar: 6.7 g
  • Sodium: 701.3 mg
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 35.1 g
  • Fiber: 9.6 g
  • Protein: 9.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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Comments

  1. The best vegan chilli by far, and I’ve tried a few! Loads of flavour and child approved. I sub in some red lentils in place of one can of beans, which adds a nice texture.

  2. Wow! Just delicious and satisfying. Love the depth of flavor from all the spices. I used both parsnips and sweet potato. Everyone loved this, even our turkey chili lovers! Thank you for your wonderful recipes.






  3. This was fantastic! I added some corn to mine because I LOVE corn. Topped it off with cilantro, jalapeño, and ripe avocado and it was absolute perfection! Thank you! This most certainly go on the weekly rotation in our home!






  4. I made this recipe as is. At first I looked at the amount of spices and thought it was a mistake. It was absolutely delicious with very deep flavors!
    I put a cup in the blender at the end to change the texture and did it ever work well.
    Excellent recipe!! A keeper.






  5. This was REALLY good. My husband doesn’t really like chili and he said this was the best one he’s had.






  6. The is the best Vegan chili ever! Have made alot of Vegan chili they were just ok, to eat once. But this recipe is so flavorful and delicious!

  7. Hello! What kind of dark cocoa powder do you use in this recipe? Is it supposed to be dutch process or just cocoa powder?

  8. This is really something special. Fabulous depth of flavor from layers including cinnamon, cocoa, tamari and the many other spices. I made mine with home-made black beans that had a rich and thick bean broth. This may be what inspired me to add ¾ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar at the end, and why I didn’t need to add walnuts or puree to thicken. A side note – I baked some Yukon Gold potato spears without oil and just a bit of salt in a convection oven at 450 on a sheet pan until they were crunchy on a couple of sides and soft inside – and eating these with the chili was a big unexpected pleasure. I imagine topping the chili with a bit of simple cashew cream, some pickled onions, and maybe some kind of cilantro sauce would make this even more delicious for me. Thank you, Sylvia! Your recipes and site bring me huge pleasure every week!






  9. This is really something special. Fabulous depth of flavor from layers including cinnamon, cocoa, tamari and the many other spices. I made mine with home-made black beans that had a rich and thick bean broth. This may be what inspired me to add ¾ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar at the end, and why I didn’t need to add walnuts or puree to thicken. A side note – I baked some Yukon Gold potato spears without oil and just a bit of salt at 450 in a convection oven until they were crunchy on a couple of sides and soft inside – and eating these with the chili was a big unexpected pleasure. I imagine topping the chili with a bit of simple cashew cream, some pickled onions, and maybe some kind of cilantro sauce would make this even more delicious for me. Thank you, Sylvia! Your recipes and site bring me huge pleasure every week!

  10. I’ve made vegetarian chili from many different blogs and it always turns out fine or pretty good….but this was finally the recipe that turned out AMAZING. Thank you!!






  11. I love the savory flavor of recipes from this website and this is my first review (sorry, Silvia—I’m lazy!).

    This chili really hit the spot for me and for my family. I used 2 cans of black beans and 1 can of cannelloni beans (it was what I had on hand). I also added ground walnuts and served over quinoa. I made it stove top. Loved the smooth depth and occasional crunch of this chili. We are not vegan. We added sour cream and cheddar cheese to top it off. Leftovers were great too. Thanks for this recipe! I will make this again.






  12. Wow love how this turned out, thank you for the great recipe! Definitely will make again. I made it in the instant pot. I get the burn notice often and was worried I would with the low volume of liquid but it worked out (I’m also new to insant pot so still learning what ratios work). I didn’t have enough carrots so I used 1/2 cup corn to make up the difference. I also added tempeh chunks and doubled the cinnamon.






    1. Perfect Ashley- great to hear the Instant Pot version worked well here! Love your additions- it a very flexible recipe!

  13. Made this tonight, many of the ingredients having come fresh from our garden and with freshly ground spices. My husband and I would both rank this as very good but not incredible. Made it as written. We’ll enjoy the leftovers but will probably try other of your chili recipes next time.






    1. I really appreciate the feedback Mary- can you tell me in your opinion what would make this better? What did it need, do you think? It has been a while since I’ve made it.

  14. Outstanding! Made for vegan guests (left out celery, added more water, tomato paste & spices). Sooo good! Guests made sure they left with the recipe. Thank you 😊

  15. I like the depth of flavor from the smoked paprika. Used black beans and added leftover coarse ground grits for texture.






  16. My husband and I both love this;

    He texted today that he could eat this every day if I could just figure out how to get some meat into it. 🙄 Any ideas?






    1. You can always add some browned seasoned meat at the end. We have another Chili Recipe with ground meat on the blog too- just search Chili. 😉

  17. Just made this for the holiday weekend, only modification was I added a can of green chiles that I had on hand. Vegans and meat eaters both said it was one of the most flavorful chilis they’d ever had. I could have easily made a double batch and still had no leftovers. I refer to this website every week for ideas, particularly vegan options, and cannot recommend enough. For meat lovers reading this, definitely try the za’atar meatballs on the site.






  18. Made this just in time for the coming nor’easter. I prefer not to sub, but I don’t do well with tree nuts don’t like bell peppers, and the store was out of poblanos, so I added mushrooms with the sweet potato to thicken and subbed three (!!!) very stressed jalapenos for the bell. It’s a spicier chili than I anticipated but wow, it is *delicious*. The depth of flavor here is incredible, and honestly the umami of the mushrooms complimented it surprisingly well. So warming and filling but so much deeper than chilis I’ve made before. This is my new go-to!






    1. Glad you were able to adapt this to what you had! 3 jalapenos would make it quite spicy!

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