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 46 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. This was excellent. I added a bag of vegan chorizo crumbles when I sauteed the onions and garlic and followed the remainder of the recipe to a ‘T’. I have always thickened my chili recipes with cornmeal – it gives the dish a hint of Mexican corn tortilla. Being vegan, I had usually adapted chili recipes to suit me. This is ready-made. Thanks for all the excellent plant based and vegan choices.






  2. Just made this chili for our Super Bowl gathering. Delicious!! I even left out a couple of ingredients and it was still delicious. I will make this again. 🙂






  3. Sorry if I missed this, but is the sweet potatoe suppose to be cooked? I assume it’s diced. The recipe as it appears in my phone dozen show it in the ingredients section. & 10 mins or until tender I’m assuming is a wide range of sweet potato is added raw. Making this now, & it smells heavenly.






  4. I made this over the weekend and has to be one of the best chili recipes ever! I added your cornbread and it was fantastic! I added both a little sweet potato and parsnip as I love root vegetables. Wonderfully unique blend of flavors.






  5. This chile really did blow my mind ! Did you use 3 Tablespoons of the Rancho Gordo New Mexico Chile Powder in yours ? I saw this to late but I have a whole jar of it that I received with my bean club shipment . If so I will definitely use it next time . Thank you for another Wonderful recipe !






  6. SO GOOD. I didn’t have any coriander or paprika, but I don’t think it mattered much. The flavor is beautiful and complex and I will definitely be making this again. Thank you!






  7. Sylvia, your flavors never miss. I followed the recipe (added the sweet potato) and this was fantastic! We are introducing more plant based meals into our diet and I’m so thankful to have your blog as a resource. Every new dish is a delight and it’s making this change so fun for us. Thank you!






    1. Hey Brooke, there is no meat in this recipe? Do you mean the Instant Pot chili with Dry beans?

  8. I’m an aspiring vegetarian/vegan, and this recipe makes me believe I can do it! Really delicious, comforting, complex…
    I used impossible burger, a can of corn, a stray zucchini. Seasoning is just right. Husband loves it and he has wide-ranging Texas chili experience. I am using half the batch to make your tamale pie. In oven now, and excited to see how it turns out. Thanks again Sylvia!






      1. It was delicious. But I think my proportions were a little off. Using closer to the whole batch of chili would have been a better balance with the cornbread topping. The chili is so good on its own though, that it did feel a little like gilding the lily.






  9. This is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!! Honestly, it has to be one of the best recipes I’ve tried from your site (big big fan of yours and your team!)

    Tips for those who can handle heat: use hot chilli powder (I used only 2 tbsps) and to counter that add three squares of dark chocolate. It really reminded me of mole negro, it was so good






    1. Hi Ellie, We are thrilled you enjoyed this! And yum-love boosting up the spice and extra chocolate!

  10. I made a mistake… I made the recipe as is, and then added the vegan chorizo I made last night (which is by the way SO GOOD and easy to make!). It turned out to be a little too hot for my taste. It would be perfect otherwise though. I think next time I’ll omit the chipotle in the main chilli recipe if I’m planning on adding chorizo again. I’m unfortunately not a good cook and I have to say that, so far, your recipes haven’t let me down!






    1. Thanks Virginie! The vegan chorizo sounds tasty here but I can see how it would get a little spicy!

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