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.
- 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
- ⅛ 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!)
- 1–2 chipotle peppers, finely minced (or use 1–2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the can)
- 1–2 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
- 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.
- Chop the bell pepper and optional 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.
- While this happening, line up your spices, rinse and drain the beans. If using fresh tomatoes, dice them saving the juices.
- 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 (with their juices), beans and veggie broth.
- 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, 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.
- Taste, adjust, adding more salt, spices, or maple syrup as needed.
- 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.
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.
- 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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