This vegan chili is hearty, comforting, and protein-dense! It combines your beans of choice with a tomato-based sauce, a cozy selection of spices, several vegetables, and fresh chili pepper (adjust the amount to personal taste). Best of all, this vegetarian chili recipe requires just one pot and 40 minutes from start to finish!
Warm, Cozy, and Nourishing Vegetarian Chili
If my recipes are anything to go by, then Fall/Winter food is my ‘thing’ (which is funny considering I live in a tropical climate!). I’ll never get enough of warm, cozy, comforting dishes like hearty soups, stews, and this veggie and protein-packed vegetarian chili.
Chili sin carne is 100% a meatless chili and yet packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients thanks to a combination of beans (your choice!) and veggies.
Whether I’m enjoying a large bowl of lentil stew, tortilla soup, or lasagna soup, there’s something to be said for any dish that is jam-packed with flavor and nourishment yet made almost entirely of pantry staples. And all in just 40 minutes – simmered gently to complex flavor perfection! (If anything, I encourage you to simmer the vegan chili for even longer, when able!)
This vegan chilli con carne is incredibly meal-prep friendly (for fridge or freezer!) – so you can make a large batch in one go and enjoy leftovers again and again. Plus, with all the fun ways to enjoy this veggie chili – fresh or leftovers- (not to mention experimenting with the various toppings for chili), you’ll never get bored!
Even better, this recipe is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, low-fat, high-protein, and high-fiber. Plus, the use of fresh red chili peppers in the bean chilli boosts the health of this dish even further! One study revealed that individuals who regularly consume red chili peppers had a 13% lower ‘all-cause mortality’ risk! All the more reason to dig into a bowl of this hearty vegan chili sin carne.
And if you want more inspiration for warming, comforting dishes, you might also enjoy this vegan Hungarian goulash, veggie pot pie, mushroom bourguignon, German potato soup (Kartoffelsuppe), and nourishing kitchari!
- Beans: You’ll need four cups of cooked beans (you can use canned) for this bean chilli. Use one or a combination of kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, white beans, etc.
- Vegetables: This veggie chilli includes carrot (grated) and bell pepper (sliced – I used green, though red would also work).
- Aromatics: You’ll need garlic and onion.
- Tomatoes: You can either use 5-6 medium fresh tomatoes (when in-season) or a can of chopped tomatoes (high quality for the best flavor). You’ll also need some tomato paste – the combination of the two will add depth to the vegan chilli sauce.
- Spices: I added ground cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper (or chili powder), and salt and pepper.
- Chilies: I used fresh hot red chili peppers (de-seeded). Adjust the amount to personal taste (I use one- my partner prefers two). You may be able to use canned diced chilies instead.
- Vegetable broth: You can use either vegetable broth or water.
- Sweetener: You can use coconut sugar, brown sugar, or even a liquid sweetener like maple syrup. This will balance the acidity from the tomatoes for a better overall flavor. You may also be able to use a sugar-free sweetener, though I haven’t tried.
- Oil: For sautéing use a neutral cooking oil (olive, avocado, etc.). For an oil-free recipe, you could use a little water or vegetable broth instead.
Optional add-ins and recipe variations:
- More vegetables: Along with carrot and bell pepper, you could add extra veggies such as celery, corn, pumpkin/sweet potato, etc. Just be aware that the latter may increase the cooking time – to simmer until tender (best to do so with the lid on).
- Chipotle: Using chipotle in adobo sauce in place of the fresh chilies can add heat and smoky flavor.
- Citrus: Add a little fresh lemon or lime juice to the vegetarian chilli con carne when serving to brighten the recipe. Alternatively, serve the vegan chili with lemon or lime wedges.
Please read the recipe card below for the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information.
How to Make Vegan Chili?
- First, heat the oil (or water/broth) in a large pan over medium heat. Then sauté the onion and bell pepper for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, mix, and sauté for a further 3-5 minutes.
- Next, add all the remaining ingredients, stirring well. Increase the heat slightly and bring to a simmer. Then simmer the veggie chili for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If the bean chili thickens too much, you can add a little more vegetable broth/ water. The flavors will meld and develop during this time, so don’t try to fast-track this step.
- Finally, taste the vegan chili and adjust any of the seasonings to personal taste. If you want a creamier vegetarian chili, you can remove 1 -1 ½ cups of the chili from the pot, blend it until smooth, and then add it back to the pot. Then serve and enjoy!
What Goes with Chili? (Serving Recommendations)
Typically, I love to enjoy a big warming bowl of vegetarian chili with a side of rice and pita chips. However, there are several ways to enjoy the fresh dish or use leftover chili, including:
- With a side of carbs like rice, pasta, polenta, or potatoes (mashed, boiled, or over a baked potato) – often also with a flatbread like pita or naan.
- Mixed into vegan Mac n’ cheese
- Use the veggie chilli to stuff peppers
- Added to wraps – like burritos (as a main or with tofu scramble at breakfast)
- Spoon over vegan chili cheese dogs (or for sloppy joes)
- With some warm cornbread
- Spoon the vegetable chilli over nachos or fries
- Add to a taco salad (when cold)
- Use the chili as a lasagna filling
- Turn it into a veg chilli dip
Toppings for Chili Sin Carne
You can also easily add extra flavor to the dish with the addition of carefully selected garnishes/toppings for chili, including:
- Fresh cilantro or parsley
- Corn tortilla chips/ pita chips
- Dairy-free cheese – either a crumbly cheese like feta or cheddar
- Avocado slices
- Extra chili slices (for those that like things spicy!)
- Vegan yogurt or sour cream
- Salsa – a fresh tomato salsa, like Pico de Gallo works best. Or even just some sliced cherry tomatoes.
If you’re serving this meatless chili to a large crowd, I recommend creating a platter full of optional toppings. That way, individuals can select what they’d like!
Note- I bought the glass meal prep containers in the next photo from Amazon.
How to Make Ahead and Store
Make ahead: If you cook beans from dried, you can do this in advance. Soak and cook the beans, then store them (portioned) in the freezer for several months. Then, you can add them directly to the veggie chili from frozen or thaw overnight.
Store: Allow the bean chilli to cool slightly, then store in an airtight container in the fridge for between 4-5 days. Btw. it tastes even better on day two!
Freeze: This vegan chili is freezer-friendly for up to three months. Store in an airtight container, then allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating. To freeze individual portions, you could add the chili to a muffin mold (use silicone for easiest removal) – freeze until solid, then transfer to a bag. Then you can thaw a portion as needed.
Reheat: You can reheat the meatless chili on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through. If it has thickened while storing, add an extra splash of water to it while reheating.
Recipe Notes and FAQs
- Adjust the consistency: There are several simple ways to adjust the texture of the chili. You can blend a portion (as mentioned in the recipe) for a creamy consistency. Add more broth/water for a more soupy chili, or reduce for longer for a thicker chili.
- Simmering is your friend: I’ve recommended 30 minutes of simmer. However, if you have the time, I recommend doing so for even longer. Just give the vegetarian chili a taste every 10 minutes until you’ve found your desired flavor. Top up with extra liquid as needed.
- Adjust the spice: It’s easy to adjust how spicy the chili is by adjusting the amount of cayenne and fresh chilies used in the recipe.
- To cook in a crockpot: Complete the first two steps as written. Then transfer the sautéed and remaining ingredients to a slow cooker (crockpot). Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours, or HIGH for up to 2. Check occasionally in case extra broth/water is needed.
More Vegan Bean Recipes
- Mexican pinto bean stew
- Vegan black bean quesadillas
- Cheesy rice and bean casserole
- White bean potato soup
- Black bean burgers
- Spanish rice and beans
- Instant pot refried beans
- Vegan black bean brownies
If you try this vegan chili recipe, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan #elavegan – I love seeing them.
Vegan Chili Recipe
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic finely minced
- 1 green pepper chopped
- 1 medium carrot grated
- 5-6 medium (560 g) diced fresh tomatoes or use 1 (20 oz) can
- 5 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups (480 ml) water or vegetable broth
- 4 cups cooked beans e.g. kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, white beans, or 1 cup of each
- 2 tsp coconut sugar or sub brown sugar or any other sweetener like maple syrup
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp salt or less if you use vegetable broth
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1-2 hot red chili peppers (I used 1, my partner prefers 2)
- 2 tsp oil of choice for frying
- You can watch the video in the post for visual instructions.
- In a large pan or pot over medium heat, add in the oil. Sauté the onion and pepper for about 5 minutes, add the garlic and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Mix in the tomatoes and sauté for another 3 to 5 minutes.
- Now add all remaining ingredients, increase the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or longer, stirring occasionally. Add more water or vegetable broth if the chili gets too thick.
- Recommended step: Pour about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the chili into a different pot. Blend this part using an immersion blender until smooth. You can also blend it in a regular blender. Pour the blended chili back into the large pot and stir to combine,
- Serve with rice, pasta, potatoes or flatbread. Garnish with fresh cilantro or parsley.
- Recipe serves 4. Nutrition facts are for one serving.
- If you love chili, definitely also check out my Vegan Chili Cheese Fries recipe.
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically