This vegetarian, meatless, and dairy-free delight is a testament to the power of wholesome ingredients and the magic they create when blended with aromatic spices. So, let’s gather around the stove and embark on a journey to savor the richness of this easy vegan chili that warms the soul.
This recipe is a celebration of plant-based goodness, packed with vibrant flavors and wholesome ingredients. So, grab your apron and get ready to whip up a batch of this comforting dish (alongside my cheesy jalapeños cornbread muffins) that will warm your soul and ignite your taste buds!
What’s in this easy vegan chili
Here is a list of some of the ingredients used to make this recipe. However, it does not include all the optional ingredients listed in the recipe card.
- Sweet Onion: Diced and sautéed, the sweet onion adds a mellow sweetness and depth of flavor to the chili, creating a delightful foundation for the other ingredients.
- Garlic: Minced garlic brings its aromatic and pungent notes to the chili, infusing it with a distinctive taste that perfectly complements the other spices and vegetables.
- Bell Pepper: The vibrant colors and crisp texture of the diced bell pepper contribute to the visual appeal and provide a refreshing sweetness to balance the heat of the spices.
- Diced Tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes provide a burst of bright acidity and tanginess, giving the chili a robust and savory base. They add a delightful texture and contribute to the overall body of the dish.
- Kidney Beans: These protein-packed legumes, when rinsed and drained, offer a meaty texture and a mild earthy flavor. They serve as a substantial component of the chili, providing a satisfying bite.
- Black Beans: Another nutritious legume, black beans provide a creamy texture and a slightly sweet taste. They enhance the heartiness and richness of the chili while adding a significant source of plant-based protein.
- Vegetable Broth: This flavorful liquid forms the base of the chili, infusing it with savory notes. It brings all the ingredients together while providing moisture and depth to the overall taste.
- Chili Spices: A blend of spices, including smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, and other seasonings bring warmth and complexity to each spoonful. Chili powder (a common staple in chili) adds a smoky and robust flavor to the dish.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper: Essential for balancing flavors, sea salt enhances the taste of the chili, allowing all the other ingredients to shine. It brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetables and spices. Freshly ground black pepper adds a hint of spiciness and subtle heat to the chili, enhancing the overall flavor profile and providing a gentle kick.
How to make this easy vegan chili
- Firstly, in a large pot or Dutch oven, heat avocado oil over medium heat. Add the diced sweet onion and minced garlic, and sauté until they turn golden and fragrant.
- Secondly, incorporate the diced bell pepper & any other veggies of your choice into the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes, allowing the vegetables to soften and release their flavors.
Introduce the diced tomatoes, kidney beans, and black beans. Stir gently to blend all the ingredients harmoniously.
- Thirdly, pour in the vegetable broth, and sprinkle the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, dried oregano, sea salt, and black pepper over the mixture. Give it a thorough stir to ensure the spices are well distributed.
- Fourthly, bring the chili to a gentle simmer, and let it cook uncovered for approximately 25-30 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld, and the chili to reach its desired thickness. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Fifthly, taste the chili and adjust the seasonings according to your personal preference. If you desire an extra kick, feel free to sprinkle some cayenne pepper or add chopped chili peppers.
- Finally, serve the plant-based chili in bowls, and garnish each portion with your favorite dairy-free cheese, vegan sour cream, a generous dollop of guacamole, a spoonful of zesty salsa, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and green onions.
Optional Toppings and Accompaniments
- Dairy-Free Cheese: Sprinkle some dairy-free cheese on top of the chili for a creamy and melty touch. It adds richness and a delightful contrast of flavors.
- Guacamole: Creamy and flavorful guacamole adds a luxurious texture and a burst of freshness to each bite. It complements the spiciness of the chili and provides a cooling element.
- Salsa: A vibrant and zesty salsa, whether homemade or store-bought, adds a tangy and refreshing note to the chili. It brings a burst of acidity and enhances the overall taste experience.
- Cilantro: Sprinkling chopped fresh cilantro on top of the chili lends a burst of freshness and a touch of herbaceousness. It adds a pop of vibrant green color and complements the flavors of the dish.
- Green Onions: Finely sliced green brings a delightful crunch and a touch of brightness that’ll make your chili shine like a star.
Expert tips for making chili
- If you prefer chunkier bites, reserve a portion of the diced tomatoes, beans, and vegetables before adding them to the pot. Incorporate them back into the chili towards the end of cooking for delightful textural variations.
- Embrace the Power of Seasonings: Don’t be afraid to play around with different spices and seasonings. Chili powder, cumin, paprika, and oregano are the classic chili heroes but feel free to add a pinch of cinnamon, or even a hint of cocoa powder for a touch of richness and depth.
- Build Layers of Flavor: To create a truly sensational chili, it’s all about building layers of flavor. Start by sautéing your onions and garlic until they become golden and fragrant. This step unlocks their natural sweetness and adds a delightful aroma to the chili. Then, slowly incorporate your spices, allowing them to bloom and infuse the whole pot with their tantalizing essence.
- Get Creative with Texture: While beans are a common ingredient in chili, don’t shy away from experimenting with different textures. Add some diced vegetables like bell peppers, corn, or even sweet potatoes to create a medley of flavors and a delightful variety of bites. You can also try using textured vegetable protein (TVP) or mushrooms to add a meaty and satisfying texture.
Vegan Chili Variations
- Three-Bean Chili: In addition to kidney beans and black beans, incorporate another variety of beans, such as pinto beans or cannellini beans, to add extra texture and flavor to your chili. This trio of beans creates a robust and satisfying combination.
- Lentil and Vegetable Chili: Replace some or all of the beans with lentils for a protein-packed and fiber-rich chili. Lentils bring a hearty and earthy quality to the dish, and when combined with an assortment of colorful vegetables like bell peppers, corn, and diced tomatoes, they create a delightful medley of flavors.
- White Bean and Butternut Squash Chili: Swap out the traditional red beans for creamy white beans and add chunks of sweet and nutty butternut squash. This variation adds a touch of sweetness and richness to the chili, making it both comforting and satisfying.
- Smoky Chipotle Chili: For those who crave a smoky and fiery kick, incorporate chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to your chili. These smoked jalapeños add a robust and distinctive flavor that beautifully complements the other spices. Adjust the quantity based on your desired level of spiciness.
- Quinoa and Vegetable Chili: Add cooked quinoa to your chili for an extra dose of protein and a delightful texture. Quinoa’s nutty flavor and light, fluffy texture pair wonderfully with a medley of vegetables, creating a hearty and nourishing chili.
Vegan Chili Q&A
Absolutely! While beans are a common ingredient in vegan chili, you can still enjoy a delicious version without them. Consider adding alternative protein sources such as lentils, quinoa, or textured vegetable protein (TVP). These ingredients provide a similar hearty texture and enhance the flavor profile of the chili.
If you prefer a spicier kick, there are a few options. You can add chopped chili peppers like jalapeños, serranos, or habaneros for an extra punch of heat. Another option is to incorporate cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes during the cooking process.
Yes, vegan chili freezes exceptionally well. It’s a great make-ahead option for busy days or meal prepping. Once the chili has cooled down, transfer it to airtight containers or freezer bags, leaving some headspace for expansion. Label the containers with the date and store them in the freezer. When ready to enjoy, simply thaw and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave, adjusting the consistency with a little vegetable broth if needed.
Yes, the slow cooker is a convenient and hands-off method for making vegan chili. Simply combine all the ingredients in the slow cooker, set it on low heat, and let it cook for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours. The longer cooking time allows the flavors to meld together beautifully, resulting in a rich and flavorful chili.
More easy plant-based recipes you’ll love
- INSTANT POT LENTIL SOUP WITH VEGAN SAUSAGE
- SWEET POTATO SOUP WITH SPINACH & CHICKPEAS
- MEXICAN-INSPIRED CORNBREAD MUFFINS
- CHIPOTLE BURRITO BOWL
Best Easy Vegan Chili Recipe
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil sub for olive oil
- 1 medium green bell pepper finely chopped
- 1 small sweet onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic
- salt and black pepper (to taste)
- 3 Tbsp chili powder
- 3 Tbsp cumin
- 2 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp oregano optional
- 2 cans diced/crushed tomatoes 28 oz
- 1 can black beans 15 oz, drained
- 1 can kidney beans 15 oz, drained
- 1 tsp maple syrup optional
- 1 cup corn optional
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat avocado oil over medium heat. Add the diced sweet onion and minced garlic, and sauté until they turn golden and fragrant.
- Incorporate the diced bell pepper & any other veggies of your choice into the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes, allowing the vegetables to soften and release their flavors. Introduce the diced tomatoes, kidney beans, and black beans. Stir gently to blend all the ingredients harmoniously.
- Pour in the vegetable broth, and sprinkle the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, dried oregano, sea salt, and black pepper over the mixture. Give it a thorough stir to ensure the spices are well distributed.
- Bring the chili to a gentle simmer, and let it cook uncovered for approximately 25-30 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld, and the chili to reach its desired thickness. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Taste the chili and adjust the seasonings according to your personal preference. If you desire an extra kick, feel free to sprinkle some cayenne pepper or add chopped chili peppers.
- Serve the plant-based chili in bowls, and garnish each portion with your favorite dairy-free cheese, vegan sour cream, a generous dollop of guacamole, a spoonful of zesty salsa, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and green onions.
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