This recipe for vegan chili has been part of our “go to” meal line up for years. It has made appearances at fund raisers, family dinners and pot luck suppers, getting rave reviews. You will love how simple and fast it is to pull together and how easy it is to multiply the recipe.
I first made this chili when my kids were young and we served it with a bowl of corn chips. We called it as “thick enough to sit on a chip chili”. Most days we still eat it that way, but it is also great with a side of corn bread or rice.
The Vegan Chili Goes Public
This chili developed an enthusiastic following at a rowing fund raiser we were involved in for years, causing people to start asking for the “vegetarian chili”. I called it that because I realized that people often associate vegetarian with being healthy and vegan as being extreme. When they asked about the chili, I would smile and say, “It is actually vegan. But I knew some people would be afraid to try it if I called it ‘vegan chili’.” Because of the popularity of this vegan chili we have had many opportunities to share vegan food with friends, family and strangers.
Vegan Chili at College
A year ago, my son and his girlfriend, students at Bowdoin College, used the recipe for a chili cook-off in one of the dining halls. While it did not win, the dining service was impressed enough with the chili to make it part of their regular rotation of vegan offerings in the dining halls. That is a win to me!
Mild or Hot, it’s up to you!
As I mentioned, this vegan chili recipe was created when my kids were small so the level of heat and spice in the basic recipe is appealing to the gentlest of palates. We have since turned up the heat by adding hot sauce or red pepper flakes to the recipe and I often add a tablespoon of hot sauce and a tablespoon of agave. Consequently, you can adjust it to your own level of desired heat quite easily.
Even The Meat Eaters Will Love This Vegan Chili
This dish is also a great one for introducing vegan, or vegetarian, food to suspicious carnivores. Occasionally, I have tossed in a package of veggie crumbles to give them the mouth feel they are used to. We don’t often use the analog meats, but they can be an invaluable transition food for many people and a life saver for vegans who live with and/or cook for non vegans.
So, get ready to really WOW the taste buds of anyone you make this for (I bet they won’t believe it’s vegan). This vegan chili has more than enough taste and heartiness to satisfy anyone!
(If you like this one, and we think you will, check out some more of our other crowd-pleasing Big Pot recipes, too!)
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 2 medium white onions, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 Tbs chili powder (spice blend not red chili powder or cayenne)
- 1 1/2 cups each of cooked kidney, black and garbanzo beans (or 1 (15oz) can of each - drained and rinsed. discard the fluid) 4 1/2 cups total
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 28 oz can crushed tomato
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 Tbs agave syrup or sugar
- sauté onions in olive oil until tender
- add spices and cook additional 1 - 2 minutes
- add tomato paste and stir for 1 minute
- add remaining ingredients and heat, covered, over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for about 30 min.
- Optional: 2 or 3 cloves of crushed garlic or a tsp of garlic powder (or to taste)
- chopped lettuce and cilantro
- vegan shredded cheese
- sliced avocado or a dollop of guacamole
- vegan sour cream
- When cooking for suspicious carnivores, or nervous "almost-vegans" I have on occasion thrown in a package of veggie crumbles to give them the mouth feel they are used to. It's a good use for the "analogue meats".