This Vegan Chili recipe is a tasty, healthy, and satisfying dish that’s perfect for a weeknight dinner. It only takes about 30 minutes to make and is freezer-friendly!

a bowl of vegan chili with sour cream and cilantro on top

The best Vegan Chili

Chili has got to be one of the words best comfort foods. There’s nothing like digging into a warm bowl of Chili after a long cold day. And this Vegan Chili is one of my absolute favourite recipes. It’s made with kidney beans, tomatoes, garlic, vegetables and a *secret* ingredient that will have you going for seconds. (or dare I say, even thirds.)

This chili recipe is vegetarian and vegan and is made with the perfect combination of veggies, spices and beans. It’s also packed with plant-based protein and fiber so you won’t be left feeling hungry after dinner.

Why you’ll love this chili recipe

  • Packed with veggies. Some vegan chili recipes are made with pretty much…just beans. But not this chili! This veggie chili is packed with vegetables so you’re getting more nutrients in every bite.
  • Customizable. Any veggies you love that you want to add in? Go for it! Wanna swap out the type of beans? Do it! This chili is really easy to customize and make your own.
  • Great to make ahead. Wanna know the secret to an extra flavourful chili? You let it sit in the fridge overnight. This chili recipe is great to make ahead of time so you can put it together for your next meal prep day.
  • Freezes beautifully. If there’s one recipe you should have stocked up in your freezer, it’s this vegan chili. This recipe freezes SO well. Go ahead and double the recipe and freeze half for a rainy (or snowy) day.

Ingredients you’ll need (and substitutions)

ingredients for vegan chili

  • Onions & garlic: Can you make any vegetarian dinner without these? Not in my books! Onion and garlic will help build delicious flavour in the chili.
  • Carrot, celery, red bell pepper: This is our vegetable medley to add flavour and nutriton to the chili. You can also use green bell pepper if you prefer and add in a jalapeno pepper too if you like a bit of heat.
  • Oregano, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin: these four spices will make up the flavour of the chili. You can substitute smoked paprika with regular paprika and leave out the oregano if you don’t have any, but chili powder and cumin are a MUST to flavour your chili.
  • Crushed or diced tomatoes: I like crushed tomatoes for a smoother texture, but you can also use a can of diced tomatoes.
  • Beans: This is the fun part, choose any beans you like! I use red and white kidney beans but you can also use black beans, pinto beans or cannelini beans.
  • Brown sugar: just a touch to help balance out the flavour in the tomatoes.
  • Lime juice: this will help bring out the flavour of the chili and give it that tangyness. You can also use a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice here.
  • Vegan worshestershire sauce:-this is the secret ingredient to make an epic vegan chili. This is optinal to add in but definitely gives it that extra “oompf!”

How to make Vegan Chili (step by step Instructions)

Step 1

Heat the avocado oil in a large pot then add the onion and garlic and sauté for one minute. Then add the red bell pepper, carrots and celery and let the veggies cook together for 5-6 minutes.

Step 2

Once the veggies are browned, add the kidney beans, crushed tomatoes, oregano, ground cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder and seasoning to the pot. Stir everything together then let simmer on low for 15 minutes.

Tip: Like it hot? add a pinch of cayenne pepper!

Step 3

Remove a third of the chili and transfer it to a blender. Gently pulse to slightly blend the chili, then add it back to the pot and mix. This will create more texture in the chili. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Step 4

Serve as is or top off the chili with some vegan sour cream, cilantro and lime juice.

What to serve with Chili

Serve up this Vegan Chili with a batch of Vegan Cornbread which is the ultimate comforting meal! This Chili is also delicious with a variety of different toppings you can add to your bowl:

  • Chopped avocado
  • Vegan sour cream
  • Vegan shredded cheese
  • Sliced jalapeno
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Cilantro
  • Lime Wedge

How to store and reheat

Fridge: store leftover chili in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 6 days. Reheat in a pot on the stove or in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl. If reheating in the microwave be sure to cover the bowl with a plate so the chili doesn’t splatter everywhere!

Freezer: let the chili cool completely then transfer to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months. To defrost let the chili defrost for the day on the counter before dinner, or defrost in the microwave. Reheat in a pot or in the microwave.

Tips for making this vegan chili perfectly

  • Use a good quality brand of crushed or diced tomatoes. This will have a big impact on the flavour of the chili. I like to use brands like Favuzzi or Mutti which are made with higher quality tomateos.
  • Let the chili sit longer. If you have the time, make this chili earlier in the day or a day prior to serving. Letting the chili sit will allow the flavours to become bolder.
  • Blend half the chili for more texture. This is one of my favourite tricks when it comes to chili. This will add more textures to the chili and also help thicken it.

Chili FAQ

What is the best secret ingredient for chili?

Vegan Worcestershire sauce! This adds a savouriness to chili that compliments the flavour of the tomato and spices in the chili. This ingredient will elevate your chlili and give it that “je ne sais qois.”

How do you make chili thicker?

Let the chili cook down uncovered on medium-low heat. This will help to evaporate some of the liquid in your the chili. You can also roughly blend 1/3 to half of the chili and then add it back to the pot. This will thicken the chili nicely.

How do you fix bland chili?

Bland chili is generally due to a lack of seasoning and spices. Add more salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and smoked paprika to your chili if it’s bland.

Is vegetarian chili healthy?

Yes! Vegetarian and Vegan Chili are both very healthy and packed with plant-based protein and fiber.

Should chili be thick or soupy?

This will depend on personal preference. I like a thick chili and personally think chili should be relatively thick. But some people like a soupy chili.

Can you make vegan chili without beans?

If you’d like to make this vegan chili without beans, you can substitute the beans with other ingredients like cauliflower, potato and quinoa to help thicken the chili and make it more hearty.

Can you use dried beans in this chili?

Yes! Just make sure to cook the dried beans according to package directions before adding them into the chili.

More Chili recipes to try

A bowl of white chili on a table with lime and a napkin on the side

If you tried this Vegan Chili or any other recipe on the blog let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment/rating below! Be sure to follow along on PinterestInstagram and Facebook for even more deliciousness!

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vegan chili topped with cilantro and lime in a white bowl

Vegan Chili

  • Author: Jessica Hoffman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Cook
  • Cuisine: Texmex
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Vegan Chili is ready in 30 minutes and perfect for your next cozy weeknight dinner! 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (red or any colour you prefer)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 15 oz can crushed tomatoes (or diced tomatoes)
  • 15 oz red kidney beans
  • 15 oz can white kidney beans
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup water or vegetable broth
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Cilantro, lime and vegan sour cream for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the avocado oil in a large pot on medium-high heat, then add the onion and garlic and let cook for 1 minute. 
  2. Add the carrots, celery and pepper and mix everything together letting cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with a pinch of salt. 
  3. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the oregano, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin and crushed tomatoes, beans, brown sugar, lime juice, vegan Worcestershire sauce and water.
  4. Mix together then cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. 
  5. Add 1/3 of the chili to a blender including some of the liquid and lightly pulse.
  6. Pour the blended chili back into the pot and mix together, seasoning with salt and pepper. 
  7. Serve as is or top it off with some vegan sour cheese, vegan cheese, cilantro and lime 

Notes

Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 6 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave. 

Use a good quality brand of crushed or diced tomatoes. This will have a big impact on the flavour of the chili. I like to use brands like Favuzzi or Mutti which are made with higher quality tomateos.

Let the chili sit longer. If you have the time, make this chili earlier in the day or a day prior to serving. Letting the chili sit will allow the flavours to become bolder.

Blend half the chili for more texture. This is one of my favourite tricks when it comes to chili. This will add more textures to the chili and also help thicken it.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe
  • Calories: 200
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Sodium: 300mg
  • Fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 30g
  • Fiber: 11g
  • Protein: 12g

Keywords: vegan chili, veggie chili, bean chili, vegetarian chili, vegetable chili