This may in fact just be the Best Damn Vegan Chili you've ever tried.
Seriously, I'm not one to brag but.....this Chili recipe has placed TWICE now in various Chili Cookoffs. I'm not kidding, and it did not only come in 2nd place (against 9 other NON-Vegan entries mind you)...... it happened in TEXAS!
Now I lived in the great state of Texas for 5 years, and it was there that I discovered that CHILI was one of the 4 basic food groups. Meat, onions, peppers? Yeah, THAT chili.
And something else I learned, is that Texas chili is something you don't mess with. Noodles are definitely NOT allowed, let alone carrots or celery or any other weird ingredients.
Imagine my horror one day when I found a popular vegan chili recipe that included amongst other things, dates! I know right? Dates!?
So in order to preserve what is right and true in the world, allow me to introduce you to what Texas Style Vegan Chili is SUPPOSED to be.
Best Damn Vegan Chili Ever
"Chili concocted outside of Texas is usually a weak, apologetic imitation of the real thing. One of the first things I do when I get home to Texas is to have a bowl of red. There is simply nothing better."
Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States
I know..... you're asking how you can have Texas Chili without the meat? Well, believe it or not, this recipe holds up just fine without any.
Because first and foremost, Texas chili is all about that spice. That magical blend of spices and peppers that gives chili that distinctive flavor we all know and love.
But If you do insist on some kind of chewy goodness in your chili, then it's about finding a substitute that works.
There are LOTS of meat alternatives, but just remember this chile will stand up on its own just fine....
Here are just a few ideas.....
- An extra can of beans (pinto, kidney, or black)
- Portobella Mushrooms
- My Cauliflower Taco Crumbles
- Butler Soy Curls
- Any of the new burger crumble products in the store
Whatever you use, prepare your onions, bell peppers, and garlic first...
Once your veggies are nice and translucent, then add in your meat substitute and cook until heated through, mixing well.
Then add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, beans, and spices. You can adjust the amount of jalapeño to your own individual taste, basically making this as spicy as you wish.
The Masa Harina is a trick I learned to help thicken the chili. Nobody likes runny chili - right? Just sprinkle a little on top of the chili and then stir it in. It also adds just a hint of corn tamale flavor - perfect for Texas Chili.
After everything comes to a nice slow boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer as long as you can stand it. At least 15 minutes to half an hour - but the longer the better. And although I haven't tried it - you could probably just plop all these ingredients in a slow cooker for the day.
Talk about easy.
I never get tired of good Vegan Chili and THIS my friends, is as good as it gets....Print
Best Damn Vegan Chili Ever
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 16 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
What Texas Style Vegan Chili is SUPPOSED to be. Thick, rich. and spicy. This may in fact just be the best damn vegan chili you've ever had!
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 1 large green bell pepper, diced
- 3-4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 splash vegetable broth (for sautéing)
- 8oz your choice of meat substitutes (OR)
- ½ cup bulgur, uncooked
- 8oz can tomato sauce
- 15oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 cup refried beans
- ¼ cup McCormick's chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp oregano
- 15oz can pinto beans (drained & rinsed))
- 15oz can kidney beans (not drained)
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbs pickled jalapeños (optional)
- 1-2 Tbs masa harina (optional as a thickener)
- Chop onions and peppers into a large soup pot or dutch oven
- Saute in a little veggie broth until translucent and softened.
- Add minced garlic and saute for an additional 30 seconds until fragrant
- Add any kind of meat substitute (if using) or dry, uncooked bulgur and continue to stir for a few minutes until heated through
- Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and remaining broth
- Add in spices and stir until mixed well
- Add all the beans and jalapeños and stir
- Sprinkle up to 1-2 Tbs of the Masa on top if you think it needs thickening. The masa adds a slight 'corn tortilla' or 'tamale' flavor to the chili.
- Give the chili one more good stir and bring it to a slow boil.
- Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 to 30 minutes.
Like This Recipe? Tips & Donations Are Always Appreciated!
Original recipe posted November 28, 2014
Keywords: best damn vegan chili
Does your chili recipe assume that the chili powder has sodium in it? I noticed that most of the commercially available mixes contain salt.
Which meat substitute did you use when you entered this in the cook-offs?
I'm not the one who entered it....other people have
I wanted a beanless chili and I incorporated the changes from your Instant Pot recipe. I made the cauliflower crumbles and I replaced the beans with equivalent weight of mushrooms, 1/2 baby bellas and 1/2 white mushrooms. I also sauteed the vegetables (not including the mushrooms and crumbles) in 3 oz of EVOO, included an jalapeno with the bell peppers (seeded), then I fried the tomato paste with the veggies and oil until it changed color. I subbed in marjoram in place of oregano (wife isn't a fan of oregano), used smoked paprika, fire roasted tomatoes, and included a tsp of a turkish chile in place of the optional chipotle, and layered in some white miso paste and aminos for a little meaty flavor. It was amazing and my wife even said she tasted beans! Sounds like a lot of changes, but really it's your recipe at the heart. Thanks!
Easily my favorite vegan chili recipe on the internet! Ive made this for several years, and make it at least a few times per month and exactly as written, (except I add fresh jalapeños).
I was initially skeptical about the 1/4 cup of Chili powder but it’s perfect 🙂
Thanks Chuck!! 🤗
Seriously, the best chili I have ever had, vegan or not!!!! I can't believe it hasn't won 1st place in every contest it has been in!
Do you recommend a specific type or brand of refried beans for this recipe?
I made this like 30 times, as an athlete its recipes like that that allow me to each what I used to without compromising taste or health. Chuck you have a huge fan in Vermont where this also won a cookoff so thank you.
When I had my first spoon I thought "Okay... it's a chili. Nothing really special about it..." - but then I had this combined flavour explosion in my mouth and was like "Wow, that's the best damn vegan chili I ever tried!" So thank you for sharing your recipe. It's fantastic! Greetings from Germany... ~Sandy
I love this chili! I did not have McCormick's or any "chili powder" other than pure ground ancho chili, so I looked up McCormick's chili powder recipe online. The McCormick's website doesn't actually give the quantities directly, but they do say that their chili powder includes ground chilis, oregano, cumin, garlic powder and salt. Reading further, there was a Q&A in which someone asks, "If I don't have chili powder on hand, what can I use to substitute?" Their answer is exactly what I was looking for:
"Just mix equal parts oregano leaves, paprika, garlic powder and ground cumin. Throw in a dash of ground chipotle pepper, if you have it, to lend a smoky edge. Or add ground red pepper, also called cayenne, if you’d like a little heat. You can substitute this blend for chili powder in equal measure and tailor the flavor to suit your own taste." Since I like spicy food generally, instead using extra paprika as part of my chili powder sub, I decided to use 2 Tbs of the ancho ground chili I had on hand, and then upped the oregano, cumin and garlic powder by 2 tsp each, to make up for the missing 1/4 cup of McCormick's. I also subbed a couple Tbs of minced chipotle in adobe sauce for the chipotle powder, since that's what I had. Finally, I had smoked paprika and used it instead of regular. I had a half package of Beyond Beef Crumbles in the freezer (about 5 oz) and used that for the meat sub. It came out fabulous, and will def make this again.
Thank you Chuck! This is by far the BEST vegan chili recipe ever! Absolutely perfect recipe just as it is written. I have made this at least 50 times and it always tastes excellent.
I have even portioned the completed chili out and dehydrated it for camping and it rehydrates great. A thousand times tastier than the store bought dehydrated food.
Thank you Chuck for the great chili recipe! Next time I make it though, I’m skipping the chipotle chili powder. I tapped the 2x button to double the amounts and doubled the chipotle chili powder - whoa! Big mistake! Way way too hot! Now I have a huge pot of chili that I can hardly stand due to the spiciness. I’m so sad. I can taste the potential of how delicious it would be then the heat kicks in. Next time no chipotle chili powder. I think the regular chili powder & the smoked paprika (I didn’t have regular paprika) will be spicy enough.
I just burned my tongue twice trying to eat it before it cools down!!! Amazing recipe. I used ancho chili powder and 2 cans smoked diced tomatoes because I didn't have sauce. I added mushrooms, since I love them and the whole delicious pot is for me anyway!
Is it possible to make this in the slow cooker? Making it for a party and don't want to be cooking while my guests are here. Thanks
I think so - no reason why it shouldn't.
Brand new vegan's recipes are the best!!!!!
Just tried this recipe for the first time, and I have to day, it's aptly named "Best damn vegan chili"! I've been a vegetarian for many years and have had other vegan chili recipes, but this one is IT. I'm not a fan of really hot food, so was apprehensive about the 1/4 cup chili powder but I like to follow a recipe exactly the first time and then make modifications to suit my taste if necessary later. But it wasn't too hot at all - I would call it "well seasoned." And using the canned refried beans to thicken the recipe was pure genius.
By the way, I used generic store brand chili powder as that's what I had. It's a bit cheaper than the name brands, and it worked just fine.
This is definitely going to have a regular place in my recipe rotation. Thanks, Chuck.