Vegan Chili (that meat-eaters enjoy, too!)

Ann Fulton

By Ann Fulton

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With its flavor-packed, quick-cooking, crowd-pleasing appeal, this meatless recipe defies traditional chili logic and is 100% worthy of the weekly dinner rotation!

With its flavor-packed, quick-cooking, crowd-pleasing appeal, this meatless recipe defies traditional chili logic and is 100% worthy of the weekly dinner rotation. Good enough for game day, too! 

 

 

 

 

When we think of chili, we typically think of a meaty, long-simmered stew that requires a lengthy list of ingredients and a good bit of chopping.

The reward is a hearty, flavorful, crowd-pleasing dish that can be topped and enjoyed in a myriad of ways. And leftovers taste even better! 

With its meat-free, easy prep, quick-cooking appeal, this recipe defies traditional chili logic. But thanks to a perfect balance of spices, just the right amount of sauciness, and a trio of satiating beans, it works.

In fact, my family of meat-loving boys thinks this recipe really delivers.

For added enjoyment, you may top your bowl of chili as desired. My favorite combination is chopped avocado, shredded cheese (either a sharp cheddar or Mexican blend), and crumbled tortilla chips. 

The recipe as written is vegan. Using cheese as a topping means it will be vegetarian but not vegan, although there are many delicious vegan cheeses available these days. 

With its flavor-packed, quick-cooking, crowd-pleasing appeal, this meatless recipe defies traditional chili logic and is 100% worthy of the weekly dinner rotation!

As written, the recipe yields four generous servings, perfect for those who don’t want huge batch. Feel free to double the recipe as desired. In that case, you may simply need to add a few minutes to the simmer time in order to thicken the chili to your liking. Leftovers do improve with age and freeze well, too.

With its flavor-packed, quick-cooking, crowd-pleasing appeal, this meatless recipe defies traditional chili logic and is 100% worthy of the weekly dinner rotation!

I first made this recipe several years ago to accommodate a vegetarian friend of my younger son in a way that would appeal to his non-vegetarian friends as well. In the interest of time, I resisted the temptation to add onion, fresh garlic, bell pepper, etc.-what we often think of as chili requisites-and had no regrets.

Over time, even the staunchest beef-eaters among us have had nothing but praise for this meatless chili, which cooks down into a hearty, flavor-packed stew that satisfies in the healthiest of ways. (Shout out to the filling protein and soluble fiber in beans.)

Between the ease of preparation and memorable flavor, I find myself returning to the chili many a weeknight and often serve it with this skillet cornbread. That said, a hearty bowl adorned with your favorite toppings will make a complete meal on its own. 

P.S. If you make the cornbread, you might enjoy leftovers as I do-warmed and served with strawberry jam for breakfast. Cornbread has a tendency to dry out over time, so I’ve included my go-to tip to “refresh” the bread in that recipe post.  

 

The overview:

With its flavor-packed, quick-cooking, crowd-pleasing appeal, this meatless recipe defies traditional chili logic and is 100% worthy of the weekly dinner rotation!

The convenience of pantry ingredients: three types of beans combine with a handful of additional pantry staples and a “just right” combination of spices in this plant-based chili with wide appeal.

With its flavor-packed, quick-cooking, crowd-pleasing appeal, this meatless recipe defies traditional chili logic and is 100% worthy of the weekly dinner rotation!

No chopping required, so this quick-cooking recipe is quick to prep, too. (But you won’t be missing anything!)

With its flavor-packed, quick-cooking, crowd-pleasing appeal, this meatless recipe defies traditional chili logic and is 100% worthy of the weekly dinner rotation!

Once all the ingredients have been added to the pot, the chili is briskly simmered for 15 minutes to thicken it. That’s all! And it’s enough to bring out memorable flavor.

With its flavor-packed, quick-cooking, crowd-pleasing appeal, this meatless recipe defies traditional chili logic and is 100% worthy of the weekly dinner rotation!

Cornbread and chili are a match made in heaven, and Southern (With a Twist) Cornbread is one of my longtime favorites. The tender recipe uses only cornmeal-no flour-so it’s naturally gluten-free. I’ve also created a worthy dairy-free adaptation for those who need it. 

With its flavor-packed, quick-cooking, crowd-pleasing appeal, this meatless recipe defies traditional chili logic and is 100% worthy of the weekly dinner rotation!

Who would have thought that a quick-cooking chili with no meat (and no chopping!) could produce an outcome so widely adored? Whether you eat meat or not, this simple but flavor-packed recipe is worth a try. It’s a favorite in our house that relies on economical and convenient ingredients. 

 

Vegan Chili (that meat-eaters enjoy, too!)
Yield: 4 servings
A brisk simmer over medium heat helps this easy but incredibly flavorful chili thicken quickly. The chili will continue to thicken as it rests, so keep that in mind if you prefer a somewhat soupier chili.
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons (28ml) olive oil
  • ¾ cup (180g) mild or medium tomato salsa (not corn and black bean salsa, which usually has a puréed bean base)
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce or puréed tomatoes
  • 3 cups (24 ounces) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt* plus several hearty turns of the pepper mill (about ¼ teaspoon)
  • Optional for serving: crumbled tortilla chips, chopped avocado, shredded cheese (if not vegan; or use vegan alternative), lime wedges, rice or grain of choice

 

Instructions

Heat the oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium. Cook the salsa, cumin, chili powder, oregano, and garlic powder, stirring, until fragrant and slightly reduced, 1–2 minutes. Stir in the three cans of drained beans, tomato sauce or puree, broth, salt and pepper. (Helpful hint: swish some of the broth in the tomato can to get every last bit out of the can.) Bring to a simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Adjust the heat, if necessary, so that the chili cooks at a brisk simmer (not a hard boil – on my stovetop this is medium heat), stirring occasionally, until the flavors are blended and the chili is thickened but still a little soupy, about 15 minutes.

Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with toppings of choice.

Notes & Helpful Hints

*I use Pacific low sodium broth; start with ¾ teaspoon of the kosher salt if using a regular sodium broth or being mindful of sodium intake.

Advance prep and freezing: The chili can be made 3 days ahead; cool, cover and refrigerate. When preparing ahead, I stop cooking when it’s still a little soupier than I ultimately prefer, as the chili will continue to thicken as it cools and sits over time. This chili freezes well, too. You may wish to freeze in individual portions for single meals at the ready.

Options:
You could substitute chicken broth if not intent on a vegetarian recipe.
Feel free to alter the bean varieties based on what you have on hand.
A cup or so of corn, whether frozen, fresh, or drained from a can could be added.
The last time I used a mild salsa, so I added ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper with the other spices because we enjoy a hint of heat. Optionally, to accommodate those in your group who may enjoy spicier chili, you could serve with hot sauce or sliced fresh or pickled jalapeños on the side.

Adapted From: Epicurious November 2017
The Fountain Avenue Kitchen https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/

With its flavor-packed, quick-cooking, crowd-pleasing appeal, this meatless recipe defies traditional chili logic and is 100% worthy of the weekly dinner rotation!

Same chili, last year’s Super Bowl!

 

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Comments

  1. AvatarMary Lou

    This looks so good! Going to make this weekend! And I want to make cornbread to go with it. Thanks Ann! Stay warm and safe!

    Reply
    1. AnnAnn Post author

      You are very welcome, Julie! I’m happy you enjoyed (twice!) and that you passed the recipe to your son. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply