This vegan chili recipe is bursting with warming and hearty flavours, making it ideal for a comforting dinner on a cold night. The texture is rich and thick, with a great amount of spice. Gluten-free and even tastier eaten the next day!
I’ve been making this vegan chili recipe over and over again! Sometimes, I shamelessly eat it for dinner 3 days in a row and it just never gets old. When the weather is cold and gloomy, comfort food gets me through it.
And it’s hard to get more cosy than a rich and spicy chili! It’s one of the recipes that appears on my meal rotation as soon as the colder seasons roll around. If I’m studying, a bowl of deliciousness makes the process of writing endless essays much more fun!
I’m sure you will love this one too if you give it a go, if you’re like me and love wholesome comfort food. Vegetarian chilies can be a little bit tricky. Some turn out too watery, others lack flavour. Fear not, because neither mistake applies here.
Why you will love this vegan chili recipe
If you’re looking for a new dinner idea, this one is for you! It is…
Incredibly flavourful. Don’t fear the flavour of bland tomatoes with just a little bit of salt. Despite the ease of preparation, this meatless chili has a fantastic flavour profile. A few ingredients that are listed below really add all the features that are essential for a great chili.
Perfectly spiced. It’s important to be generous with the spices here! As well as the obvious chilli peppers and paprika, we are adding cumin, garlic powder and dried herbs that work incredibly well together.
Easy to make. The entire preparation process is pretty hands-off. Most of it involves stirring together the ingredients in a pan, and then waiting for the dish to cook and really come together.
Gluten-free. This dish naturally uses just gluten-free ingredients.
Made with just simple ingredients. Absolutely nothing fancy here! But this certainly doesn’t sacrifice on flavour. The ingredients involve lots of vegetables for an amazing texture.
Even tastier the next day. Chili has a tendency to taste even better the next day because this gives the flavours to really develop – so, I would recommend making a little bit extra to leave in the fridge.
Ingredients you will need
Scroll down to see the full amounts in the recipe.
- Olive oil. Olive oil, in my experience, works super well in chili recipes. You can leave it out if you want to make this dish oil-free, and replace with around 3 tbsp to sauté the vegetables.
- Garlic. Always an essential!
- Onion. Either red or white onion works well.
- Red bell pepper. This is the sweetest variety.
- Red chilli pepper. Great for adding spice. Choose the exact variety depending on how spicy you want it to be.
- Carrots and celery. These particular vegetables are great for adding texture and earthiness to meals like chillies and soup.
- Tomato paste. This is an essential ingredient for adding tanginess.
- Dried rosemary and thyme. A herby undertone works very well in this dish.
- Beans: I used black beans and red kidney beans. However, you can use any bean variety of your choice.
- Tinned tomatoes. Opt for a finely-chopped variety.
- Plant based milk of your choice.
- Spices and salt: for this recipe, you will need paprika, garlic powder and cumin. If you want even more spice, add cayenne pepper to taste
- Apple cider vinegar. This really helps to add more tanginess to bring the dish together.
- Vegan Worcestershire sauce. Optional, but highly recommended for some smokiness.
- Coconut sugar. You can also use maple syrup.
- Tamari. If not avoiding gluten, you can use soy sauce. Opt for coconut aminos for a soy-free version.
- Lemon juice. Lime juice works too. Adjust the amount you use depending on your preference.
- Cacao powder. You can also use dark chocolate. Regardless, its a must-have finishing touch for a great veggie chili.
How to make a delicious vegan chili
Firstly, heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan. Next, add the garlic, onion, red bell pepper and chilli pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften.
Now add the carrots, celery, tomato paste, rosemary and thyme. Stir together and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the carrots soften.
Add the tinned tomatoes, plant based milk, paprika, garlic powder, salt, cumin, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and coconut sugar. Bring to a light simmer over a medium heat and cook for 25 minutes, stirring frequently. If it starts to dry out, add more plant based milk, water, or veggie broth.
Add the tamari and lemon juice and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
At the end, stir in the cacao powder. Continue stirring for a further 2-3 minutes before serving.
How to serve a vegetarian chili
You can serve it by itself with a few fresh herbs on top, but it also works really well with:
- Rice on the side.
- Vegan sour cream.
- Spicy cashew cream.
- Tortilla chips.
- Chunky guacamole.
- Grated vegan cheese.
Storing and freezing
This vegan chili keeps well in the fridge for up to around 5 days. Reheat it in the microwave or on the stove.
You can also freeze it for up to 2 months. Leave to thaw fully in the fridge before reheating.
Other comforting vegan meals
- Chili with butter beans.
- ‘Cheesy’ potatoes with Brussels sprouts.
- Corn chowder.
- Coconut pasta.
- Chunky potato soup.
Let me know in the comments: what dishes do you always love during the colder seasons? If you give this vegan chili recipe a go, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@earthofmariaa) so I can see your creations, and leave your feedback in the comments below, together with a star rating.
Easy Vegan Chili Recipe (Gluten-free)
- Non-stick pan
- 1 tbsp olive oil or 2-3 tbsp water
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper diced
- 1 small red chilli de-seeded and chopped
- 2 medium carrots peeled and sliced
- 2 ribs celery chopped
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tsp dried rosemary
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tin black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 tin red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup plant based milk
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp tamari
- 1 lemon juice of
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan. Add the garlic, onion, red bell pepper and chilli pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften.
- Add the carrots, celery, tomato paste, rosemary and thyme. Stir together and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the carrots soften.
- Add the black beans, kidney beans, tinned tomatoes, plant based milk, paprika, garlic powder, salt, cumin, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and coconut sugar. Bring to a light simmer over a medium heat and cook for 25 minutes, stirring frequently. If it starts to dry out, add more plant based milk, water, or veggie broth.
- Add the tamari and lemon juice and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
- Stir in the cacao powder. Continue stirring for a further 2-3 minutes before serving.