Colder weather means cozy sweaters, nights by the fire, football tailgating, and movie nights at home. The perfect fall recipe for all of these activities? This healthy and cozy vegan chili! It’s the comfort food to trump all comfort foods, and this veggie-packed bowl of cozy goodness is full of bold and vibrant flavors, three kinds of beans for tons of plant based protein, and a few secret ingredients to truly make the best, most flavorful chili ever. Customizable to make it smoky or spicy if you like, or mild if you don’t. It’s even tastier with a dollop of vegan greek yogurt and a piece of gluten free vegan cornbread.
What is Vegan Chili Made of?
I promise vegans, vegetarians, omnivores and carnivores will all LOVE this chili. Even if you’re a meat-eater, you won’t miss the meat at all because this recipe does not compromise on any of the flavor, protein, fiber, or nutrients. This chili is loaded with:
- Veggies: sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, peppers, corn, fresh tomatoes and spinach
- Beans: black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans
- Herbs: fresh cilantro, dried oregano
- Seasonings: chili powder, cumin, paprika, cinnamon
- “Secret Sauce” to give this chili a robust full flavor: unsweetened cacao powder, adobo sauce, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce
By combining this variety of ingredients you end up with an incredibly flavorful, nutrient-rich, hearty and filling chili that will warm you up on a chili day (pun intended) and make the perfect make-ahead lunch or meal prep.
Can I Make This Chili Ahead of Time?
ABSOLUTELY! The best thing, in my opinion, about chilis, soups, sauces and stews is that they actually get better and more robust in their flavor after 24-48 hours, so I actually recommend you make this chili the day before. It can be stored in air tight containers in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
What is the Best Way to Serve This Vegan Chili?
This chili is delicious with a variety of toppings and sides but some of my favorites are:
- Plain Vegan Greek Yogurt: a thick and creamy yogurt adds a cool and refreshing contrast to the bold, spicy, savory chili
- Avocado: cubed avocado also adds a cool and refreshing contrast and creaminess
- Crispy Chickpeas: roasted or store bought, this topping is a great way to add a little crunch. My favorite kind is from Biena
- Crusty GF Bread: this chili has major dunkability and toasted bread is a great way to sop up the extra liquid
- GF Cornbread: slightly savory, slightly sweet, cornbread and chili is always a match made in heaven
- Fresh Cilantro: a sprinkle of fresh herbs adds a brightness to your bowl
- As an Appetizer at a Tailgate Party: Bringing more than one dish? Check out these Vegan Jackfruit Taquitos for another crowd pleaser!
Can I Make This Chili in a Crockpot?
You bet! I would recommend sautéing your onions and garlic first, and then adding to a crockpot with the other ingredients and cooking on low. Your house is going to smell AMAZING!
- Dutch Oven
- Chef's Knife
- Cutting Board
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 sweet potato, cubed
- 3 celery stalks, sliced
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 2 TBSP hot chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt and pepper
- 2 TBSP unsweetened raw cacao powder
- 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 1 C water or vegetable broth
- 1/4 C tomato paste
- 4 oz chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped skip if you do not like smoky/spicy flavors
- 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 1 TBSP soy sauce or liquid aminos
- 14 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 14 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 14 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 C yellow sweet corn
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 TBSP maple syrup
- 1 TBSP sriracha optional
- 2 C baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 1 C fresh cherry tomatoes, halved
- sliced avocado
- vegan greek yogurt or sour cream
- crispy chickpeas
- fresh cilantro
- Heat 1 TBSP olive oil or water in a large Dutch oven over low heat. Add in onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add in sweet potatoes, carrots, and celery and sauté for 5 minutes. Add in bell peppers and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add in all seasonings, including cacao, and sauté for about 30 seconds, adding a little extra oil or water if needed.
- Pour in tomatoes, water or broth, tomato paste, chipotle peppers, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce. Stir to combine. Add all beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add in remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Gently simmer for 5 minutes until corn is heated through, tomatoes have softened, and spinach has wilted. Season to taste by adjusting sriracha, maple syrup, salt, pepper, and lime juice.
- Serve hot topped with recommended toppings.