The Best Vegan Chili

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Experience the warmth of The Best Vegan Chili, a cozy fall recipe with tempeh, walnuts, and a medley of veggies. It's spicy, heartwarming, and packed with protein, making every spoonful a deliciously meatless marvel to share or meal prep like a pro!

Get ready to “chili” out and cozy up with The Best Vegan Chili – it’s so good, even carnivores will be saying, “meat who?”

This flavor-packed fiesta features a hearty mix of walnuts and tempeh, giving you a protein punch that’s just as satisfying as it is nutritious. We don’t have just any chili recipe here; The Best Vegan Chili ever is lovingly crafted to warm your heart and soul during these cooler months.

I’ve crafted this recipe with a clever twist, using tempeh and walnuts for a protein-packed base that’s as nutritious as it is delicious; it’s been said to fool a few people in the past and has won me titles as a chili professional amongst family and friends! Combined with a rainbow of vegetables, a blend of aromatic spices, and a hint of heat from chipotle peppers, this chili is a true celebration of flavors and textures. As we settle into the heart of fall, there’s nothing more satisfying than a bowl of warmth so gather these ingredients and let’s get cooking!

Ingredients to Make the Best Vegan Chili

  • tempeh
  • walnuts
  • yellow onion
  • sweet potato
  • garlic cloves
  • red bell pepper
  • orange bell pepper
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • cinnamon
  • Worcestershire powder
  • tomato paste
  • canned diced tomatoes
  • chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • maple syrup
  • coconut aminos
  • unsweetened raw cacao powder
  • kidney or black beans
  • pinto beans
  • yellow sweet corn
  • lime juice
  • cilantro


To Serve

  • almond flour or corn tortillas
  • plain unsweetened vegan yogurt or sour cream
  • avocado
  • green onions

Why I think Chili is the best for Meal Prep

Vegan chili stands out as a superb choice for meal prep, largely due to its rich blend of nutrient-dense ingredients. It’s not only got heaps of vegetables, legumes, and spices, but it’s also a powerhouse of essential nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals. When you prep a batch, you’re setting yourself up for several meals that are wholesome and satisfying. Another key benefit of vegan chili is that its flavors tend to deepen and meld over time. This means a chili prepared at the beginning of the week may taste even more delightful after a few days, making it a perfect dish for repetitive enjoyment without losing its appeal.

Did I mention the practicality of its freezer-friendliness?

It can be made in large quantities and stored in the freezer in portioned containers, providing a convenient, quick meal option that reduces food waste and saves time. Sometimes I even enjoy chili in different ways like paired with rice, on top of baked potatoes, or as a filling for tacos and burritos!

The Best Vegan Chili that’s guaranteed to be a hit in your kitchen is here! This recipe will happily take you through fall into winter! And if you’re wondering about the best dish to cook your chili in, look no further!

I am happily married to my beloved Le Creuset, which plays a major role in creating this delightful dish time and time again. It holds and distributes the heat so evenly and doubles as a beautiful serving dish if you’re placing this chili out for everyone to enjoy.

Enjoy this recipe and share with your friends! It’s definitely a winner in my books. Happy cooking!

Jackie Akerberg

Author of the Clean Vegan Cookbook, Food Blogger and Recipe Developer from Des Moines, Iowa. 

Jackfruitful Kitchen has proudly been featured in Forks Over Knives, Vegan Bowls, Vegan Food and Living, and DSM Magazine.

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The Best Vegan Chili

Get ready to "chili" out and cozy up with The Best Vegan Chili - it's so good, even carnivores will be saying, "meat who?" This flavor-packed fiesta features a hearty mix of walnuts and tempeh, giving you a protein punch that's just as satisfying as it is nut-ritious. Loaded with a rainbow array of veggies and fiber-rich beans, it's a veggie bonanza that's sure to delight. And just a heads-up, this chili isn't afraid to bring the heat – it's got a hint of spice that'll warm you up faster than a cozy blanket on a chilly night. The combination of the walnuts and tempeh are oh-so-similar to ground beef, making this hearty chili a true delight.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course, Meal Prep
Cuisine American, vegan
Servings 8


  • stove, dutch oven


  • 1 tbsp avocado oil, water, or veg broth for sautéing
  • 8 oz tempeh
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 1 small sweet potato cut into small cubes
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 large red bell pepper diced
  • 1 large orange bell pepper diced
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire powder
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes with juices
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth plus more as needed
  • 7 oz chipotle peppers in adobo sauce chopped (more or less for desired spice - these babies are hot!)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened raw cacao powder
  • 14 oz can kidney or black beans drained
  • 14 oz can pinto beans drained
  • 1 cup yellow sweet corn
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves chopped

To Serve Ingredients

  • 6 almond flour or corn tortillas cut into 1/4" strips
  • ½ cup plain, unsweetened vegan yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 avocado cubed
  • 2 green onions finely chopped


  • Place the tempeh and walnuts in a food processor and pulse 8-10 times until finely crumbled (similar texture to ground meat). Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Heat oil, water or broth in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add in tempeh and walnuts and sauté for 4-5 minutes until golden on the edges. Add in the sweet potato and a generous splash of water or broth. Cover, reduce heat to low and steam for 5 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender. Add in the onion and garlic and sauté for 2-3 more minutes until the onions are tender, adding more water or broth as needed to deglaze. Add in the peppers and cook for 2 more minutes before adding in the spices and tomato paste, stirring until spices are fragrant for about 30 seconds.
  • Pour in the tomatoes, broth, adobo peppers, maple syrup, cacao powder and coconut aminos and bring to a gentle boil. Stir in beans and corn and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes.
  • While chili is cooking, spread the tortilla strips on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, checking frequently towards the end, until they become golden and crisp.
  • Taste the chili and adjust to your liking, adding the chili garlic sauce if desired for some extra spice. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro and heat through.
  • Serve hot topped with yogurt, avocado, tortilla strips and green onion!
Keyword chili, creamy vegan, dairy free, easy chili recipe, gluten free, plant based, vegan chili
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