Fall is Here! Vegan Chili Recipe

vegan chili

I really like chili.  Especially as the temperatures begin to drop and the leaves are changing here in the Chicagoland area.

It’s the perfect soul-warming food  that can be full of good-for-you ingredients.  In fact, I usually change the ingredients based upon what I have available.

After the tomatoes and onions, some ideas include:  bell peppers, anneheim peppers, zucchini, winter squash, sweet potato, parsnips, corn and mushrooms.

When we’re in the mood for a meat chili, and I will often use ground bison, and sometimes ground turkey.

Other times I’ll make a vegetarian chili, using beans (black, pinto, garbanzo, kidney, etc.), and other times I’ll use crumbled tempeh.

As a part of my last seminar, I shared a recipe for an outstanding vegan chili.  I used crumbled tempeh, since I figured this would be an ingredient that not everyone has tried.  As far as a meat replacement in chili, it does an outstanding job!

Vegan/Vegetarian Chili (serves 4 for dinner)

  • 2  14-oz. cans tomatoes (or boxed/jarred), crushed, petite diced and/or stewed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 c. chopped veggies (bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, etc.)
  • 1/2 – 1 can beans, drained (~1 c.)
  • 1  8 oz. package of tempeh, crumbled
  • 2-3 T. high-quality chili powder
  • cumin, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, ground red pepper (all to taste)
  • optional secret ingredient:  1 T. cocoa powder
  • garnish:  sliced green onions, diced jalopenos (vegetarian, but not vegan: greek yogurt, parmesan cheese)

1.  In a large pot, cook the onion on medium heat until translucent.  Add the chopped veggies, and cook for about 5 minutes more.

2.  Add the tomatoes, beans, tempeh and seasonings and cocoa powder, and stir.

3.  Cook at medium/low heat for at least an hour.  The longer, the better!  Or transfer everything to a slow cooker, and allow to simmer all day.

Note:  Depending upon the thickness desired, you may want to consider adding tomato paste.  I find that it depends on how much liquid the vegetables I choose to use add to the dish.

4.  Serve with any or all of the garnishes listed above.

MIWFY:  This recipe is vegetarian or vegan, depending upon garnishes used.

I often hear people say that they have a “secret ingredient” that makes their chili stand out.  Mine is obviously the cocoa powder.  Do you have one?



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  1. says

    I have been looking for a good vegetarian chili recipe!! I honestly have never tried tempeh and have no clue where to find it. Do regular grocery stores carry it? I guess I could always just add an extra can of beans as a replacement for it.

    • says

      I have a harder time finding it at regular grocery stores, but Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s (that’s where I get it) always have some. If I don’t have tempeh, I will use all beans or sometimes add a little bulgur for the texture.

  2. says

    I love a veggie chili and I never thought to add in the cacao powder (I have some in the pantry). I’ve got chicken chili in the crockpot right now for dinner after the BEARS game!


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