Contrary to what some may think, vegan chili packs all of the protein and flavor of traditional meat chilis. You won’t even notice the difference. Check out this list of easy vegan chili recipes in several styles, from super spicy firehouse to a cozy white bean chili to butternut squash chilis.
You can top any of these with fresh avocado, vegan sour cream, or vegan cheese to complete the perfect bowl of chili. And you can control the spice level to add the perfect amount of heat for your tastebuds!
This chili is an award-winning dish that will convert even the biggest carnivores. The chili recipe on the Nora Cooks blog is full of protein and meaty flavors without any meat or animal byproducts. It features kidney and black beans and crumbled tofu to add more sustenance to the chili.
Vegan chili can be made without tofu, but it adds some soy and protein to the dish! The recipe is unique because it has some sweet aspects that work to enhance the overall flavor. With a dash of cocoa powder and some maple syrup, the flavors come to life, and you’d never even realize the chili is ‘missing’ anything.
Make this warm and cozy black bean and butternut squash chili if you want something different. Butternut squash brings a thickness and a sweet autumn flavor that pairs perfectly with the chili spices. The black beans have a rich and distinct flavor that highlights the butternut squash and makes for one of the heartiest chilis on this list.
If you want a super substantial chili, the squash adds another level of flavor and makes the chili much thicker and filling. You can dice the squash to have big flavorful chunks or blend it up and mash it for a firmer texture in this recipe.
If you love the heat and want to make a super spicy vegan chili, look no further than this fantastic firehouse chili from the Today Show. It features tofu crumbles, and you’ll never even realize there is no meat in it, especially because the spices trump everything.
The smoked paprika is the crucial element for achieving that spicy and smoky flavor most people associate with firehouse chilis. Be prepared to add a decent chunk of your household spices to reach that incredible flavor.
This vegan chili recipe by Nisha Vora is one of the best recipes because it has the perfect amount of kick and a bit of color that you don’t usually get with a bowl of chili. The recipe includes a ton of ingredients, with jalapenos, ancho chili pepper, soy sauce, red wine, vinegar, Mexican corn flour, and more unexpected ingredients.
The steps are also more intensive than most, but even an inexperienced cook can pull it off if they dedicate enough time. If you love a spicy chili, this recipe features three different chilis that you can swap out for other options to achieve the perfect heat level.
The chili recipe on the Epicurious blog is one of the easiest to throw together on a lazy weeknight. It has all the typical ingredients without any of the meat, and with the incorporation of sunflower oil, it has a unique earthy flavor. The Epicurious recipe is excellent for those that don’t want to try and mimic a meaty flavor but want to enjoy the spice and warmth of a bowl of chili.
Unlike some other vegan chili recipes, this one has no added sweetness, giving it a robust and bold flavor that you’ll love. The most important aspect of rounding out the flavor of this dish is the fresh cilantro, so don’t use dried cilantro!
The vegan chili recipe from the From My Bowl blog is all about vegetables. So forget the meat or tofu, round up all of the veggies you have on hand, and maybe run out and get a few more. The recipe features carrots, tomatoes, celery, onions, scallions, garlic, and beans. The chili bowl isn’t very spicy and only uses a handful of spices like cumin and oregano.
So even if you don’t have a well-stocked kitchen, you can still bring this recipe together. While this isn’t the most colorful dish, it has all the flavors you expect from a comforting bowl of chili.
The vegan chili recipes on the blog She Likes Food are one of the thickest chilis, which can be hard to accomplish without beef. Some chilis can have a consistency closer to soup, but this one is a true chili with a thick texture.
The recipe is bean-centric, with lots of different kinds of beans that help beef up the flavor. In addition to the traditional canned beans, you add refried beans to the recipe, making it thicker and full of flavor. Interestingly, the recipe adds Italian seasonings to incorporate those herby flavors, saving you effort in rounding up several different herbs.
Not everyone loves the acidity and heaviness of the classic tomato chili. For those people, this vegan white bean chili is heavenly. It features green chiles, potatoes, corn, white beans, and all the usual spices minus some paprika and chili powder.
But don’t worry, it still has plenty of heat to keep you interested. It’s creamy and comforting and everything you could ever want from a vegan chili with none of the acidity that gives some people unpleasant heartburn. If you take out some of the heat from the spices, this is also a fantastic recipe for young kids that love soups and stews.
Try out this vegan chili from the It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken blog for a recipe that can fool any meat-eater. It has tofu that is seasoned beautifully and left in larger chunks to get that chewy and hearty texture you expect from meat.
This recipe has a large array of spices, so make sure you have a well-stocked spice rack before taking on this dish. The key is to dry out the tofu in the oven before incorporating it into the chili, reducing the super soft texture tofu usually has. The tomatoes simmer on their own before being mixed into the chili, giving them a smokier and richer flavor.
For something a little different, you can make this vegan chili pasta! The recipe includes a gluten-free creamy chili sauce with zucchini, spinach, and your favorite short pasta. This can be an excellent way to entice kids to a new food like chili and also subdues some of the heat because of the grains in the pasta.
And if you use gluten-free pasta, the entire dish will be gluten-free. It is also super low in unhealthy ingredients like fats and oils, so you can feel confident that you’re serving your family and guests a healthy meal with all the good nutrients and none of the bad stuff.
The chili recipe by Elavegan is packed with protein and is a flexible recipe for someone that wants to use what they have in their pantry. This recipe focuses on the nutrients and protein in the dish, so you can get a well-balanced meal that doesn’t sacrifice any of the flavor or texture you want from a chili.
The recipe does call for fresh tomatoes to give the dish a bright flavor, but you can swap them out for a can of crushed or stewed tomatoes if that’s all you have. The recipe includes lime juice for a hint of citrus, but you can also use a bit of lemon. So even without the fresh tomatoes, it will still be a fresh and bright chili.
If you love zucchini squash, you’ll be head over heels for this vegan zucchini chili by Veganosity. Zucchini adds an earthy but fresh flavor that makes the chili taste amazing.
If you don’t want to try and fool anyone into thinking this chili has meat, you can lean into the vegetable flavors with the zucchini. You can also add some summer squash to the dish to enhance that sweet vegetable taste that many people love during the fall and winter months.
If you want to step up the thickness of your vegan chili, use this potato chili recipe from the EarthFreshFoods blog. It has red baby potatoes, which are incredibly sweet but work perfectly with the cumin and chili spices in the dish.
It also features vegan ground beef, so people who love the classic meat and potatoes meal, they’ll love this vegan recipe because it has all of the umami flavors you could want. This recipe is the ultimate comfort recipe for a chilly autumn day or while the snow falls in the winter.
Check out this 30-minute recipe from the blog Running on Real Food for an unbelievably easy chili recipe. The recipe is more than just vegan. It is also gluten-free, oil-free, sugar-free, and grain-free. But when you make this recipe, you don’t have to sacrifice any of the taste or warmth you want from a bowl of chili.
With three cups of beans and more than two cups of chopped vegetables, it has a beautiful range of flavors highlighted by delicious spices. For a smooth and thick texture that melds all of the flavors together, blend the components before adding the beans.
Sweet potatoes are a robust and substantial ingredient that rounds out a vegan chili perfectly. This vegan sweet potato chili is one of the best recipes because it is guaranteed to fill even the hungriest belly. If you love sweet potatoes, you have to give this recipe a try. And even if you don’t want a vegan recipe, this one is sure to wow you.
This recipe only features black beans for the bean component, but you can always toss in some garbanzo beans to add more volume and texture to the chili. But black beans are the best choice because they have a heavy flavor that can stand up well to sweet potatoes.
16. Vegan Chili
This vegan chili from NYT Cooking is probably the thickest on this list, so if you hate a watery chili that feels closer to soup, this recipe is for you. It also features a homemade chili paste, which plays a huge role in the impact and the thick texture.
You can also add a splash of whiskey or vodka to kick the flavors up a notch and have your guests making yummy noises all night. While you can skip the homemade chili paste and use chili powder instead, it will alter the consistency, and you won’t get to experience the incredible flavors that come from making the paste yourself.
For an easy-peasy vegan chili recipe, this one from the Emilie Eats blog is fantastic. Everything gets cooked in one pot and takes less than an hour to come together! The spice level is low, so you don’t have to worry about kids thinking it’s too hot. The kidney and pinto beans give it a soft texture that is comforting and enjoyable to eat.
The recipe also requires little to no chopping, as most of the ingredients are canned so that you don’t have to pull out the chopping board and get hand cramps. And this recipe features vegan ground beef that will make the chili feel like a classic recipe that incorporates everything people expect in a chili.
The Be Plant Well vegan chili recipe will transport you to the chili contest at a small-town fair. It has an incredibly comforting and nostalgic flavor without any of the meat or animal byproducts chilis typically have.
The chili uses corn which sets it apart from many other vegan chili recipes, adding a new texture, color, and a sweeter flavor. But the real secret to nailing this recipe is the inclusion of the quinoa. The quinoa brings an earthy and hearty flavor while also bringing more protein to the dish. The quinoa is cooked directly in the chili, so it soaks up the rich flavors and spices from the broth.
This yummy vegan chili by Connoisserus Vegan is easy to throw together if you need to feed a crowd last minute. This chili uses true Tex-Mex flavors for a wonderful taste that will make everyone a fan of those comforting Southern flavors.
The recipe only includes a few spices but doesn’t lack any flavor. All you need is chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper to achieve the bold and delicious flavor. When making this, you saute the spices on their own, which brings out the aromatics and highlights the flavors, but be careful not to burn them at the bottom of the pot!
Easy Vegan Chili Recipes, Final Thoughts
As you can see, when it comes to vegan chili recipes, you won’t miss out on any of the classic chili flavors. You’ll get the umami flavors and kick of heat that you expect. So don’t feel the need to incorporate meat when you can achieve the same comforting and cozy flavor with one of these stellar vegan recipes.
And if you’re looking for some ideas to satisfy your sweet tooth, check out these delicious vegan cake recipes.