This Vegan Chili comes together in one-pot and is chalked full of good-for-you plant-based ingredients like mushrooms, walnuts, lentils, and beans. It’s naturally high in protein, gluten-free friendly and makes the best leftovers! Have this on the table with just 30 minutes of hands on prep.
Every year as the weather starts to cool down, we crave hot stews and soups. This vegan chili has been on the top of our list recently, and for good reason. It’s hearty, packed with protein, and will warm you up even on the coldest days. It’s just simply the best vegan chili recipe.
Onion, Garlic, Celery, Bell Pepper, Mushrooms and Carrots: A simple yet essential aromatic flavor base to start this one-pot recipe off right.
Walnuts: Helps act as the “meat” in this recipe and enhances the flavor and protein content. If you end up loving the walnuts here, you have to try our Walnut Taco Meat and Lentil Walnut Taco meat next.
Spices: Cumin, oregano, chili powder, smoked paprika, dried oregano are the simple slices that help add a pop of flavor and bring this vegan chili recipe to life.
Tomatoes: In this recipe we use both tomato paste and canned crushed tomatoes. If you want to add some extra flavor to your chili you can opt for fire roasted crushed tomatoes. For the tomato paste, we recommend getting it in a tube so it will last longer than the ones in the can.
Soy sauce: Provides saltiness and umami flavors to the chili. If you want to make this recipe gluten-free, you can opt for tamari instead of soy sauce. If you’re not sure which soy sauce or tamari to purchase, we really like this brand.
Cook the veggies. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat, then add in the onion, celery, carrots, bell pepper, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until softened.
Add garlic. Cook for 2 minutes more, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
Add mushrooms,walnuts and spices. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mushrooms soften and release some of their moisture. Next add in the finely chopped walnuts, chili powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Stir frequently for 30 seconds to toast the nuts and spices.
Bring to a boil. Add in the crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, lentils, soy sauce, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
Add in the beans. Cook the chili for an additional 30 minutes.
Serve. Serve this vegetarian bean chili while warm with garnishes of choice. Enjoy!
Variations and Add-ins
One of the best parts of making a big pot of vegan chili is being able to customize it to fit what’s in your fridge and pantry. Here are some of our favorite ways to alter this recipe:
Add sweet potato: If you love a hint of sweetness in your meatless chili, add 1 cup of peeled, cubed sweet potato.
Add greens: If you want an extra boost of nutrition, stir in finely chopped spinach at the end until softened and bright green.
Use vegan ground beef: If you’ve got store-bought vegan ground beef you need to use up, swap it in this meatless chili recipe for the mushrooms and walnuts. Or, if you have leftover Walnut Taco Meat, you can use that in place of the walnuts and mushrooms here, too!
Use taco seasoning: If you’d like, substitute the chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, and oregano for 2 tablespoons of your taco seasoning of choice.
Vegan chili is one of those meals that gets better over time! Store this vegan chili for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or for up to 3 months in the freezer. Allow the chili to cool completely before storing.
Reheat leftover chili using the microwave or in a small pot over low heat, stirring occasionally until the vegan chili is warmed through.
Rinse the red lentils in a colander and set them aside.
In a large pot over medium heat, add in 2 tbsp oil.
Once heated, add in the onion, celery, carrots, bell pepper, and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until soft.
Add in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.
Next, add in the mushrooms plus and a pinch of salt. Stir occasionally to prevent burning, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the mushrooms have softened and released some of their liquid.
Add in the walnuts and spices and toast for about 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
Then add in the crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, lentils, soy sauce, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Check and stir occasionally to make sure the bottom isn’t burning. Add more water/broth if the chili looks too thick for you.
Add in the beans and cook for 30 minutes more.
Serve warm with garnishes of your choice and enjoy!
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