Growing up, I was never a fan of chili. My family would make large batches of it and I’d always strategically avoid it. I really didn’t like the flavors and I was pretty much anti-anything bean. However, I might touch try it if there weren’t beans but I was never really sure about it. A rather far cry from my current diet which has me eating beans nearly every day!
I fell in love with chili later when I attempted to recreate a lost vegetarian chili recipe for my mother that involved bulgur and chocolate. While we never determined if it was close to the one she remembers, it became a favorite/staple of the winter months. However, I don’t always remember to buy bulgur and thus, a no-grain chili was created.
This vegan chili is a riff on the flavors of the original bulgur version I developed. However, gone is the bulgur in lieu of beans (and lots of them). I also included a bit of pecan meal in this vegan chili. It’s really subtle but I think it adds an extra layer of warmth and a bit more texture.
One note: my husband would look at these photos and think I was in the wrong. I grew up with cornbread while he swears by a peanut butter sandwich with his chili. As far as I can research, it’s a very midwestern thing. However, we’ll have to agree to disagree. My chili always comes with cornbread!
Bulgur/quinoa: As with the original recipe, you can easily add bulgur or quinoa to help bolster this chili. I really love the texture the bulgur adds but with the beans, it doesn’t really need it.
Toppings: There are endless possibilities here but a few of my other favorites included minced red onion, pickled jalapeños, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, and hot sauce.
Beans: You could easily just use the beans you have on hand. Other varieties of white beans would work, including cannellini or great northern. Black beans are also a great addition to this vegan chili. It’s hard to go wrong!
This hearty vegan chili is the perfect rich and filling stew for cold winter nights. Serve with a wedge of cornbread (or peanut butter sandwich) for warming dinner.
For the chili
1 medium yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno (seeds removed if desired)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ to 1 teaspoon sea salt (to taste)
1 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 ounce (vegan) bittersweet chocolate
3 to 4 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup pecan meal
1 ½ cups (or 1 can drained/rinsed) cooked kidney beans
1 ½ cups (or 1 can drained/rinsed) cooked pinto beans
1 ½ cups (or 1 can drained/rinsed) cooked navy beans
For the toppings
Sliced jalapenos, for topping
Toasted pepitas, for topping
Cilantro, for serving
Vegan Cornbread, for serving (see note)
- Chop the onion, garlic, and jalapeño into large chunks. Place in a food processor and pulse until everything is minced. Drain any liquid that may have formed.
- Heat a stockpot over medium heat. Add olive oil and onion mixture. Cook until onions are fragrant and transparent, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in spices and ½ teaspoon salt, cooking for 1 to 2 minutes or until you can smell the spices. Add in the tomatoes, chocolate, and 3 cups of the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 5 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, stir in the pecans and beans. Cover and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt/seasoning. Add more vegetable broth if a thinner consistency is desired.
- Divide into four bowls and top with your desired toppings.
Tips + Tricks: I realize this is a lot of beans but it’s highly worth it. If I don’t have any beans in the freezer, I just go for canned beans.
As for the cornbread, I used this vegan cornbread recipe.
Use up leftover ingredients: Vegetable broth, pecans, spices
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 434
- Sugar: 11.1
- Sodium: 1089
- Fat: 18.6
- Saturated Fat: 3.2
- Carbohydrates: 55
- Fiber: 15.1
- Protein: 18.8
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: bean chili, vegan chili, vegetarian chili