The Fine Art of Vegan Chili


Chili is one of those classic meat dishes, right alongside BBQ ribs that becomes a personal form of artwork instead of just a recipe. Everyone has their own way of making it and it never seems to be exactly the same dish twice.

So I made a batch of vegan chili last night and thought I would share my recipe. Except that I didn't really follow a recipe and did a lot of random tossing as the batch simmered on the stove. So, you can follow along and hopefully put together some of your own wonderful meat-free chili.

My free-form chili creation is simmering away happily in all its plant-based glory


I started off with a little oil, and sauteed a clove of minced garlic and about a half cup of diced up white onion. I probably should have gone with a bit more garlic. Oh, and about 1 stalk of celery, diced small too. Once that got going, I added about 3/4 of a package of Gardein's meat-less crumbles (we love them because they are gluten-free!). I'm sure the whole package would have been fine, but this is what was in my freezer.

When the onion was getting soft and the crumbles browned, I added in about a cup of diced green bell pepper. Ours was frozen, the end of last year's harvest but fresh would work just fine.

Next was the diced tomatoes. I guess it was about 3/4 of a can. You could probably just go with a whole can (around 2 cups). See, I told you I was making this up as I went. Along with that was 1 1/2 cups of black beans, all nicely rinsed first. I turned up the heat until it was simmering. Next went in the spices.


I'll be honest, we don't do spicy chili at our house so you might want to add a little more heat in yours. I put in:
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 big squirt of ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 small squirt of prepared mustard


My original recipe called for 1 teaspoon of chili powder but it wasn't enough. I added a bit more and then added a bit more and then added a bit more. I don't know how much I ended up with. Maybe a tablespoon? Use your best judgment on this and taste your chili as you add the seasoning. We use a homemade blend anyway, so it's probably different than the usual chili powder.

Once it was all added, everything got stirred together and left to simmer for about half an hour while I made some rice to go with it. I think I added a little water part way though as it was getting thick. Maybe half a cup.


A few minutes before it was ready, I added a few handfuls of frozen corn too and then let it finish heating up until the rice was done. I know that not everyone approves of corn in chili but we like it. Feel free to skip this if you want.

So there you have it. A stream-of-consciousness journey into homemade vegan chili. I think this batch made enough for 3 to 4 people, but I did serve it with rice. If you have just the chili alone, it would be a good meal for 2 with a little leftover. I dunno.

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