I’ve been making this hearty vegan chili for years now and though I’m always searching for great chili recipes, this is the one I come back to as my favorite. The original recipe has quite a lot of heat but you can easily make it as hot or as mild as you want. I received this recipe from my friend, Amanda, and I still marvel at her email about the recipe where she tells me, “We recommend cutting down on the chipotle and only adding one to one and a half tablespoons. We added two and a half and it was really spicy but we love spice”… Let me say in all the times I’ve made this, I cannot even come close to one tablespoon, let alone TWO AND A HALF?! And I’m not afraid of a little heat. So let me caution you – when you’re adding the chipotles in adobo sauce to this recipe, be careful. These chiles have a great smokey heat, but a little goes a long way. I only add a couple of TEASPOONS and it’s still plenty spicy. If you don’t like your chili to be spicy, I still recommend adding at least one teaspoon, even if you’re feeding kids. One teaspoon jazzes things up just enough without adding any noticeable heat. And you can always serve more on the side for those with an impressive love for all things spicy!
Hearty Vegan Chili starts with a colorful array of vegetables. Onion and garlic of course, and it builds from there with carrot, celery, green and red bell peppers. Talk about eating your colors! These veggies simmer with good-for-you diced tomatoes and tomato sauce and then everything gets finished off with kidney and black beans.
The chili is finished in just over an hour and has all-day-simmered flavor. Also, I want to talk about the kidney and black beans that get added in toward the end. If you have the time and forethought, you can certainly use dried beans that you soak and prep the day before. I know many a “bean snob” who wouldn’t think of using canned beans. But let’s face it, canned beans are very convenient and even though I love using dried beans, I almost always forget to get them ready in time when I’m craving this recipe.
It’s hard to believe that this recipe is completely vegan because it’s one of the most hearty chili recipes I make, and did I already mention, my favorite chili? Your topping options are limitless, of course- offer green onions, jalapenos, avocados or guacamole, and we also like it served over baked sweet potatoes. For vegetarian options, also offer sour cream and cubes of sharp cheddar.
If you’re watching your calories, each serving has only 230 calories and 0.5 grams of saturated fat. Natural sugar content is about 7 grams per serving which comes from the tomatoes and tomato sauce. This recipe is super high in protein at 11 grams per serving. Super healthy, hearty and satisfying. What more could you ask for?
- 2 Tablespoons olive or avocado oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons up to 3 tablespoons finely chopped chipotles in adobo (Be careful, if you haven't used this before. Chipotles in adobo have a wonderful flavor but add A LOT of heat! Feel free to leave it out)
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 3 cups cooked or canned red kidney beans, drained
- Topping options: Green onions, jalapenos, avocados or guacamole
- Vegetarian topping options: Sour cream and grated cheddar cheese
- 1½ cups cooked or canned black beans, drained
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add onions, carrots, celery, peppers and garlic and cook 10 to 12 minutes, until vegetables are softened.
- Add chipotles, if using, oregano, cumin, chili powder and salt. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and 4 cups of water. Gently simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
- Add beans and simmer an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Garnish individual bowls with green onions, jalapenos, and avocados, if desired.