Sometimes we just cannot be bothered with spending an hour in the kitchen until dinner is ready. We’re starving, and we need something filling and satisfying like right now. But if you’re a health nut and food blogger, you kind of have the obligation to cook from scratch. These types of moments call for our delicious and simple chili sin carne.
For many years now, one of our favorite staple meals has been vegan chili sin carne. Every single week, you’ll be sure to find me in the kitchen cooking a large batch of this healthy, easy and protein-rich savory goodness.
It started with a fairly uninspired, clumsy mixture back when I was a vegan newbie: a can of kidney beans, some tomato puree, corn and spices. It was something that didn’t blow me away in terms of flavor or ingeniousness – but it was a quick and satisfying meal that I did all by myself and it was fully vegan!
Years after my first dabbling into the world of fully plant-based foods, I tweaked and optimized my easy and healthy vegan chili recipe enough to feel the need to share it with you! Especially during colder days, nothing feels better than a nice, hearty bowl of chili sin carne!
Because what is there not to love about it? A cheap, quick, hearty, fiber- and protein-rich bowl of flavorful and steaming comfort – especially after a long and busy day. All the spices fill up our kitchen and the veggies support our immune systems wonderfully!
This vegan chili always keeps me coming back for seconds without ever making me gain weight – one of the many things I love about a whole food plant-based diet.Read Our Full Whole Food Plant-Based Diet Guide →
Compared to chili con carne (meaning, with meat), our healthy and savory vegan bean chili is low in fat and high in fiber, setting you up for diet success!
It offers a low calorie density while at the same time bursting with beautiful essential nutrients – making sure you’re well-nourished, have a steady blood sugar and are fully satiated for hours on end.
That’s right, it’s great for both losing body fat and gaining muscle!
As you might know, plant-based protein has been gaining some popularity over the last few years. The documentary The Game Changers recently shed some light on the difference between animal and plant-based protein – and why it’s a much smarter choice to swap the beef or chicken for some good old beans.Find our Full Article on Plant-Based Protein Here →
We’re very happy to see that even chewy and hearty meals can be made with artery-friendly protein choices, satisfying even the most die-hard meat-lovers. They might also be surprised by how much better they feel after having a chili sin carne and by the fact that their exercise performance doesn’t suffer at all.
Let us tell you, this savory gluten-free classic has been served time and again to our non-vegan family who absolutely adored it and asked for the recipe straight away! It’s really such a misconception that vegan food isn’t filling or energizing.
Why Our Healthy & Quick Vegan Chili Is the Best
There are so many reasons for making this hearty chili sin carne one of your must-have weekly meals. For one, it is made from pretty much all the food that is found in a basic plant-based pantry – so, most of the time, you don’t even have to go shopping for any of the ingredients.
Here are a couple more of our favorite reasons to make this vegan chili ASAP!
- Great for weight loss or maintenance
- Protein-rich and fiber-rich
- Features hidden veggies
- Very satisfying and hearty
- Great for serving to non-vegans
- Savory and comforting
- Cheap, everyday ingredients
- Perfect for meal prep & easy to customize
As you can see, we’re completely obsessed with this for some very good reasons! We’re all for easy weeknight dinners that pack a good amount of vegetables as well as spices and flavors; with meals like these, you get all of the great health benefits without having it taste bitter or bland.
You can even make this vegan chili in advance and just reheat it on the stove or in the microwave for a quick and filling savory meal! It tastes even better the next day.
The nutrition for this recipe is a stunner, too. Almost 14 grams of fiber, over 15 grams of protein and lots of essentials vitamins and minerals per portion! Now, this is where vegans get their protein.
How to Make a Vegan Chili Con Carne
Got up your appetite? Good, because I’m now going to share with you what you’ll need to make this easy-(chick)peas-y chili sin carne in less than 40 minutes – only 10 of which are hands-on cooking or prepping. Here’s what you have to grab!
- Zucchini – subtle texture that’ll soak up all of the delicious spicy flavors
- Carrot – giving the chili a nice bite and additional color
- Bell pepper – high in vitamin C and adding some Mexican flavor
- Kidney beans – recommended but can be swapped for black beans
- Chickpeas – more plant-based protein, color, texture and yumminess
- Corn – not sure if it’s a classic chili ingredient but blends in beautifully
- Diced tomatoes – almost any canned tomato product can be used to bind everything together nicely
Using just one large pot, start by sautéing your chopped veggies in some broth – all our recipes are oil-free and whole food plant-based but just as delicious without the added fat. After a couple of minutes, you just add the rest of the ingredients, give it a good stir, then let it cook for 15 minutes until it has thickened.
Sounds too easy? You’re darn right.
Our Favorite Uses for Chili Sin Carne
Now, this hearty vegan chili can be enjoyed all on its own – but if you want to make it on a regular basis, there are so many things you can enjoy it with to keep the meal interesting and add even more nutrition.
- Brown or white rice
- Bulgur, quinoa or buckwheat
- Baked potatoes
- Bread rolls
- Tortilla chips
One of our favorite out of these combinations is vegan chili with homemade cornbread! We just recently shared a simple and healthy recipe for the latter – you can find it here.
As for topping choices, some of the best ones are green onion, avocado, vegan sour cream or yogurt, fresh coriander, fresh tomatoes, hot sauce or some vegan cheese shreds.
In case you were wondering, this vegan chili also freezes beautifully. When batch-cooking it, divide between serving-sized containers or freezer bags which you can just heat up again to your liking. In the fridge, it typically lasts for around 4 days.
That’s why it’s just perfect for meal prepping and planning! We usually eat it over the course of 2-3 days because we are two people with a good appetite. The recipe I’ll share below is for 4 servings but in everyday life, I freestyle and eyeball most of my cooking so it usually ends up being a larger batch which we’ll just happily use up.Find our Full 5-Day Meal Prep here →
Delicious & Healthy Vegan Chili Variations
The beauty of plant-based recipes like these is that you can totally make it your own. Don’t like zucchini? Just add more carrot or bell pepper instead. No chickpeas in your cupboard? Any bean will do – just use 3 cups of kidney beans instead. You pretty much cannot mess this recipe up!
When looking for a gluten-free version, all you need to do is choose a gluten-free soy sauce, such as tamari. We highly recommend keeping the soy sauce, though, as it does add a ton of awesome flavor.
If you’re not used to eating a lot of veggies yet (or your family isn’t), you can go a bit easier on them and just add one type of vegetable to the bean chili. Maybe you’re fond of carrots or bell peppers? Go for it. The key to hiding them well is to chop them very finely. You may also want to cook them very thoroughly so the texture dissipates a bit more.
As for the spices, you can add more or less cayenne pepper depending on your preferred hotness, seasoning it with smoked paprika or even bringing some cocoa powder into the mixture!
Here are some tasty variations we recommend
- Pumpkin or butternut squash chili
- Sweet potato chili
- Lentil chili – skip the beans
- Quinoa chili – adding more protein and a different texture
- Tofu crumbles – a whole new level of chewiness
- Mushrooms – delicious and interesting “meaty” twist
Do you possess some advanced kitchen skills? Then you might be happy to learn that you can use your awesome kitchen appliances for making delicious vegan chili – not just the stovetop version. Check out these:
We hope to have offered you lots of delicious choices! Now, let’s get into our very own easy, tasty and healthy vegan chili sin carne recipe.
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium onions, chopped, (200 g)
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth, divided, (360 ml)
- 1 bell pepper, finely chopped, (150 g)
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 1 small zucchini, finely chopped
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, (420 ml)
- 6 tbsp tomato paste, (100g)
- 1 cup corn kernels, (165 g)
- 2 cups kidney beans, cooked, (350 g)
- 1 cup chickpeas, cooked, (160 g)
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp paprika
- ½ tsp cayenne
- Salt to taste
- Soy yogurt
- Heat up a large non-stick pot and dry sauté the garlic and onion over medium-high heat until slightly soft.
- Add half a cup of the vegetable broth, the bell pepper, carrot and zucchini. Sauté for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Now, add all remaining ingredients (the rest of the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, corn, kidney beans, chickpeas, soy sauce, paprika, and cayenne). Stir well, then let the mixture simmer, uncovered, for another 15 minutes until it has thickened.
- Add more cayenne and salt to taste, then serve warm on its own or with rice, tortilla chips, baked potatoes or cornbread. Enjoy!
- You can use any veggies you like in place of the zucchini, carrot and bell peppers. The overall amount can be increased or decreased to your preference – just adjust the liquid accordingly.
- The kidney beans and chickpeas can be swapped for any other beans like black beans or white beans.
- If you’re looking for a more “meaty” experience and extra chewiness, you can add some textured vegetable protein to the bean chili.
- For a gluten-free version, simply use tamari in place of the soy sauce.
- Adjust hotness through the amount of cayenne and feel free to experiment with smoked paprika or a hint of cocoa powder.
- This is a great vegan-friendly recipe for the whole family because dairy-based cheese or sour cream can just easily be added to the individual bowls before serving for those who wouldn’t want to eat a completely vegan meal.
- More topping choices include vegan cheese shreds or cashew sour cream!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 437 Total Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 1224mg Carbohydrates: 73g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 19g Sugar: 21g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 20g