This really is the best damn Vegan Chili Recipe - it is a quick and easy to prepare and made using wholesome ingredients, filled with plant-based protein. It is full of hearty flavor, is nourishing and just spicy enough. Scoop this chili up with corn chips for a filling and wholesome dinner you just can't get enough of.
Originating from Mexico or Southern Texas, Chili, also known as Chili Con Carne, Chilli Con Carne and Chile Con Carne, is a spicy dish originally made using ground beef, beans, tomatoes and spices. In my vegetarian version, black beans and kidney beans are the star of the show, with extra protein and complex carbohydrates from quinoa.
Made in just 40 minutes, this is the best vegan chili recipe for mid-week meals and is fantastic to meal prep and freeze for easy meals down the track! Serve topped with vegan sour cream, fresh cilantro, avocado, red onion (or my quick pickled red onions), lime and tortilla chips for a delicious meal with the flavours of Mexico.
What You'll Love About The Best Damn Chili Recipe
Is there anything more perfect than a delicious bowl of chilli on a cool night? It has the just-right beans-to-chili ratio and I've known the most avid of meat lover to really enjoy this vegan version. Here are some of the things I love about the Best Damn Vegan Chili!
- one pot - this entire meal is made in just one pot, meaning less cleaning up!
- high in plant based protein - each serve contains 14 grams of plant based protein.
- freezer friendly - make ahead of time and freeze for easy meals down the track.
- allergy friendly - this chili recipe is gluten free, dairy free, nut free and vegan, making it suitable for many allergies.
Ingredients Notes & Substitutions
See below any ingredient notes and possible substitutions. You will find the ingredient quantities in the full recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- tri coloured quinoa - quinoa is a highly nutritious food, providing protein and complex carbohydrates. Tri coloured quinoa can be swapped for white quinoa, black quinoa or red quinoa.
- vegetable broth - if you're not vegan or vegetarian you can use chicken broth. You can also replace for water without affecting the taste very much at all.
- red capsicum (red pepper) -
- green capsicum (green pepper or green bell peppers) -
- red onion - can be swapped for brown onions, yellow onions or white onions.
- fresh garlic
- crushed tomatoes - fire-roasted tomatoes are amazing in this recipe but regular canned tomatoes will do if you can't find any easily.
- spices - for the spices you will need sweet paprika and smoked paprika, cumin powder, dried oregano, onion powder and chili powder. I have used enough chili powder to make a mild chili, if you prefer more spice then add more chili powder to your taste preference.
- sea salt
- canned black beans - if you can't find black beans then you can substitute with an extra can of kidney beans or use caned pinto beans.
- canned red kidney beans - the same goes with red kidney beans, if you can't find any kidney beans use an extra tin of black beans or a can of pinto beans.
- baby spinach - you can substitute baby spinach for chard (silverbeet) or kale.
- extra virgin olive oil - you can also use avocado oil in place of olive oil.
It wouldn't be the best chili recipe without the best toppings! Here are my recommendations:
- fresh cilantro (coriander)
- extra red onion, thinly sliced
- tortilla chips
- vegan sour cream or regular sour cream
- lime wedges
How to Make Vegan Chili
Making this recipe is really so straight forward and uses minimal equipment. Here's how:
The first step is to sauté the onion and capsicum until the onion is translucent. Then add the garlic, salt, oregano and spices and fry them off until fragrant.
Next, add in the vegetable broth, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, beans and quinoa. Bring the chili to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the quinoa is cooked.
Note: You can tell that quinoa is cooked when a thin white part of the quinoa starts to spiral away from the seed. The quinoa will also appear tender with no white area in the centre.
For extra greens, add a few handfuls of baby spinach right at the end and stir through until it wilts.
How to Make Pressure Cooker Vegan Chili
As easy as it is to make this vegan chilli recipe in a pot, it is even easier to make it in a pressure cooker. Simply follow the steps below to make instant pot vegan chilli.
- Place quinoa, water, capsicum, onion, tinned tomatoes, sweet paprika, smoked paprika, dried oregano, cumin, onion powder, chilli powder and garlic to the bowl of the pressure cooker. Stir to combine.
- Place the lid on and set valve to seal.
- Select the pressure cook setting and cook on high for 2 minutes. The pressure cooker will take around 10 minutes to come up to pressure before starting to cook.
- Once pressure cooker has cooked for 2 minutes, allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes.
- After ten minutes, turn valve to open to release remaining steam.
- Carefully remove the lid from the pressure cooker and stir through the black beans, kidney beans and baby spinach. Return the lid and allow to sit on keep warm function for 5 minutes.
- Check seasoning and add more sea salt if desired. Serve warm.
Chili Serving Suggestions
As I mentioned earlier, I am obsessed with serving this chilli with avocado, lime, coriander, vegan sour cream and corn chips. But here are a few other ways that you can serve this vegan chilli recipe.
- Make vegan nachos by spreading out corn chips and topping with this chilli and vegan cheese (if desired). Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and then remove from the oven and top with any other desired toppings.
- Use this chilli to stuff hard or soft shell tacos.
- Stuff burritos with this chilli and any other fillings you like.
- Using this chilli for quesadilla's or enchilada's works really well too!
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To freeze, either seperate into individual serving sized airtight containers or into one large airtight container. Place the lids on securely and freeze for up to 6 months. To reheat, defrost to room temperature and reheat in a pot on the stove on a medium-high heat or heat in the container in the microwave.
- Large Casserole Pan
- Chopping Board
- Sharp knife
- Wooden Spoon
- ½ cup tri coloured quinoa rinsed
- 2 cups vegetable broth chicken broth or water
- 1 red capsicum diced
- 1 green capsicum diced
- 1 red onion finely diced
- 800 gram tinnned crushed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoon cumin powder
- ¼ teaspoon chilli powder more if desired
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 3 cloves garlic
- sea salt to taste
- 400 grams tinned black beans
- tinned grams tinned kidney beans
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
To serve (optional)
- sliced avocado
- vegan sour cream
- diced red onion
- corn chips
- Bring extra virign olive oil in a large casserole pan to a medium heat. Add onion and capsicum and saute until onion is translucent.
- Add sweet paprika, smoked paprika, cumin, chilli powder, onion powder, oregano, garlic and salt and fry until fragrant.
- Add tinned tomatoes, water, tomato poaste, quinoa, black beans and kidney beans and stir to combine. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce the temperature to low and place the lid on, allowing to simmer for around 25 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked and tender, stirring occasionally.
- Once the quinoa is cooked, add baby spinach to the pan and stir through until wilted. Taste and add more salt if required.
- Turn off the heat and serve straight away topped with avocado, vegan sour cream, coriander, red onion and corn chips if desired.
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