A fabulous bowl of vegan chili can be yours in 30 minutes. This easy, super-flavorful recipe tastes like it simmered all day. It's been a favorite of ours — and yours — for years.
Why we love this recipe
Healthy comfort food is one of the best things on earth. This recipe gets its deep flavor from lightly browned vegetables, tomato paste, and sweet smoked paprika, so you can cook it up in a flash without sacrificing one ounce of happiness.
Our vegan chili delivers:
- Robust flavors
- Hearty beans, veggies, and corn
- Make-ahead and meal-prep potential (it only gets better as the flavors blend)
- A great nutritional profile
The base recipe is vegan and gluten-free and great as-is, but if you don't need it to meet those requirements, you can top it with cheese and sour cream and serve it with our buttermilk cornbread muffins.
What you'll need
Here's a glance at the ingredients you'll need to make this recipe.
- I especially love green pepper in this recipe, but you can use any color bell pepper you have on hand
- Good old canned pinto beans are creamy and flavorful. You can mix and match beans in this recipe if you like. Black, pink, and kidney beans swap in well. You can, of course, use beans cooked from scratch if you prefer. The four cans of beans called for in the recipe equal about seven cups cooked beans (from about two heaping cups dried).
- Frozen corn works perfectly here and is easy to keep in stock
- Smoked paprika is also called pimentón. It comes in hot and sweet varieties. I prefer sweet here, but you can use whichever you prefer.
How to make it
Here's what you need to do to make a great pot of vegan chili. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post. Get all the details in the recipe card below.
- Cook the vegetables until they brown a bit. Don't skimp on this step — it contributes to the deep flavor of the final dish.
- Simmer the vegetables and the spices with the broth and tomatoes.
- Add the beans and corn and simmer to warm through.
- Off the heat, stir in the lime juice and cilantro.
Expert tips and FAQs
Yes! In fact, it only gets better while it sits and the flavors have a chance to mingle. You can make this recipe earlier in the day or even the day before, and reheat before serving.
You can keep this recipe, tightly sealed in a nice, cold fridge, for up to a week. It makes a great week of not-sad desk lunches or meal-prep dinner.
More favorite healthy comfort food:
For the chili
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced small
- 1 green bell pepper, diced small
- 1 large carrot, diced small
- 2 medium ribs celery, diced small
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
- 2 cups good vegetable broth
- 26 ounces chopped tomatoes
- 4 15.5-ounce cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 10 ounces frozen corn kernels
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- Juice of ½ lime
- Shredded sharp cheddar or jack cheese (optional)
- Sliced avocado
- Minced red onion
- Sour cream, regular or vegan, optional
- In a 5 ½-quart Dutch oven or similar heavy pot, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, green pepper, carrot, celery and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring only occasionally, until vegetables are beginning to be tender and browned, about 10 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for one minute.
- Add tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and paprika and cook, stirring, one minute more.
- Stir in broth and tomatoes (with all their juices). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Sauce should be nice and thick.
- Add beans and corn (straight from frozen is fine) and simmer until warmed through.
- Off the heat, stir in cilantro and lime juice. Serve with shredded cheese, avocado, red onion and sour cream if you like.
- Chili powder means the American spice blend, not pure ground chilis.
- Make this recipe up to 24 hours in advance.
- Keep leftovers tightly sealed in the fridge for up to a week.
- You can, of course, use beans cooked from scratch if you prefer. The four cans of beans called for in the recipe equal about seven cups cooked beans (from about two heaping cups dried).
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 487Total Fat: 9.1gCarbohydrates: 83.7gFiber: 24.6gProtein: 24.4g