This easy vegan chili recipe is sure to make heads turn, even meat eaters! Packed with protein from black beans, red kidney beans and lentils, my easy vegan chili recipe is also vegetarian friendly. We hope you enjoy this flavorful, delicious, hearty and meaty vegan chili recipe.
My easy vegan chili recipe is loaded with lentils, black beans, red kidney beans, smokey and traditional chili seasonings, and meaty tofu (like meat crumbles.) I promise that this delicious vegan chili will be the hit of your next meatless dinner night. The best part? You can store your vegan chili in the fridge for up to 7 days, making this the easiest and best vegan meal prep lunch or dinner recipe. And even better, you can freeze it for up to 6 months!
Ingredients required for the easy vegan chili recipe
- Crushed tomatoes – I buy organic crushed tomatoes in a large can for less than $3 at the store. I recommend using a chunky crushed or diced tomato because it adds a meaty texture to your vegan chili.
- BEANS! Lentils, Black Beans and Kidney Beans- You can 100% substitute for any of your favorite beans in this vegan chili recipe. You can add white cannellini beans, garbanzo beans, black eyed peas, etc. You can even use beans from vegan chili in a can (just watch out for sodium levels.)
- Onion and garlic – traditional flavors in any chili recipe. I use white onion for chili, but you can use yellow or red. Vegan tip: use frozen onions from the freezer section!
- Chipotle pepper – Chipotle pepper in adobo gives the chili a smokey and slightly spicy punch of flavor. Vegan Tip: remove seeds from the chipotle pepper to reduce amount of spice / heat.
- Cumin, coriander, worcestershire, smoked paprika, and chili powder – the usual prime suspects in chili. They’re smokey, spicy and savory flavors make this dish the best vegan chili ever.
Make easy vegan chili with an Instant Pot
Expedite cooking time by using an Instant Pot. The Instant Pot is a life saving pressure-cooking tool. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, check out this one on Amazon (this is what I have!) Using a pressure cooker or an Instant Pot alleviates any stovetop work and gives you an easy vegan chili recipe.
Start by making the tofu meat crumbles for the chili
Even those this recipe is vegan, you can give the chili a meaty texture by creating meat crumbles from tofu. Think of Impossible Meat, Beyond Meat Crumbles or Gardein Beef, but instead, made with firm marinated tofu. Here is how to get started with the tofu:
- Combine chili powder, salt, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, soy sauce (or substitute liquid amino acids) in a large bowl.
- Press a large block of extra firm tofu to drain excess water. Then, crumble the tofu into the bowl with your hands.
- Bake in the oven at 375 for 25-30 minutes and flip after 10 minutes to ensure the tofu meat crumbles are evenly baked.
How to make easy vegan chili
With the pressure cooker, the chili is done in 25 minutes. Crazy right? That is why vegan chili is a great dish to serve to a large crowd or gathering. So what’s in it? First, the beans are lentils, red kidney beans and black beans. Lentils are a smaller bean that remind me of ground turkey or ground beef, making it a classic vegan chili ingredient. Black beans are also a traditional ingredient to use in chili. Lentils and beans are very healthy and are packed with high protein and high fiber, making this a healthy vegan chili dish to make for meal prep.
For the chili sauce, I keep it simple but flavorful. The sauce is made from crushed tomatoes. My favorite brand is Pomi. Usually their sauce comes in a cardboard carton. They source their tomatoes from Italy and they are all organic, so sacrificing the extra few cents on this premium product is worth it.
Finally, I flavor with spices that give the chili some tang and smokiness, like cumin, paprika, pepper, coriander and of course Worcestershire sauce gives the dish a slight sweet-tang.
- In the Instant Pot, add in a tablespoon of olive oil and select the sauté setting. Add in one chopped onion and cook for 3-5 minutes until translucent. Next, add in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
- Add in the crushed tomatoes, chili seasonings, chipotle pepper, beans and combine together. Do not add in the tofu meat crumbles yet!
- Place the lid on, secure the vent, and cook for 10 minutes.
- Release the pressure and add in the tofu crumbles.
Can I make this in a slow cooker or crock pot?
Absolutely! To make this vegan chili recipe in the crock pot or slow cooker, add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and set on high or 2.5 hours. In the last half hour, add in the tofu meat crumbles to the chili. If you want to cook on the low setting of your crock pot, set the timer for 4-4.5 hours and add in the tofu meat crumbles at the end.
How to serve the easy vegan chili
I recommend spooning a large amount of chili into a deep bowl, sprinkling some fresh cilantro on top for fresh herbal flavor along with vegan shredded cheese. If you are feeling extra naughty, drizzle vegan ranch on top 😉 Some other ideas on how to serve vegan chili are:
- Tortilla chips (you can serve the chili as a meaty chili dip.)
- With guacamole or avocado slices.
- With quinoa for a high protein carbohydrate. You can use white, red or tricolored quinoa.
- With vegan sour cream.
- With lime wedges and squeeze fresh lime juice on top.
Vegan Chili Ideas and Recipe Variations
Mix it up this recipe by catering to what you like!
- Add in some of your favorite vegetables. I’ve made this chili recipe with sweet potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, corn, zucchini, roasted red peppers (my favorite)
- Instead of chipotle pepper, make it spicy by adding in jalapeño peppers. You can add a poblano pepper for a smokey but mild flavor as well.
Meal Prep and Storage: Vegan Chili
Lentil and Black Bean Chili is really a great dish to make for meal prep because it can last in your fridge for 7-10 days after you cook it! Beans take a long time to expire, as does tomato sauce. I recommend storing the chili in a glass container rather than plastic container because the red sauce may stain the plastic. Otherwise, enjoy for another 7-10 days after preparing. Additionally, you can freeze the chili. Freeze for up to 6 months and you can enjoy a cup of vegan chili whenever you want 🙂
Other delicious recipes with beans
- Lentil Salad with Ginger Dressing
- Creamy Chickpea Salad Wrap
- Low-fat Chickpea and Sweet Potato Curry
- Ultimate Black Bean and Mushroom Smash Burger
Vegan Chili Instant Pot Meal
Smokey lentil and black bean chili made in 20 minutes.
- 1 (8) oz can lentils
- 1 (8) oz can black beans
- 1 (8) oz can red kidney beans
- 1 medium onion
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp coriander
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 tsp fresh cilantro for garnish
Tofu Meat Crumbles
- 1 block extra firm tofu pressed
- 2 tbsps soy sauce or liquid amino acids
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
For the Tofu Meat Crumbles:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, chili powder, nutritional yeast and smoked paprika. Crumble the extra firm tofu into the bowl with your hands.
3. Gently combine all ingredients and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Evenly spread out in one layer.
4. Bake for a total of 25-30 minutes and flip halfway through to ensure even baking.
For the Vegan Chili:
- Turn the Instant Pot on to the sauté setting. Add in one tablespoon of olive oil and add in one chopped onion. Cook for 3-5 minutes until translucent. Add in 3 cloves of minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Next, add in all the rest of the chili ingredients to the Instant Pot except to the tofu.
- Place the lid on, seal the vent and cook for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, release the pressure and stir in the tofu meat crumbles.
- If a thicker consistency is wanted, use an emersion blender to thicken up the chili for a few seconds. Be sure to do this before adding in the tofu.
- Serve with fresh cilantro, vegan ranch and vegan shredded cheese.
- Make sure there is enough cooking liquid in your pressure cooker. You can add water or vegetable broth if the liquid ratio is low.
- If you do not want tofu in your vegan chili, you can substitute out a meat alternative such as meat crumbles from Gardein, Impossible Burger, Beyond Meat, etc.
- Add vegetables to the dish for a chunky vegan chili. Throw in some corn, pearl onions, red bell peppers, zucchini, carrots or sweet potatoes. You can also add in 1 cup of uncooked quinoa to the Instant Pot. You may need to add more liquid.
- Swap out crushed tomatoes for diced tomatoes for a chunkier and meaty chili texture.
- Crock Pot or Slow Cooker Version: Add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker. Slow cook on high for 2.5-3 hours without tofu. Add tofu in the last 30 minutes. If you slow cook on low, simmer for 4.5 hours and add in tofu the last 30 minutes.
- Storing & Leftovers: This vegan chili recipe can last up to 7 days in the fridge in an air tight sealed container. You can also freeze the vegan chili for up to 6 months.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 83Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 450mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 4g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
I enjoyed making this for my husband and I for the week. Very easy and hearty. 🙂