Get a meatier chili without the guilt! An easy vegan chili that is perfect year-round. All you need are a few ingredients and 30 minutes!
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How chili came to be
Chili has been around for a long time, and many people debate whether or not beans should be added to it; it's also not quite clear where chili originated. Several sources state that the well-known American chili began in Texas during the early 1800s, but others state that the dish originated in Mexico as Chili Con Carne. I am committed to being as knowledgeable as possible about the origins of foods, so feel free to leave a comment or send me an email if you have more solid information about this. The facts are important to me!
In addition to plenty of different varieties all over the world, there are plenty of varieties right here in the US, so there isn't one way to make chili that is best; do it any way you like!
Let's take a look at the ingredients for vegan chili
Red Lentils - Lentils come in a variety of colors, but red lentils tend to cook faster than the other types. As they become mushier than other lentils, they are best for soups and stews, just like chili!
Textured Vegetable Protein (tvp) - A classic vegan pantry staple, this protein will make your vegan chili much meatier as you might find in American/US chili.
Tomato Sauce - If you have the time to use real tomatoes, that's awesome! You Go, Glenn Coco! Since I am too lazy to do that, I just use canned tomato sauce! As an alternative, crushed or diced tomatoes will also work.
Veggie Bouillon Powder - Use any bouillon or regular salt you wish; I used this because I had it on hand.
Nutritional Yeast (nooch) - A good source of B12 and an added boost of flavor!
Miscellaneous Seasonings - I prefer to keep things simple with a few, powerful spices. Paprika, Cumin, and Chili are great spices when used in significant amounts!
Optional seasonings for chili:
Recipes are merely guidelines! Except, of course, if you're baking. Many times, you can omit an element if a recipe you want to make has too much salt or an ingredient you're allergic to. Feel free to include your personal touches. Each of us likes different things, so these next 3 ingredients are entirely optional.
This easy vegan chili would be delicious with jalapenos, sugar, and apple cider vinegar added to it, and I highly recommend it.
What to do with leftovers
If you were to ask me what my favorite food of all time is, I'd tell you leftovers! Are you feeding a large family? You can easily double this recipe, and freeze your leftovers for future use, here are a few ideas:
Burritos - Think of a chili cheese burrito!
Serve over rice - Or beside it!
Atop tots or fries - (I am team tots, personally) just add vegan cheese!
Hot Dogs with chili
Mac & Cheese with chili mixed in
Ice crea... sorry I got off track.
Other useful toppings:
Sour Cream (obviously) - My go-to is Tofutti
Green onions - often called scallions
Shredded vegan cheese - My personal favorite is violife
Cilantro - I can't enjoy this but if you can, add it!
Crackers - I think a classic saltine or oyster cracker would do nicely.
Finally, If you enjoyed this recipe or tried it out, leave me feedback or rate it! It really helps me out and I appreciate you! And as always, never be afraid to season your food!
Frequently Asked Questions
Typically chili without beans is called Chili Con Carne, Texas Chili, or No bean chili. It contains everything as other chili just no beans!
Common proteins used in vegan chili are often lentils, beans, TVP, seitan, or other faux processed meats, alongside typical chili ingredients like onions, tomatoes and spices.
That depends on how it is made. Bean chili can be made vegan, but most people will likely use beef broth. Always be sure to ask about the ingredients.
Easy Vegan Chili with Lentils and TVP
- 1 cup TVP
- 1 cup red lentils rinsed and drained
- 1 28 ounce can of tomato sauce can use crushed or diced
- 1 ½ cups water fill can from crushed tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon veggie bouillon
- 2 Tablespoon cumin
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast optional
- 1 Tablespoon chopped jalapenos optional
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar optional
- 1 ½ Tablespoon sugar optional
- Start heating 2 cups of water to boiling, while waiting on the water, rinse your lentils well.
- Put the lentils in the boiling water for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Then put your TVP into the boiling water and lentils. The TVP may absorb a lot of the water, do not fret! After another 5 minutes has passed, dump the tomato sauce in, fill the can with some water (about half) and place into the pot. Do this as needed.
- Then place everything else into the pot and cook on medium low for around 20 minutes or until well cooked and thickened.
- Serve with a dollop of vegan cream cheese on top and enjoy!
If you make this recipe, tag me on Instagram @strugglekitchn! I would love to see your creations!