Hearty Vegan Chili

Hearty Vegan Chili

In my home, we just call this chili. Some of you know that I'm a meat eater and my hubby is a devout vegetarian. We've learned to coexist in the kitchen ... I have to say quite successfully! This dish is so hearty and flavorful, that we both love it and don't hesitate to suggest it for dinner. 

Another reason why I love this is because you can make a HUGE batch of it, and it's excellent for leftovers and lunches to take to work. I already have a problem cooking for 10 people when there's just the two of us, so this is perfect! 

Aficionados might scoff and what I claim is chili, but I can tell you that every family has a different recipe for this. So there's no "one way" to make it. Just like any dish you make. 

It might look like a lot of stuff, but this recipe is so easy because you basically throw everything in together. Here we have carrots, potatoes, onions, a jalapeno, garlic, canned beans and diced tomatoes. Soy sauce, cumin, salt and pepper for the spices. Get your vegetable stock and you're good to go!

Let's start prepping! Getting your ingredients ready before you turn on any heat just makes for a less chaotic kitchen. I'm using two small onions, but you could definitely use one large onion instead. Rough chop these up.

Rough chop the carrots, with the peel on. Leaving them in big chunks helps to hearty up the chili. This is where some would disagree, but I don't like my chili to look like it's been pulverized with a blender. Every bite would be exactly the same and that's no fun!

Potatoes! These help to give a thicker consistency. If I can avoid it, I try not to add flour to dishes for thickening, if it's not really necessary. Cut these into about 2 inch cubes. After it boils, bits of it will fall off. If you don't like the skin, peel it before you cut the cubes. 

Let's bring in the heat. If you don't like spicy food, don't use the jalapeno ... but here's a tip! We're making such a huge batch, that if you just use the flesh and not the veins (the white center part) and seeds, you will not feel like you're in Dante's Inferno. Those are what actually make the pepper spicy.

Cut these into small pieces.

Crushing your garlic cloves helps to release more of the garlicky flavor. Mince these up. 

Now we're ready for the magic to happen. When your large stock pot is heated to medium heat, add a little bit of vegetable oil and start sauteing the onions with the bay leaves. 

After you get some color on them, add the garlic. Cook this for about 2 more minutes, when you start smelling the lovely garlic fragrance. 

Add in the carrots and potatoes.

This is the time to add the salt and pepper to build flavor. Add some more at the end if you'd like. Stir all around and get a little bit of color on the carrots and potatoes. 

Plop in the diced tomatoes and chopped jalapenos. You want all the juice from the can too. Sometimes I'll use some fresh tomatoes too, but it's just so dang easy with the canned. 

If you don't have vegetable stock, you could use water instead and add more spices to the chili. Vegetable stock is pretty cheap and so accessible that I use it all for the liquid because it's just going to give you that much more flavor. Also, you don't have to use this much liquid if you want your chili super thick. I like to eat this with cornbread or a biscuit, and I need it to soak something up!

Soy sauce?! Yea, I know it's far from traditional for a chili BUT! it gives this dish the umami. Pairing this with cumin just makes it heaven.

Add them right in. And boil what you have so far for 10 minutes to get the vegetables soft.

Ahhh. The beans. They are just so pretty and chocked full of protein. You could add mushrooms for the protein and meat replacement, but it will really be unnecessary because of the lovely, chunky ingredients you have. This trio is my go-to combo for chili: butter beans, kidney beans, and black beans. These are all from a can to make this recipe stay simple. 

Carefully add the beans to the boiling pot. 

Add in the corn. These were frozen, but you can use canned or fresh. 

Here's the harmonizing part. Stir and bring to a boil for about 30 minutes. This is going to reduce the liquid down considerably and marry all the ingredients together. Leave the lid off for this step. 

Before serving, make sure to take out the bay leaves, they are NOT fun to eat by accident. 

And here is our vegan chili! Eat it as is, or add cilantro and green onion for a fancy topping. If you're not vegan, this recipe is still perfect for a cheese or sour cream topping. If you are vegan, cheese and sour cream substitutes also taste great with this chili!

Make this when everything is just going too crazy. It'll make you happy. Enjoy!


Vegan Chili | About 10 quarts

4 Carrots, 1/2 inch slices
3 Potatoes, 2 inch cubes
2 Small onions, roughly chopped
1 Jalapeno, diced small
4 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1 1/2 cups corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can butter beans
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
2 quartz vegetable stock
3 Bay leaves
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt


  1. Chop the carrots, potatoes, onions and jalapeno. Crush and rough chop the garlic.
  2. Heat large stock pot to medium heat. Add vegetable oil.
  3. Saute onions with bay leaves for about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant for about 2 minutes. 
  5. Add carrots, potatoes, salt and pepper. Stir to get some color on the vegetables. 
  6. Add all the vegetable stock, diced tomatoes and juice from the can, chopped jalapeno, soy sauce and cumin. Stir to get all the ingredients incorporated. 
  7. Bring heat up to high and boil for 10 minutes, to soften the vegetables.
  8. Carefully add all the beans and corn. Continue to boil for 30 minutes, or to desired consistency. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve hot with cilantro, green onions and biscuits.