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This vegan chili is the bomb! It is oil-free and uses diced walnuts – not as a meat replacement – but for texture…and a little protein (because “where do we get our protein?” haha) It’s super easy because it uses canned beans and tomatoes. It also has a few secret ingredients. Read on for more info. Give this Vegan Chili a try. You won’t be sorry!
First things first…this chili DOES contain nuts! Chili normally does not contain nuts. If you ever serve this to others (and believe me, you’ll want to), don’t try to “pass” it off as non-vegan chili. Nuts normally aren’t in chili and you are responsible to make others aware.
Now that that important little detail is out of the way…Would it be presumptuous to call this the BEST DAMN Vegan Chili around? You might wonder… But yes, I have won a contest with this chili! It’s always a big hit when I make it for family or friends too. You could top it with the fake vegan cheese if you like. To keep it truly plant-based though, try my Chili Cheese Sauce and/or my Jalapeño Ranch Dressing. Both are awesome toppings – just use one or go for both!
Start with diced onion and minced garlic. Years ago I discovered minced garlic in a jar and will never go back! Ever! When a recipe calls for 1 clove of garlic, I just kinda eyeball it and pull out a rough teaspoon for each clove. Garlic cloves are often different sizes anyway; so I’ve always gone with the theory of “close enough” on this one.
Sauté the diced onion and garlic with vegetable broth. That’s right; you don’t need oil! Cover the bottom of your pan with the broth and then watch to make sure it isn’t burning. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and while that’s about right, always check to make sure the bottom of the pan isn’t drying up, and add more if necessary.
Chop the red and a green bell peppers and add to the onion-garlic mixture. Continue to sauté until the onion is translucent and the peppers are soft.
Add the seasonings, beer, diced walnuts, and canned items. Make sure the beans you get are “chili” style. They already have some seasoning in them and so you can just open and dump without draining. In fact, the only canned item you’ll need to drain is the corn.
Wait! Did I say beer? That’s right:) One 12 ounce can of beer adds just a little something-something to make this chili fabulous! The fact that this chili contains alcohol is another important disclosure you must make if serving to others. Not everybody is a fan (as in: not everybody can drink alcohol for various reasons) and it does not necessarily “cookout” in the amount of time this recipe will be on the stove. If you choose to not use beer in your chili, no problem. Just sub in 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) vegetable broth. It will still be fabulous.
I use a small can of mild green chilis when I’m making this vegan chili for my family because they don’t enjoy their food too spicey. If you enjoy a little extra heat, you should use a can of jalapeños instead. You can also add more or drop in a little hot sauce on top.
While you are bringing the chili to a boil, mix together the cornstarch with water, cocoa powder, and a little agave nectar or (real) maple syrup.
What? Chocolate? Yes indeed! This is the final secret ingredient. I always just said I was giving my chili a little extra love when in fact I was giving it chocolate. Cocoa powder along with the tiniest amount of sweetener cuts through the acidic tomato and gives your chili a little extra special richness.
Bring to a boil and then simmer on the stove for two hours so that all the flavors have a chance to meld together. Add a little extra salt to taste, some hot sauce, chips, hot peppers, and toppings of choice. I like to top with my awesome Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce and Jalapeño Ranch.
Vegan Chili with Walnuts (The Prize Winner!)
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 Tablespoon garlic chopped
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth Add more to keep from scorching
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 10 ounces walnuts diced
- 12 ounces beer Sub vegetable broth if desired
- 4 Tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt add more at the end for taste
- 1 15 oz can pinto chili beans undrained
- 1 15 oz can black chili beans undrained
- 1 15 oz can kidney chili beans undrained
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes undrained
- 1 15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes undrained
- 1 8 oz can corn drained
- 1 4 oz can green chilis sub jalapeños for more heat
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 Tablespoon corn starch
- 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder unsweetened
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar can sub real maple syrup
- Dice vegetables and set aside.
- Line a large stew pot with vegetable broth - about 1/2 cup. Add onions, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté till onions are translucent. Watch bottom of pan and add more broth if necessary so that it doesn't run dry and scorch.
- Add seasoning, diced walnuts, beer, and all canned ingredients including beans, tomatoes, corn, and diced chilis. Stir together and bring to a boil.
- While chili mixture is coming to a boil, stir together water, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and agave. Stir into pot.
- Bring to a boil for a few minutes then reduce heat and simmer for the next two hours, covered.