This is How Vegan Chili Should Taste

This recipe for vegan chili is incredibly versatile! It checks all the boxes for taste, nutrition and simplicity as it is, but you can swap out so many of these ingredients and use this recipe as a jumping off point. It’s vegan, gluten free and only as spicy as you want it to be.

Because of the single pot, long cooking time that typically comes with chili, you can make this in your slow cooker and simmer it all day, or you can be done in an hour with your Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot. Alternatively, this recipe does not need any fancy appliances and you can just make it in a large pot on your stovetop.

You can start with a jarred sauce if you have one one hand you want to use (or if you have a specific one that you love). I started with tomatoes, so I’m adding a quick instruction on that in case you want to try your hand at a simple homemade sauce base.

I always blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for a minute or two. The skin usually starts coming away from the tomato on it’s own in the hot water.

Skin already coming away from tomato.
They peel off very easily.
I also cut out the hard white bit from each one.

From here, you can add whatever spices and herbs you like. I like to keep it simple and just go with some black pepper, a little basil and oregano. Cook it down until the liquid reduces by half. Five tomatoes should be enough for three or four servings of chili.

Vegan Chili

This is the baseline for what vegan chili should taste like.
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings


  • 4 tomatoes
  • ½ tsp basil
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ cup black beans cooked, or canned
  • ½ cup white kidney beans cooked, or canned
  • ½ cup red kidney beans cooked, or canned
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp chili powder add more or less to taste


  • Heat a pot of water to boiling and add your tomatoes. Boil for 1 – 2 minutes and lift out with a slotted spoon.
    4 tomatoes
  • Peel the skin off the tomatoes, cut any hard stem parts from their tops and discard.
  • Place tomatoes in food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Transfer pureed tomatoes to large pot (or slow cooker or pressure cooker), and add basil, black pepper and oregano. Simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce has reduced by half.
    ½ tsp basil, ¼ tsp black pepper, ½ tsp oregano
  • Add black beans, white kidney beans and red kidney beans to sauce.
    ½ cup black beans, ½ cup white kidney beans, ½ cup red kidney beans
  • Stir in paprika and chili powder. Simmer for 1 hour if cooking on stove. If using slow cooker, set heat to medium and cook for 4 hours. If using a pressure cooker, be sure there is enough liquid for the minimum line and set it to cook on high for 45 minutes. Use the quick release when it's finished if you want it within an hour, but the natural release is fine too!
    ¼ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp chili powder


The time estimation does not include soaking beans or cooking them in the pressure cooker.
Feel free to add more or less spices and test out different flavors.
Cooking instructions are included for stovetop, slow cooker, and pressure cookers like the Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how much liquid should be in the pressure cooker before you turn it on.
Keyword chili, vegan

I like to buy dry beans because they are easier to store! Canned beans work perfectly fine, if you’re going to be using dry beans you need to either soak them overnight and then cook them fully before you start the chili, or cook them in a pressure cooker. I added half a cup of each kind of bean (for 1 1/2 cups of beans in total) to my Ninja Foodi with 4 1/2 cups of water and set it to one hour. I let it naturally release and they were perfectly soft and almost mushy for chili.

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