Vegan Chili Con Carne Recipe

Published on February 26th 2022 by Jennifer Dodd.
Last updated on March 20th 2024
This recipe, developed through the collective effort of at least six experts, underwent meticulous research and testing for over three months. Learn more about our process in the art and science behind our recipes. This post may contain affiliate links. Read our Disclosure Policy.
Vegan Chili Con Carne in a small bowl

It's chili night! That's right. Vegan Chili Con Carne is life-changing. It is brimming with fresh bell peppers, tomatoes, celery, carrots, jalapeños, onions, garlic, plant-based ground beef, cinnamon, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and of course, beans. Beans are the staple in any chili and good for you as they are high in protein, antioxidants, fiber & iron. For this chili, we used 3 kinds of beans: black beans, kidney beans & pinto beans. These add pleasant colors & textures to this chili dish. 

This is a fantastic family meal, paired with your favorite side dishes such as quinoa, rice, tortillas, or you can even turn it into a taco chili salad. Thinking about entering a chili cook-off? This bright & beautiful recipe should definitely garner rave reviews and help you clinch the winning title!



What can I use in chili instead of meat?

You can use plant-based "beef" such as those made from seitan or soy-based products. For grains, quinoa can add a nice texture and flavor to chili or leave the "meat" out altogether; beans have enough protein to give your body what it needs.  

How do you thicken vegan chili?

Cooking vegan chili long enough & without a lid, so the steam evaporates at the end of cooking should leave you with a nicely thickened chili. As the chili cools, the starches from the beans will also thicken vegan chili. It's always better the next day!  

How do you add flavor to vegan chili?

Vegan chili has a ton of flavor from the onions, jalapeños, tomatoes, and garlic, as well as the ground spices such as paprika, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, and cinnamon. In addition, fresh herbs such as cilantro & all the extra vegetables will pack your vegan chili with a ton of flavor.  

Is vegan chili good for you?

Yes, vegan chili is good for you. Beans and vegetables are loaded with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and, best of all, unsaturated fat. So whether this dish is for those following a vegan diet or just for meatless Mondays, it's healthy and filling.  

Author: Jennifer Dodd
Average: 5 (6 votes)
Total rating includes sum of all comments and anonymous votes.

Click to avoid screen dimming during cooking.

Time & Serves

Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
50 mins
8 persons


  • 1 (15 oz) can Kidney Beans

  • 1 (15 oz) can Pinto Beans

  • 1 (15 oz) can Black Beans

  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil 

  • 2 medium Yellow Onions, small diced

  • 6 cloves Fresh Garlic, minced

  • 1 Jalapeño, seeded & small diced (leave the seeds in if you like it hot!)

  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cumin

  • 2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika 

  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon 

  • 2 teaspoons Chili Powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

  • 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon Cracked Black Peppercorns

  • 1 pound Plant Based Ground Beef 

  • 2 medium Carrots, peeled & small diced

  • 2 stacks Celery, washed & small diced 

  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, cored, washed & diced medium

  • 1 Orange Bell Pepper, cored, washed & diced medium

  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper, cored, washed & diced medium

  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans Diced Tomatoes 

  • 1 (10 oz) can Tomato Purée

  • Fresh Cilantro for garnish (Optional)

  • Tortilla Chips for serving (Optional)


Begin by rinsing all the beans well in a colander, shaking dry as much as possible

Bowl with a colander full of beans.

Place a 6-gallon heavy-bottomed pot onto the stovetop & turn to medium-high heat.

Large pot on a gas burner

Once the pot is heated, add the oil & sweat the onions until they turn translucent, stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.

Olive oil being added to a pot

Add in the garlic, jalapeños & all the spices, sauté for 1 minute. This will help infuse all the flavors together. 

Jalapenos being added to a pot of sauteing onions

Add in your plant-based beef, let brown for 2 minutes. 

Pot with plant-based ground beef cooking

Add the carrots, celery & bell peppers, sauté for 2 minutes. 

A pot with carrots, celery and bell peppers on top

Add all the tomatoes and beans to the pot, and bring the chili to simmer on medium-low heat, allowing to cook and reduce for 30-40 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes or so to avoid burning.

A bowl of tomatoes being added to a pot

Once the chili has reduced, adjust the seasoning to your preference. More salt or more heat is added to the dish. To turn up the heat, add more of the cayenne pepper. If it's too hot for your taste, add a bit of sugar to help balance it out. 

A pot of cooking chili

Time to ladle some of that hot, steamy chili into a bowl, garnishing with fresh cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips.

Two bowls of chili garnished with cilantro and tortilla chips on a countertop
Jennifer Dodd

Savor the taste of culinary excellence with Jennifer, where each dish tells a story of tradition and adventure.

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