This vegan chili is ‘warm your cheeks in winter’ spicy and deliciously hearty and comforting. A flavorful and satisfying plant-based dinner.
I do like spicy food. I’ve spent a lot of time in places like Thailand sweating over a papaya salad when I’d forgotten to ask for it to be served mild and it came with ten tons of chili in it!
But when it was time to make this vegan chili I was honestly shocked to be reading recipes using 2 Tablespoons of chili powder in their chili. But I thought I would suspend my disbelief and give it a try.
So I did. The only problem is I didn’t realize that the spice I had was pure ground chili. It was not a spice mix, it was pure ground up chilis. Whereas what these other recipes were using is a spice blend designed for making chili, which contains other spices too, so is not nearly so hot.
Well….. let’s just say I took one bite and went into a coughing fit! In-between coughing I was screaming for juice… needless to say, it wasn’t pretty.
The Magic Amount of Chili Powder
The magic amount of pure chili powder for us turned out to be 1 teaspoon. Needless to say, a massive difference.
I used a little cayenne too, and some other spices, and it’s warm your cheeks in winter spicy! You get a little bit of a sweat going. You definitely need something to drink on the side!
So…. if you’re using a chili spice blend, then you can go ahead and use 2 Tablespoons of it. But make very sure it’s a blend. If it is a blend it’ll likely have things like garlic powder, oregano and cumin in it. This is generally what you’ll get if you’re in the United States.
But if you’re using pure chili powder like we do in our recipe, pure ground up chilis and nothing else, then start with 1 teaspoon and use with caution! The pure chili powder appears to be what you’ll usually find on the shelves if you live outside of the United States.
Even if you like the spicy stuff, 1 teaspoon has probably got you well covered. If you don’t like spicy food and want a mild version, use ½ teaspoon.
How to make Vegan Chili
- This is a very simple recipe!
- You start off with sautéeing some onions and garlic with olive oil in a pot until softened.
- Then you add in some chopped celery and carrots and toss up with the onions.
- Then comes canned tomatoes, vegetable stock and tomato paste and bring that all to a simmer before adding in kidney beans, black beans, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper and paprika.
- Let that all simmer together until the veggies are softened and the flavors have blended together beautifully.
- Add in a little brown sugar (or coconut sugar) for flavor balance, sea salt and black pepper to taste and dinner is ready.
How To Serve Chili
This is divine served with a dollop of plain cashew cream. It cuts the spiciness perfectly and adds an extra layer of total deliciousness to this meal. It is also great with some vegan sour cream if you want more of a tang.
My preference is for the plain cashew cream (as pictured here), I feel that the more plain option works better to alleviate the spiciness of the dish.
Some fresh basil and chopped chives are also great accompaniments.
Storing and Freezing
Leftovers keep perfectly covered in the fridge for 4-5 days. You can reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.
More Spicy Vegan Dinner Recipes
- If you like a bit of spiciness in your food then our vegan kung pao tofu is right up your street.
- Our vegan Thai green curry, vegan massaman curry and vegan coconut curry are all delicious options as well.
- We also do a wonderful vegan lentil curry and vegan korma and our vegan potato curry and vegan sweet potato curry are always very popular.
- Love beans? Our vegan baked beans are smoky, savory and sweet and most likely the best you’ve ever tasted! You’ll also love our vegan black bean soup.
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and rating below!
For the Chili:
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion White, Yellow or Brown, Chopped
- 2 tsp Crushed Garlic
- 2 Medium Stalks Celery Sliced
- 2 Medium Carrots Sliced
- 28 ounces Canned Chopped Tomato (800g)
- 1 cup Vegetable Stock (240ml)
- ½ cup Tomato Paste (130g)
- 15 ounce Can Kidney Beans Drained
- 15 ounce Can Black Beans Drained
- 1 tsp Pure Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Oregano
- ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 2 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar or Coconut Sugar
- Sea Salt To taste
- Cashew Cream
- Basmati Rice
- Chopped Chives
- Fresh Basil
- In a large pot, sauté the onion and the garlic in the olive oil until soft.
- Add the celery and carrot and sauté with the onions.
- Then add the canned tomato, vegetable stock and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer.
- Add the drained kidney beans and black beans, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper and paprika and stir in.
- Simmer uncovered until the vegetables are cooked and the flavors have blended together.
- Add in the light brown sugar and sea salt to taste.
- Serve with cashew cream, chopped chives and fresh basil leaves, with or without rice.
- This recipe assumes you’ll be using full strength pure chili powder as we did, and not a chili blend. However, if you are using a blend (if yours is a blend it will include other mild spices like garlic powder, oregano, cumin etc) then you’ll want to use more than we’ve used here, about 2 Tablespoons, but taste test and see how you go.
- This is a spicy, but flavorful dish. If you prefer milder food and are using the pure chili powder, start with ½ teaspoon.
- Nutritional information is for chili only, without optional add-ons like cashew cream or rice.