One of our ultimate comfort foods, this easy Vegan Chilli is super quick to make in just 15 minutes. On top of that, it is very pantry-friendly and so simple yet full of flavour. The perfect yummy meal for the lazy vegan chef.
Call it chili (with one ‘L’), chilli (with two ‘L’s), chili sin carne, chili non carne or whatever you want. This vegan chili is the bomb! And it doesn’t take a lot of messing around to make it either.
Our Vegan Chilli recipe is great because it is:
- full of awesome flavour
- great texture
- rich in protein
- quick to make in just 15 minutes
- super pantry-friendly
- also perfect for camping trips and van cooking
- so simple, you’ll make it again and again
What's in it?
Our veggie chili is a meal we can always whip together of our pantry stock items, even when we’re out in the campervan. The bulk of it is tinned goods: chopped tomatoes, beans and sweetcorn.
Fun fact: Did you know that canned tomatoes have more flavour and nutrients in them than ‘fresh’ tomatoes grown out of season in a glasshouse? We love tinned goods to fall back on when we are running low on fresh seasonal veg.
We love the texture of the rehydrated soya mince. Soaked in vegetable stock and soy sauce, it gives this chili non carne all the flavour and feeling of chili con carne.
Paprika and cumin are a flavourful duo typical to the Tex-Mex cuisine. A chili wouldn’t be chili though, without some chili pepper. Enter cayenne. But there are two secret agents at play to round off the flavour perfectly: Cocoa powder and cinnamon.
We like to use fresh onion and fresh garlic. They keep well and provide a lot of basic savoury flavour. If you want to go completely without fresh produce, see below for substitutions.
Step by step
Step 1: Soak the dehydrated soya mince (tvp) in vegetable stock and soy sauce with some olive oil.
Step 2: Start frying the onion, then add in the soaked mince.
Step 3: Add herbs and garlic, fry for a few minutes.
Step 4: Add the spices and briefly fry them as well.
Step 5: Stir in the tomatoes, beans, sweetcorn, tomato puree, cinnamon and cocoa.
Step 6: Simmer for 5 minutes.
That’s it, in six simple steps. No magic involved here, not endless chopping or long simmering. It is a simple process of frying off some stuff, then adding everything else in and heating it up to cook it through. That’s all! You hungry yet?
Variations and substitutions
Not all the ingredients in our recipe are set in stone. Some can be easily swapped out.
In place of dried soy mince, substitute frozen or refrigerated vegan mince. If you haven’t got any of these, try cooked quinoa or a can of green or brown lentils. Use about 250 grams or around 1 ½ cups for four servings.
Kidney beans can be switched out for any kind of bean you have - black beans, cannellini beans, pinto beans…
If you only have dried beans at home, here's a handy guide:
1 standard 400g or 15 oz can is approximately equivalent to
- 1 ½ cups of cooked beans
- or ¾ cup of dried beans (just be sure to cook them first to use in this recipe)
The can of sweetcorn can easily be substituted for 1 ½ cups of frozen corn. If you don’t have or like corn then you can add another can of drained beans or some chickpeas.
You can use onion granules and garlic powder in place of fresh produce. Very handy if you want to live entirely out of the pantry and not worry about things going off.
In place of cocoa powder, add in a piece of dark chocolate and let it melt while simmering.
Cayenne pepper is a pure chili pepper and can be substituted with (hot) chili powder. If you like it less hot, use mild chili powder, which also allows you to use more if you feel like it!
If you're going camping you can prepare the spices, herbs, sugar and salt in a small container at home, for easier cooking at camp!
Serve it with
The options for carbs on the side are endless here. A classic way is to serve chili with cornbread. Or roll it up in a tortilla and have it as a burrito! In the past, I’ve often had white bread, but pretty much any bread or toast would make a great chili companion!
Or serve it with rice. Put it on at the same time as you start cooking the chili, it is also done at the same time!
Go indulgent and enjoy your vegan chili with french fries or rustic potato chips. Baked or simply boiled potatoes might be a more humble choice.
Even pasta makes a fantastic side dish to chili. It is rumored that Paul has plans to try serving our chili non carne on vegan mac and cheese!
It also can’t hurt to add some green by topping the chili on the plate with some fresh chopped coriander/cilantro or parsley (That is, unless you really don’t like that sort of thing!)
You see, possibilities are endless, but we hope we’ve given you a start.
Looking for more easy pantry-friendly recipes? Try these:
Vegan Sweetcorn Fritters (all you need is a can of corn and a couple of things from your cupboard!)
Our tasty Vegan Lentil Ragu made with dried lentils and other pantry staples.
Or for something sweet to tempt you, how about these super easy Peanut Butter Jelly Oat Bars
Vegan Chilli (Quick & Pantry-friendly)
For the mince:
For the chili:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp mixed herbs
- ½ tsp rosemary
- 1 ½ tsp cumin
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper or chili powder
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 can kidney beans drained (or other beans)
- 1 can sweetcorn drained (or 1 ½ cups frozen per can)
- 3 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- pinch black pepper (or to taste)
- Soak the soy mince in the hot water, alongside the stock powder, soy sauce and olive oil.
- In a pot or large saucepan, fry the onion in olive oil, on medium high heat, until starting to brown.
- Stir in the soaked mince, then also add the garlic, mixed herbs and rosemary. Fry for another three minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the spices: paprika, smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper. Stir them in and fry for 30 seconds. Work swiftly so the spices don't catch or burn on the bottom of the pan.
- Add the canned tomatoes, beans and sweetcorn, and the tomato puree, sugar, cocoa powder and cinnamon. Season with black pepper to taste.
- If the chili seems a bit thick, add up to half a cup of water.
- Bring up to temperature and simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Deliciously served with bread, cornbread, rice or the side carbs of your choice.