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Spicy Vegetarian Chili

Spicy Vegetarian Chili

The BEST Vegetarian Chili! Make it with eggplant, plum tomatoes, onion, garlic, zucchini, bell peppers, jalapeños, white beans, kidney beans, and cilantro. You won't miss the meat!

Photography Credit:Elise Bauer

Vegetarian Chili even a committed carnivore will love

Those of you who have been reading Our Site for a while probably sense (rightly) that my father is a committed carnivore.

Thus, you may appreciate that Dad, spending an afternoon making this vegetarian chili with vegetables that he had bought at the farmers market that morning, would only put so much care into a meat-free chili, his dinner, if that chili were darn good.

This vegetarian chili is that good.

Vegetarian Chili Success

It’s excellent! Spicy, flavorful, delicious.

Of course, my mother did have to convince Dad that no, we didn’t need steak in addition to the chili, it was to remain a meatless chili—the beans were full of protein. And no, neither did we need potatoes. We served our vegetarian chili with French bread.

We used canned beans, but of course you can always make your beans from scratch on the stove or in the pressure cooker.

How to Store and Freeze this Chili

Like many chilis, this one is just as good the next day. It will keep in the refrigerator for three to four days and can be reheated over low heat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

To freeze, let it cool completely, then transfer to freezer storage containers. Freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, or reheat straight from the freezer over low heat on the stovetop.

Want More Great Chili Recipes?

  • Easy Vegetarian Chili with Mushrooms
  • Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Chili
  • Ground Beef Chili
  • Easy No-Bean Chili
  • Cincinnati Chili

Spicy Vegetarian Chili Recipe

The level of spiciness in this vegetarian chili will depend on how much chili powder, and how many jalapeños you put in the chili. If you like things on the mild side, start with the smaller amounts of both, and add to taste.


  • 1 1-pound (450g) eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 large red bell peppers, cored, seeded, diced
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded, finely minced (Taste and check the heat of the jalapeños. If very hot only use one, if mildly hot, use two. Wash hands with soap and water after handling. Do not rub eyes.)
  • 1 28-ounce (794g) can Italian plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, including liquid (or 2 pounds fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1-2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chopped oregano or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked white beans (1 15-ounce or 425g can), drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked kidney beans (1 15-ounce or 425g can), drained and rinsed
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (use raw, beet, or coconut sugar for vegan version)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (can sub parsley if you have an aversion to cilantro)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1 Roast the cubed eggplant: Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Scatter eggplant cubes in a shallow roasting pan and slather with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes, stirring once during the cooking. Remove from the oven and set aside.

2 Sauté the onions, garlic, peppers: While the eggplant is roasting, start on the rest of the vegetables. In a large (5-6 quart) thick-bottomed Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute more.

Add the red bell peppers, zucchini, and jalapeño chili peppers. Cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

3 Add the tomatoes, spices, chili, and roasted eggplant: Add the tomatoes to the pot along with any liquid that may have been in the can (if using canned). Add oregano, cumin, and fennel seeds. Add chili powder to desired heat. Stir in the eggplant cubes (carefully as to not break them up), and simmer for 20 minutes over low heat.

4 Add the beans, lemon, sugar, cilantro, salt, pepper: Add the white beans and kidney beans, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and chopped cilantro. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes.

5 Serve with garnishes: Serve with sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and chopped green onions.

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chile peppers, drained
  • 2 (12 ounce) packages vegetarian burger crumbles
  • 3 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and green chile peppers. When vegetables are heated through, mix in the vegetarian burger crumbles. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.

Mix the tomatoes into the pot. Season chili with chili powder and pepper. Stir in the kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and black beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.

Spicy Vegetarian Chili Recipe

This recipe is adapted from the book “Great Vegetarian Dishes” by Kurma Das. You can also replace the kidney beans with black beans and add more vegetables like carrots to make this into a one pot meal. You can replace the cheese with tofu for a vegan version.


270 gm (1 1/4 cups) kidney beans*

45 ml (3 tbsp) oil

2 green chilies (deseeded if you can’t handle the heat!)

1/2 tsp asafetida

2 to 3 sticks of celery, cut into tiny pieces

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

540 gm (2 cups) tomatoes, blended into a puree

1 tsp brown sugar

175 gm (1/2 cup) corn, cooked

1 tsp cumin (jeera) powder

freshly ground black pepper

3/4 tsp red chili powder or to taste

2 tsp dried parsley or 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp thyme

2 tsp salt or to taste

200 gm (1 cup) crumbled fresh cheese (paneer cheese)*


Clean, wash and soak the kidney beans overnight or for a minimum of 6 hours. Drain and cook* the kidney beans with 2 1/2 cups (625 ml) water in a pressure cooker. Alternatively use a sauce pan. Reserve the water.

In a saucepan or a wok (I used a Le Creuset buffet casserole dish), heat the oil. Put in the chilies, asafetida and celery sticks and stir fry for a few seconds. Add the chopped bell peppers and cook for a few minutes more until the pepper turn soft.

Put in ground tomatoes and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes until the oil separates. Stir in the sugar to balance the tart flavour of the tomatoes. Add the corn, all the spices and the rest of the ingredients.. Cook until the tomato is dry and all the water is absorbed.

Stir in the cooked kidney beans along with the reserved water and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in the paneer, mix well and cook for a couple of minutes more. Serve hot or at room temperature with plain steamed rice or breads of your choice.

* For detailed instructions to cook rajma, refer to this post!

* To make fresh cheese in a jiffy, refer to this post!

Serves 4 to 6

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Reader Interactions


FYI i have been making this chili for years for veggie and non veggie friends alike and it is ALWAYS a hit. I don’t usually do the beer because my family is Muslim, but i have in the past. It’s great either way. I love how comforting and full of veg it is.

It’s 2017 and this is still the best chili I’ve ever found. Thank you, Past Joy for providing this wonderful recipe :)

Really good chili! I didn’t use the bbq sauce but added: 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, dash cinnamon, 3 tablespoons tomato paste and 1 small can tomato juice. Nice complex flavor for vegetarian chili!

Great recipe. This chili will warm me up in a second!

Dear Joy,
Have I told you how utterly happy this recipe makes me? Not only is it delicious and adored by all members of my family (which is only 3, but still), but it makes my life so much easier, and consequently relaxing and more enjoyable. Once a pot of this is made—I make half of it with turkey to satisfy my carnivorous husband and daughter—I can relax for the rest of the day knowing dinner is a mere reheat away.
The recipe makes enough for two dinners, one the day I make it and one for the freezer, plus a lunch or two. So really, one little batch of this chili makes my life better for at least two whole days. Thank you, thank you, for my new favorite chili recipe.

I’ve had this on my “Recipes to Try” Pinterest board for a while now. Finally got around to making it yesterday and I LOVE it! I made mine slightly less-spicy, to be kid friendly. Also, I added sauteed ground turkey to half the batch, for the carnivores in my family. So good, I think it’s the steak seasoning that really puts it over the top for goodness.
Thanks Joy!

I made this tonight and it is my favorite meatless main TO DATE! I added shredded carrot because I needed to use it and some paprika. I think I might use a touch less steak seasoning next time because we like our chili with Fritos and cheese and it was a little salty. But still SO good and I can’t wait for leftovers. Thanks for the great recipes!

I make this dish twice a month. I freeze half of it and eat a cup of it every day for lunch during the week. It’s warm and filling and healthy. I love it!

this is the first chili im gonna try making. How long should i cook the chili for? couple of hours?

I made this for dinner tonight, it was soooo good! I was too lazy to do the scones, but I can only imagine. Can you please have a cookbook so I don’t have to greasy up my phone whilst cooking and following the recipe :)

the cookbook is on the way!

Between the chili and the scones, I’m ready to make supper this weekend. Thanks for making it easy, and delicious for me. Yum! :)

Just made this tonight for my meat-eater parents and we all loved it. I didn’t have jalapenos so I used these horribly mean peppers they keep in the freezer, my fingers (and mouth) still tingle… also, used more peppers, an old eggplant and no zucchini. And less beans (only 2 cans). I also added oregano, more cumin, paprika, around half a cup of tomato juice that was waiting in the fridge, and some crumbled tofu. And more beer instead of stock. It was delicious, comforting, thick and just plain winner. Thank you for sharing your recipe. I’ll make the scones next time (didn’t have the ingredients needed). They look like they’d go perfectly with this chili.
Also, thank you for making me laugh. I love the way you write, the way you think… you’re funny and interesting and your posts often make my day. Thank you. Have a good day!

been frequenting your site quite abit for the past few days.
i must say, its amazing!!
theres just ONE thing missing from your site though… :)
and i LIKE and i LOVE button. :D
superb stuff!!

nice one – i think veggies kinda need more spices and stuff to give that depth of flavour you get with meat so bet this totally works. i sometimes add bulghur wheat for a bit of added texture and much more natural than fake mince ) definitely gonna try this, thanks!

Add a generous tablespoon of smoky paprika and it will blow your taste-buds!

Wow just made this on my limited student budget, changing amounts so it only made enough for two and added homemade roti and it was the best dinner I’ve had in awhile. Thanks for sharing it!

Could you put up a printer friendly link for this recipe? Thanks!

how could i forget that!? you got it!

went to whole foods to attempt to buy a nonalcoholic beer for this baby, apparently if you are under 21 you can’t even buy nonalcoholic beer…

they helped me think of a lovely alternative ‘ginger beer’ (ginger ale by the ginger people)
added it. t’was simply lovely.

my family loved this chili :-) Thanks joy!!

that’s really good thinkin!

I will for sure be making this tonight with the Jalepeno scones!

Oh, my. I made this for Christmas Eve, with great success. So I made it again for New Year’s Eve for a group of friends, and they loved it – one of the guys didn’t believe it didn’t have meat in it because it was so hearty. And now I’m planning on taking it to a work party next weekend since there will be vegans and vegetarians there, and I need something that will please a variety of palates – thanks for this great recipe!

I just made this chili for my sister who is a vegetarian and she loved it! My boyfriend liked it too. I made it spicier by adding Serranos instead of jalapeños and keeping some of the seeds.

Thanks for the recipe Joy!!

Yumm. Love the veggie chili, it’s cold here in the Midwest. Mine has a shredded carrot , along with an extra can of beans and tomatoes. While I was rummaging I found some shredded cooking chocolate and threw that in too. Going with the Martha Stewart skillet cornbread for dinner.

so my green pepper had a mealworm it in. i properly freaked out before burying it in the trash. my zucchini was also bad on the inside. i need a new grocer. i used the juice from the beans too. i’ve never done that. i’m afraid of the bean juice usually (maybe because i call it bean juice), but it gave the chili a nice thickness.

even with those hiccups, this turned out spectacular. less veggies was not necessarily a bad thing. this made 7 . . . 7! two-cup servings. holy bananas. i am up to my ears in chili, but my roommate is happy.

i used Spike seasoning (to reduce the sodium cause it’s salt free). they make great stuff. i also added a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, cause i’m adventurous. that turned out nicely. i used only vegetable broth, though i had a Guinness in the fridge (i was just too scared to cook with beer, also, i save the Guinness for my irish car bomb cupcakes).

excellent recipe. lots of spice. lots of protein (yay beans!). lots of love. the scones are a perfect complement. joy, you are my apron-wearing hero.

This chili is amazing! It is a nice change from traditional chili recipes. I served it over rice, which was really delicious. I will be making this again and again!

WOW!! Just made this for my family and it’s awesome :D I adjusted it for my mom’s sensitive stomach didn’t put the jalapeño in it and, turned out great!! Put a dollop of sour cream in it and it’s pretty tasty as well. Awesome recipe! num num :)

Making it right now for our Christmas Even dinner. With the pepperjack scones, of course!
thanks so much for the delicious recipe.

holy delicious! i want a big, huge bowl of this pronto!

i made both last night and it was so tasty. i added carrots omitted the zucchini because of what i had in the house. the scones were fab-u-lous! thanks joy!

O MY GOODNESS! i need to go make chili right now.
this looks so good. SO good.

Love the veggie chili. Mine has one sweet potato chopped up, and I add root veggies–parsnip, rutabaga, turnip (one of each), as well as a couple of carrots. For broth, I like to use “Better than Bullion,” which comes in veggie, chicken or beef flavor. It’s a bit salty, but if you don’t use too much, it’s chock-full of good stuff.

I’m definitely going to try this recipe. I make a mean turkey chili with pumpkin puree in it, but I’ve never been able to find a great vegetarian option…thanks! I like thick chili, so maybe I’ll add the pumpkin puree to your recipe??

I totally admire this chili – ’tis the season for a dish like this and I love all the ingredients that you incorporated.

I also totally admire you for shopping for cheek stain online – I would never be able to decide.

Thanks for the post and recipe!

yummm, one question, where did the stevens section go. come back, stevens! are you too busy chasing a (possibly imaginary) moth?

Pefect idea! I am making this tonight.

my boyfriend wanted to make dinner for my family last night so i suggested that he make the chili and scones. they came out amazing! thanks for the inspiration!

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • The Beans. I&rsquom using 3 different types of beans for this recipe: dark red kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans. You can use a single type of bean if you&rsquore looking for a more uniform color or use other beans to your preference. If you have a favorite chili bean, go for it! I enjoy the color variation.

  • The Seasonings. I&rsquom all about this homemade chili powder recipe, but you can use your own favorite personal blend. There are some great ones out there. If you&rsquore in the mood for experimenting, try a blend of ancho and guajillo chili powders. It&rsquos a wonderful combination. The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of chili powder, but you can include more for a more pronounced flavor. Red pepper flakes are great for extra heat.
  • The Peppers. I&rsquove chosen a combination of bell peppers, jalapeno peppers and serrano peppers. Together, they offer a great combination of texture, flavor and heat. If you&rsquore looking for a milder chili, skip the serranos and core out the jalapenos, or skip them altogether and only use bell peppers. If you&rsquore looking for more heat, feel free to incorporate spicier peppers, you crazy chilihead, you. You know who you are! Ghost peppers, anyone?
  • Other Veggies. You can use many other vegetables to make your veggie chili. Some great additions include onion, carrot, celery, zucchini, squash, so many others. Use your favorites. It&rsquos your pot of chili!
  • The Hot Sauce. Hot sauce is not required for this recipe, but it is highly recommended! Use your favorite hot sauce. I like to let a few tablespoons (or more!) simmer with the chili a while, then drizzle a bit more onto the bowl of chili just before serving. Hot sauce and chili are best friends.
  • The Toppings. My favorite toppings are fresh chopped herbs and spicy chili flakes. And hot sauce, of course! You have so many great chili topping options, though. Feel free to add a dollop of sour cream or crema, a few crunchy tortilla chips or strips, crackers or some cheese. Whatever you love!

Spicy Two-Bean Vegetarian Chili

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, red bell pepper, and jalapeños and sauté until onion and carrots are almost tender, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, 3 cups water, beans, bulgur, white wine vinegar, garlic, and spices. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, until bulgur is tender and mixture thickens, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Ladle chili into bowls and serve.

How would you rate Spicy Two-Bean Vegetarian Chili?

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Chipotle Vegetarian Three Bean Chili

This chili is quite spicy. For a milder chili, use one chipotle pepper instead of two. If you want more smoky flavor, use smoked paprika instead of regular sweet paprika.

If you prefer a thicker chili, use 2 or 2 1/2 cups of broth instead of 3.

  • Author: Lisa Lin
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes (10 minutes inactive)
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6 1 x


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 rib of celery, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 chipotle peppers (in adobo sauce), roughly chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 15.5-ounce can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15.5-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15.5-ounce can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed


  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté them for about 4 minutes. Add the celery, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Sauté for another 3 minutes.
  2. Add the chili powder, cumin, paprika, chipotle peppers and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine the ingredients. Add the crushed tomatoes and broth, cover the pot and bring it to a boil.
  3. Remove the cover, add the beans, and reduce the heat to medium. Let the soup simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered.
  4. Turn off the heat and let the soup sit for another 10 minutes so that the beans absorb more liquid.
  5. Serve the chili in bowls with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped onions and cilantro.
  6. Refrigerate any leftovers. The chili tastes even better the next day!


NUTRITION INFORMATION: Amount for 1/6 of recipe: Calories: 270, Total Fat 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 1373.4mg, Total Carbohydrate: 43.3g, Dietary Fiber: 14.2g, Sugar: 7g, Protein 13.5g

Did you make this recipe?

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by USA Pulses & Pulse Canada. Check out their website for more easy ways to use pulses in your cooking!

Spicy Vegetarian Chili

Do you enjoy vegetarian meals but worry about getting enough protein? This spicy chili is a hearty meal packed with flavor and protein! Give it a try for a delicious Meatless Monday meal or any day!

Serving Size: 1 cup
Number of Servings: 10
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large butternut squash, diced
  • 1 lb. textured vegetable protein (or medium-firm tofu)
  • 3 c. water
  • 20 oz. low-sodium petite diced tomatoes
  • 10 oz. black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 10 oz. light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 10 oz. dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced with seeds (optional, omit seeds to reduce spiciness)
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • ½ tbsp. ground chipotle powder
  • 2 tsp. lime juice
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Set a large pot over medium heat and allow it to get hot. Add olive oil and swirl around the bottom of the pot.
  2. Add onions, peppers, garlic, and squash. Drop heat to medium-low. Cover and allow to cook about 10 minutes, stirring often, until squash is softened.
  3. Add textured vegetable protein, water, tomatoes, beans, jalapeno peppers, spices, and lime juice. Mix thoroughly. Cover again and reduce heat to low. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
  4. When done, the mixture should have changed from a bright to a darker red. It should have some liquid but not a lot. If more liquid is desired, add it, but be sure to adjust the seasonings accordingly.

TIP: This recipe works great with any chili seasoning recipe you like. So if you have a blend you make or love from the store, feel free to use it!

Nutrition Information: (Chili with no toppings)
Serving size = 1 cup
270 calories, 2g fat, 201mg sodium, 45g carbs, 13g sugars, 17g fiber, 31g protein

Author: Nikki Massie, Bariatric Foodie
Brought to you by: Celebrate Vitamins

Spicy Vegetable Chili

Isaac is on another vegetable strike. These strikes use to really worry me when I was a new mom. I’d freak out over if he was getting enough nutrients and what not. Now I just roll my eyes and say “Ok son” when he proclaims that sweet peas taste like mud with a little bit of sugar or that he no longer likes iceberg lettuce because it reminds him of wet paper (I laugh internally because he is soooo me when I was a kid)

This current vegetable strike has axed out everything but broccoli. It’s frustrating, but I’ve learned a few things over the years. Since I can no longer convince him that if he doesn’t eat vegetables poop will start coming out of his ears, aka ear wax, (Hey don’t judge me I was desperate!) I’ve resorted to another trick better know as VEGETABLE CHILI.

When he goes on these vegetable strikes, the best thing to do is to let him make his choice and respect it, knowing it will change. It always does. And if it’s taking too long to change I simply serve up this vegetable chili! He LOVES this vegetable chili which is totally mind blowing since it’s filled to the brim with VEGETABLES!! Kids are something else aren’t they!?

I’m not complaining though because I LOVE this vegetable chili just as much! Besides being packed with peppers, onions, sweet corn, sweet peas, celery, tomatoes and zucchini, it’s also loaded with beans!! Lots and lot of protein packing beans Garbanzo, kidney and black beans!

You may remember a VERY similar recipe I did for vegetarian chili way back in 2011. It’s basically the same one just updated a bit and spicier. Oh and this one doesn’t contain Grillers crumbles and few other things.

Since we are expecting our first winter storm this weekend this vegetable chili should give my husband plenty of energy to shovel off that drive way! It’s so hearty and healthy. Serve it with cornbread for one cozy, comforting meal.

Spicy Vegetarian Chili

This recipe was developed as part of a partnership between Bariatric Foodie and Celebrate Vitamins. Here on Bariatric Foodie you’ll find pictures and helpful recipe hints, then use the button at the bottom of this post to click through to the Celebrate Vitamins website to view and download the recipe, complete with nutrition information!

I know what you’re thinking. That does not look vegetarian. That looks like it’s chock full of meat. Nik, are you lying to us. Are you trying to pull the aprons over our eyes.

No…I’m not. That chili really does not have a single scrap of meat in it!

It’s be a long time since I’ve cooked with textured vegetable protein. But I felt it was time.

Now I know some folks have different feelings about TVP because it is a soy-based product. And I respect your feelings about that!

But for me it’s a handy thing to have around the house for several reasons:

  1. It packs a lot of protein into a small serving size (12g in just 1/4 cup!)
  2. It doesn’t taste like anything…which means you can make it taste like anything.
  3. Ounce-for-ounce it’s generally cheaper than animal protein.

And chances are you’ve had TVP and didn’t know it. Non-meat crumbles (to use in place of ground meat)? That’s basically TVP. Imitation bacon bits? That is also TVP! (Check the label if you don’t believe me.)

This is why, for me, TVP is here to stay in my kitchen! That and…I have this child who waxes and wanes in and out of vegetarianism. Poor kid. She’s conflicted. She genuinely doesn’t like the idea of animals dying to be her food. But she also has an affinity for steak. The struggle is real.

S’anyway, I wanted to share this recipe precisely because it packs an impressive protein punch. With the TVP and the beans, you get a lot of protein, but then with the addition of a few veggies (in this case tomatoes, onions, peppers and butternut squash, you’re getting a lot of micro-nutrient action as well.

I genuinely think this recipe works best spicy. Generally I try to look out for my non-spicy Foodies. And you may like this recipe just fine without the spicy elements. I do not. Between the slightly nutty flavor of the TVP and the slight sweetness of the squash, for me it needs the spicyness to hold it all together. Your mileage may vary.

This recipe is a great make-ahead recipe. With TVP, the longer you let it “rest,” the more flavor infused it will be. When cooking TVP, you just want to make sure to check it even if it is on a low simmer. TVP sucks up water until it is filled with it (which is why it looks like ground meat when it is done cooking). I like this chili thick and saucy, so I didn’t put a ton of liquid in it, but you also don’t want it to so thick it’s almost solid! So watch that.

Now…with all that information, this chili is a great addition to any #MeatlessMonday or if you just aren’t feeling meat right now, so hop on over to the Celebrate website and get it!

Oh also…if you follow a vegetarian diet (or just cook vegetarian meals) and have a different source of protein you suggest for chili, leave a comment! We’d love to learn about it.