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Hearty, Chunky, and Delicious Vegan Chili (Oil-Free Recipe)

Nicola is a mother to two, a stepmother to three, and a wife to one. She prides herself at being able to "veganize" virtually any recipe.

This vegan chili is so chunky, filling, and yummy!

This vegan chili is so chunky, filling, and yummy!

Chili Secrets

The secret to the very best chili, in my humble opinion, is in its chunkiness. The perfect chili should be comforting, hearty, and filling—and what better way to do that than to pack it full of healthy vegetables and legumes.

Served with homemade bread rolls and a large green salad, this healthy meal will fill you up but still make you come back for seconds.

This dish is also very affordable. Beans are so much cheaper than meat!

Hearty and healthy

Hearty and healthy

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

1 hour

1 hour 10 min

8 servings


  • 1 onion (yellow, white, or red), chopped
  • 1 pepper (any colour), chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 pack of fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed or diced tomatoes, do not drain
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cans beans (red or white kidney), drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 to 2 cups Gardein's Beefless Ground (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water, for sautéing

Ingredient Notes and Alternatives

  • Oil free: You will notice this recipe is oil-free. Sauté your vegetables in a tablespoon or two of water instead.
  • How to chop veggies: I like my chili to be chunky, so my vegetables are usually roughly chopped into large chunks, but you can chop them as large or as small as you like.
  • Mushrooms: Finely chopped mushrooms are a great alternative to the meat that is missing from this recipe. Not only do they visibly resemble ground beef in a recipe like this, but their texture also lends to the illusion of meat.
  • Gardein's Beefless Grounds: This product is a soy-based product that can be found in the freezer section of most grocery stores. Many other brands do plant-based meat replacements, so use whichever product you prefer. Or omit it altogether.
  • Chili powder: This recipe works with a little or a lot of chili powder. It simply depends on how spicy you like it.
  • Vegetable substitutions: If there's a vegetable listed above that you don't like, or that you don't have, just replace it with something else. A cup of frozen corn, peas, zucchini, spring onions. I also add cherry tomatoes from my garden when I have them. The possibilities are endless!


  1. Chop your vegetables.
  2. Heat a large pot, and add your vegetables. Sauté in 1-2 tablespoons of water (just enough so that the vegetables don't stick). Stir.
  3. Once the vegetables start to soften and the onion becomes translucent, add your spices: cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  4. Add the tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, rinsed beans, and 1 cup of water.
  5. Bring to a simmer, then add the Gardein Beefless Grounds, if you are using them.
  6. Simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes. (This can be kept on simmer for much longer if you'd like to cook a bit in advance.)
Vegan chili served with salad and homemade bread rolls

Vegan chili served with salad and homemade bread rolls

Accompanying Recipes

When I make a pot of chili, I always bake some of these vegan bread maker dinner rolls to go along with it. This a bread machine recipe and I like it because they come out flawlessly every time.

I never have to mix or knead. The biggest part of my job is dividing the dough and rolling it into rounds.

If you time it right, both the chili and the rolls will be ready at the same time. The butter will melt on these scrumptious treats!

For those without a bread machine, I have had great success with this recipe for soft and fluffy one-hour rolls.

Fresh dinner rolls

Fresh dinner rolls

Final Thoughts

I absolutely love making these one-pot meals because they're simple and they have very little clean-up.

This recipe makes a large enough quantity that leftovers are nearly guaranteed. This chili freezes well and reheats in minutes in the microwave or on the stovetop.