I adore vegan chili*! It’s so filling and hearty and it’s easy to make a large batch of chili that lasts me all week with minimal effort. Ever since I started working at my current job, I’ve been making a batch a almost every week. I love that I get so much food from one recipe. It’s been over a year and a half and I still haven’t gotten bored! It helps that it’s so easy to change up the beans or vegetables for a different end result. Every batch I make is slightly different. I gave my old recipe a health boost with some unusual ingredients like molasses, apple cider vinegar, and raw cacao powder.
The vegan chili has a milder taste so that the character of the vegetables can shine through. I usually just throw in whatever I have around, though I always try to include the eggplant since it makes it more satisfying. Chili is very forgiving so if you find you’ve added too much and the taste is too subtle for your liking, just add more spices. This is a great approach around harvest time
I used to use tofu instead of eggplant but since I’ve gone soy-free, I find the eggplant to be an even more satisfying addition since it has a firmer, fresh texture. Texture is also why I like to mash some of the beans with bean water. It makes it a bit creamier, kind of like refried beans.
This chili goes well with rice and potatoes, dipped in tortillas, or even on pasta. Usually I just serve it with brown basmati rice for work meals. A nice salad or some roasted vegetables would be an excellent side, though I often eat it alone as a one bowl meal.
*Keep in mind I’m Canadian and have a very flexible idea of what could be considered vegan chili 😉
Simple Vegan Chili
- 2 cups dried pinto beans
- 1 cup dried black beans
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large eggplant diced
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 1 can crushed tomatoes 28oz/796ml
- 1 can diced tomatoes 28oz/796ml
- 1 cup reserved bean water
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne to taste
- 1 tbsp salt to taste
- Cook the dried beans using your preferred method, being sure to reserve 1 cup of the water the beans cooked in. I use an electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot) on high pressure for 33 minutes with natural release. This can be done in advance.
- Heat up the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in the onion and after a few minutes when it starts to turn translucent, add in the eggplant, pepper, and garlic. Cook until the eggplant and onion and starting to brown, stirring regularly to avoid burning the garlic.
- Add the reserved bean water and beans to the pot. If desired, use a potato masher to smash up some of the beans for a creamier texture.
- Adjust the burner to low heat for simmering. Add the canned tomatoes, diced tomatoes to the large pot. Next add the raw cacao powder, balsamic vinegar, cumin, chili powder, oregano, paprika, cayenne, and sea salt to the pot.
- Simmer on low for at least 30 minutes but the longer the better. Taste and adjust spice levels as desired. Enjoy!