Go Back
+ servings

The Ultimate Vegan Chili

This Ultimate Vegan Chili is thick, hearty and meaty! It's loaded with veggies, beans, warm spices, and savory meat crumbles. It'll keep you cozy and satisfied during those chilly days, too! 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Vegan
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 5 people
Calories 463kcal


Veggie Meat Crumbles

  • 14 ounces tofu , extra firm. Drained and pressed (*see note)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons avocado oil (or preferred cooking oil)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari , low sodium (sub soy sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke (sub with 1 teaspoon smoked paprika)
  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic


  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or preferred cooking oil)
  • 1 large onion , diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper , diced
  • 1-2 jalapeños , deseeded and diced (*optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced or crushed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin , more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth , low sodium
  • 28 ounces fire roasted tomatoes , canned (crushed or finely chopped)
  • 2-3 tablespoons cornmeal (*optional - see note)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (sub molasses) , more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons tamari , low sodium (sub soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 15 ounces black beans , canned. Drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounces kidney beans , canned. Drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn , fresh or frozen
  • Salt and pepper , to taste


Veggie Meat Crumbles

  • In a large bowl, whisk the tamari, liquid smoke, and garlic together. Set aside.
  • Using your hands, gently break up the pressed tofu into ½-inch pieces. Add the tofu to the bowl of marinade and gently toss to coat well.
  • Heat a Large Non-Stick Pan over medium heat. Now add the oil and when it's hot, add the crumbled tofu. Cook until browned and slightly crispy on all sides, stirring occasionally. It should take about 7-9 minutes. Lower the heat if needed to prevent burning. Remove from heat and set aside.


  • Heat a large pot over medium heat. Now add the oil and when it's hot, add the onions, peppers, and jalapeños. Sauté until tender and lightly browned. About 6-8 minutes.
  • Add garlic and sauté for 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Stir constantly to prevent burning.
  • Now add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and smoked paprika. Stir constantly for 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Pour in the vegetable broth and give a good stir. This will pick up the brown bits off the bottom.
  • Add the roasted tomatoes, tamari, cornmeal, brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt and pepper. Raise heat to bring to a high simmer. Then reduce heat to maintain a light simmer for 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Now stir in the beans and corn. Lightly simmer for another 10-12 minutes until cooked down and thickened. If you want a thinner consistency, add a few splashes of broth.
  • Stir in the veggie meat crumbles and cook for another 6-8 minutes until heated throughout. Taste for seasoning and add more if needed. Remove from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!


* PRESSING TOFU: wrap a block of tofu in a dish towel and place it on a rimmed plate. Add a cast iron skillet on top (or something equally heavy)and let it drain for 20-30 minutes. Pat dry to remove excess moisture on the surface.
You can also use a Tofu Press to make it even easier or you can use Pre-Pressed Tofu or High-Protein Tofu. You will have a thicker block if you use the high-protein tofu, so you'll have extra crumbles. You can save them in the fridge for a different recipe or add more to the chili. 
Prep time doesn't include pressing the tofu. 
This recipe is fairly thick with all of the ingredients, but I like to use 2-3 tablespoons of cornmeal for extra thickness and a heartier texture. I love it! You can omit it if preferred though. If needed, just cook the chili down a little longer to thicken. 
I highly recommend a Non-Stick Skillet for the veggie crumbles or a well-seasoned Cast Iron Pan. The crumbles stick easily to the pan and can burn. If you use a stainless-steel pan, just make sure the pan is well heated and oiled before beginning. Watch carefully and stir often.
Alternatively, you can bake the crumbles at 375 F (190 C) for 20-30 minutes until browned and slightly crispy. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper and spray with oil. Move the crumbles around every 7-10 minutes for even browning.
If you can't have soy, you can omit the tamari and replace the tofu crumbles with mushrooms or store-bought crumbles. For the mushrooms, sauté them in oil until fully browned. Then add the sauce the last minute of cooking. Add them into the chili the last 5 minutes of cook time. The store-bought crumbles won't need seasoning. Just brown them in a pan with a small amount of oil. 
To add more depth of flavor, you can add a splash of Liquid Smoke, Lime Juice, Vegan Worcestershire Sauce or Balsamic Vinegar after removing from heat (don't add all of them).
Top with sliced jalapeños, fresh-cut cilantro, green onions, vegan sour cream, and shredded vegan cheese.


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 463kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 596mg | Potassium: 1455mg | Fiber: 20g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1656IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 132mg | Iron: 8mg