What is Vegan Chili?
Chili is one of those home-comfort foods that many Americans grew up with. In fact, it’s so popular that entire chili cook-offs are dedicated to the art of making a decent chili, up and down the country. Originating from Northern Mexico or Southern Texas, this spicy stew will whet your appetite, leaving you wanting seconds (and thirds!). But what to do when you’re following a plant-based lifestyle?
Luckily for us, there’s a wide variety of ways to make vegan chili AKA chili sin carne. It’s made with all the same spices as regular chili, like chili peppers, tomatoes, and pinto or kidney beans. For the final texture, a vegan protein can be added, usually tofu, quinoa, or a textured vegetable protein, soya strips.
Plant-based chili is so easy to make, just grab your basic chili ingredients and allow everything to slowly simmer to release the flavors. Save your vegan protein until last (so it doesn’t lose its texture). When you’re just about ready to serve, pop in the vegan protein, extra beans, corn, or squash, warm through and enjoy! There’s nothing better than a delicious, hearty vegan chili served with toasted tortillas, like La Tortilla Factory's Low Carb Whole Wheat Tortillas, on a cold, winter’s day.
Vegan Chili: What’s key for Texture & Flavor
The most important thing in any vegan chili is texture and flavor! All too often, vegans have to substitute one or the other (or both!) in their search for plant-based foods. But with vegan chili, you don’t have to!
To maximize the flavor of your plant-based chili, allow your chili to stew or simmer slowly on the stove. Better yet, use your slow cooker or crockpot, if you have one, for minimal fuss and maximum taste! Allowing your plant-based chili to simmer slowly will allow all of those delicious spices to permeate your chili. Just make sure you save your vegan protein for last so it doesn’t lose its texture.
For an intriguing depth of flavor, you could try adding cinnamon or cocoa powder to your chili. The subtle aromas will awaken your taste buds, contrasting and enhancing the spicy notes from your plant-based chili. For extra texture, add an extra can of kidney or pinto beans at the end of your cooking time, or even try adding some nuts for a little crunch!
Top Vegan Chilis to Try
Not quite ready to make your own vegan chili? Or perhaps just after a quick and easy meal to fit your busy schedule? We’ve got you covered with some of the best brands of plant-based chili on the market!
Amy’s Black Bean Medium Chili is made from organic black beans, tomatoes bell peppers, and green chiles for added heat. It’s got a rich broth and scaled-back heat. If you like to know what’s in your food, then Amy’s is for you!
Amy's Chili Light Sodium
For a vegan chili with less salt, try this chili with a classic taste to warm you up on a winter’s evening. This delicious and authentic vegan chili is the ultimate convenience food.
La Frontier’s Tortilla Soup Mix
For a hearty chili-inspired soup, give this pre-packed mix a go. Filling and tasty enough to eat on its own for a nutritious lunch, or pair it up with some extra protein or a hunk of vegan bread roll for an extra satisfying meal.
Try Homestyle Recipes with Vegan Chili
Looking for a healthy, vegan recipe that’s also comforting? Try our Mexican Tortilla Lasagna, which takes the classic Italian lasagna and adds a Mexican twist! We take delicious vegan tortillas, like La Tortilla Factory’s Low Carb Whole Wheat Tortillas, and sandwich our version of vegan chili in between. The result? The perfect balance of crispy tortilla and chunky plant-based chili!
If heat is your thing, then try our vegan Red Thai Curry with Rice. While it’s not chili, it is delicious and spicy. It takes a little longer to prepare, but we promise, it’s worth it! Fresh bell peppers and carrots are combined with classic Thai spices and herbs, like ginger, garlic, and cilantro for a truly warming curry, with just the right amount of heat. Feel free to mix it up with whatever vegetables or vegan proteins you have to hand – it’s a truly versatile dish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Vegan Chili Gluten-Free?
Although vegan chili is naturally gluten-free, commercial vegan chilis may not all be gluten-free. Some commercial chilis may contain added beer or Worcestershire sauce for flavoring, or are thickened with all-purpose flour. To be sure, always check the ingredients on the label. At PlantX, we stock a number of gluten-free chilis, such as Amy’s Black Bean Low Fat Medium Chili.
How Long Does Vegan Chili Last?
Like all foods, you should always be careful how you handle them and how you store them. Homemade vegan chili is likely to be safe to eat for 3-4 days if stored in the fridge in an airtight container, and up to 2-3 months if stored in the freezer. Unopened ready-made plant-based chilis will keep in line with the expiration date on the packet.
Do Vegan Chilis Contain Preservatives?
The reality of commercially-made food products is that they may contain preservatives, as manufacturers aim to ensure that foods are of good quality by the time they reach you at home. That said, many vegan chili brands contain no preservatives at all, like Frontier Soup. Instead, Frontier Soup dehydrates the raw ingredients, which enables them to be preserved without any additives. Just check the labels or get in touch with the manufacturer, to be sure.
Are there Artificial Colors in Your Vegan Chili?
It’s no secret that the food industry pumps our food full of additional colors, both artificial and natural, to make our food seem more appealing. The simple reality is that the same goes for some vegan chili brands. However, at PlantX, we stock a wide range of plant-based chilis that either contain no added colors at all or only natural food coloring. Amy’s range of vegan chilis does not contain any added food coloring, like Amy’s Chili Light Sodium. But to be on the safe side, you should always check your labels.