Hearty Vegetarian Chili Con Carne! This is the kind of chili that will satisfy everyone at your table.
Football, apple and pumpkin picking, and bonfires are all back in season in the Northern Hemisphere. That means that you’re going to want a big pot of chili warming on your stove to celebrate your favorite team, to feed your soul after a day of running through orchards, and to keep you even warmer on a chilly night in front of a roaring fire.
These kinds of activities warrant thick and hearty, spicy and bold, meaty and chewy chili that doesn’t have one bit of meat in it.
This oil-free vegetarian chili recipe is reminiscent of chili con carne. If you’ve been a veg head for as long as I’ve been, you might not remember what that tastes like. If you still eat meat, you might be skeptical. I get it, and I promise that this easy and hearty chili recipe will jog your memory and satisfy the most persnickety chili connoisseur.
WHY CAULIFLOWER IS A GREAT MEAT ALTERNATIVE
There’s only one vegetable that can take your chili from almost thick and meaty to, whoa, are you sure there isn’t meat in this chili? That magical ingredient is cauliflower.
Before you cauliflower haters slam the door on me, hear a woman out. When simmered in tomatoes, chili powders, cumin, and other spices, the only part of the cauliflower that you’re going to notice is its texture, and that texture is similar to ground meat.
You won’t taste it, unless you’re a supertaster. If you’re a supertaster who hates cauliflower, then I’m sorry, this isn’t for you. If you’re not one of those people, then you seriously need to try this hearty vegetarian chili con carne.
HOW TO MAKE MEATLESS CHILI CON CARNE
This is the easiest chili recipe. You can make it harder by using fresh tomatoes, which means removing the skins and seeds and finely chopping them, but why would you? You can also use soaked and cooked dried beans if you prefer. In that case I’d suggest using only kidney beans so you don’t have to soak three different types of beans. Also, if you prefer to make chili in a crock-pot, I encourage you to sauté the onion, pepper, cauliflower, and garlic in a pan before adding them to the pot.
STEP ONE – Sauté the onion, jalapeno, cauliflower, and garlic on low heat for approximately 5 to 8 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent. If the vegetables begin to stick to the pan add a few tablespoons (30 ml) of water to deglaze the pan. If you want to cook them in oil use 1 tbsp (15 ml).
STEP TWO– Add the tomatoes, water, beans, spices, vegan Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaf and stir until completely combined. Bring to a boil.
STEP THREE – Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for at least three hours. Stir frequently to prevent scorching. When ready, the chili will be thick, not watery.
Top the chili with shredded vegan cheddar cheese, chopped onions, chopped fresh tomatoes, guacamole, or whatever you like on your chili.
Make this and let us know what you think. We love to hear from you! And, don’t forget to take a picture of your gorgeous creation and tag us @veganosity on Instagram.
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HEARTY VEGETARIAN CHILI CON CARNE
- 1 tbsp avocado oil (optional)
- 1 large red onion finely diced
- 1 medium cauliflower stem removed and finely chopped
- 1 large jalapeno pepper seeds removed and finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 26 oz. crushed tomatoes
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups kidney beans, see note
- 2 cups black beans
- 2 cups light red kidney beans
- 3 tbsp ground chili powder
- 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp (5 g) ground cumin
- 2 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (we us Annie’s brand)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp ground sea salt, or more if desired
- Black pepper to taste
- Shredded vegan cheese
- Diced onion
- Diced tomato
- Guacamole or avocado slices
- In a large dutch oven/chili pot, heat the oil (optional) and sauté the onion, jalapeno, and cauliflower on medium-low heat until the onion is soft and translucent. Approximately 5 to 8 minutes. If you opt out of the oil, dry cook the veggies and add 1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 g) of water to deglaze the pan if they stick. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Don’t let the garlic burn or you’ll end up with a bitter chili.
- Add the tomato, water, beans, spices, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, salt and pepper and stir to completely combine. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook uncovered for at least three hours, or until thick and hearty. Stir frequently to avoid scorching the bottom.
- Top with your favorite topping.