This hearty vegan white bean "chicken" chili is made with jackfruit, which is a fabulous chicken substitute for chili, and it's guaranteed to fool your carnivorous friends. It's gluten-free, dairy-free, and meat-free with just the right amount of heat. Serve it with our easy vegan skillet cornbread or our homemade vegan biscuits.
Published on Jan. 29, 2015 and updated Feb. 8, 2021.
Easy White Bean Chili Recipe
Our vegetarian white bean chili recipe is so easy to make.
It's perfect for a simple fall or winter dinner, or to feed a crowd at your next football party.
Made with great northern white beans, onions, celery, peppers, garlic, savory spices, and jackfruit, it's full of wonderful flavors and texture.
What is Jackfruit and Why is it a Great Chicken Substitute?
Jackfruit is an exotic fruit that grows in tropical locations and can grow up to 100 pounds.
When it’s young (not ripe) it has a neutral flavor that makes it great for savory dishes.
Ripe jackfruit is sweet, so it's not suitable for savory dishes.
We buy canned jackfruit packed in water, not brine, to reduce the salt.
Because it has such a neutral flavor, it absorbs the flavors of the spices and marinades that you cook it in.
It's texture is similar to meat and it shreds like chicken and pork does.
Our BBQ shredded jackfruit is a dead ringer for pulled chicken or pork. Only nothing died from farm to table. Win-win!
What are the Benefits of Jackfruit?
Here are some of the benefits of jackfruit:
Low in calories
Good source of vitamins A, C, and potassium
A great way to get fiber.
Where Can You Buy Jackfruit?
You can find jackfruit in most Asian supermarkets, some Trader Joe's, some conventional supermarkets, or on Amazon.
We buy ours by the six pack on Amazon so we always have it available.
How to Make it
Start by sautéing the onion and celery. You know how good that smells!
Cook the onion and celery until the onion begins to look translucent.
Add the shredded jackfruit, jalapeno pepper, and the bell pepper and cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften.
Now add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
NOTE: SHRED THE JACKFRUIT WITH YOUR HANDS (OUR PREFERRED METHOD) OR WITH A KNIFE OR FOOD PROCESSOR.
Add the spices and the beans and stir into the vegetables until combined. Cook for 2 minutes.
This releases the oils in the spices for more flavor.
Add the no-chicken or vegetable broth and the water and stir to combine.
Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for approximately 2 1/2 hours, or until it thickens.
Stir often to avoid scorching.
Stir the Bob's Red Mill corn meal and water together and stir into the chili.
This will thicken the chili even more.
Salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in the fresh cilantro and serve with cubed avocado and squeeze of fresh lime juice.
How to Make it in a Slow Cooker
Although we prefer to cook the old fashioned way (on a stove), there are times when we can't watch over our food, so we make chili in a crockpot.
You can add all of the ingredients to the crockpot and turn it on, but for the best flavor, we suggest the following:
Saute the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, jackfruit, and the spices in a pan, as instructed for the conventional chili recipe.
Add the sauteed veggies and beans to the crockpot with the broth and water, and cover and cook on low for 3 to 5 hours or on high for 2 to 4 hours.
Add the cornmeal mixture and salt and pepper to taste, stir to combine. Cook for 15 minutes.
Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve hot.
- Make sure to sauté the onion, celery, and peppers until they're softened before adding the beans and water. This will develop the flavor and make the chili taste amazing.
- If you don't like a lot of spice, add it slowly, taste, and then add more as desired.
- Simmer the chili and stir it every fifteen to twenty minutes to avoid scorching the bottom of the chili.
- If you like a super thick chili, make sure to add the cornmeal according to the instructions.
More Vegan Chili Recipes You'll Love
Make our vegan white bean "chicken" chili recipe 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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VEGAN WHITE BEAN "CHICKEN" CHILI
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large Vidalia onion finely chopped
- 4 celery ribs finely chopped
- 1 yellow bell pepper seeds removed and chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper seeds removed and chopped
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 60 oz cans of Great Northern white beans drained and rinsed well
- 1 quart no-chicken or regular vegetable broth
- 3 to 5 cups water If you like a thick chili, start with 3 cups of water and add more as necessary.
- 3 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp ground sea salt or to taste
- 1 tsp dried ground oregano
- 1 tsp dried ground sage
- 1 tsp dried ground parsley
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 16 oz jackfruit in water Drained well and shredded (See Note)
- 1/4 cup cornmeal + 6 tablespoons of water stir until smooth
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- cubed avocado
- lime wedges
- Heat the 2 tbsp olive oil in a large stock pot on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and celery and cook until they begin to soften. Approximately 5 minutes.
- Add the jackfruit, bell and jalapeno peppers and cook for approximately 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir occasionally.
- Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the beans, the 3tbsp cumin, 1 tsp ground oregano, 1 tsp grounds sage, 1 tsp ground parsley, and 1/4 tsp white pepper, and stir. Cook for 2 minutes so the spices release their oil. This creates the best flavor.
- Add the 1 quart of broth, 3 to 5 (see note in ingredients) cups of water and stir until combined. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for approximately 2 1/2 hours, or until the liquid reduces and the chili thickens. Stir every 15 to 20 minutes to avoid scorching.
- Add the cornmeal and water mixture and salt and pepper to taste, stir well. Cook for another 15 minutes, or until the chili thickens. Add the cilantro and stir. Serve hot.