Bowl of chili topped with green onions and sour cream surrounded by blue tortilla chips

Vegan Beef & Bean Chili

Chili = the ultimate comfort one-pot meal. With all of the robust flavor and meaty texture in our Vegan Beef & Bean Chili, this is a blue ribbon winner among plant-based eaters and non vegans.

Table of Contents

Comfort tastes like chili to me! A big pot simmering on the stove for hours is like a warm blanket waiting to envelop my taste buds with aromatic spices. It’s the meal that keeps on giving with its plentiful serving size, assuring future meals are just a reheat away; and the flavors only get better the longer it simmers on the stove.

 

I’ve created half a dozen chili recipes over the years. Some are fancy with unexpected ingredients like my BBQ Quinoa Chili. Others are protein packed like my 3 Bean Lentil Chili. (Get access to my full Vegan Dinner Club recipe library for less than $5). This classic version is my favorite.

Why I Love This Recipe

I am a traditionalist when it comes to chili. I crave the OG flavors: the tang of chunky tomatoes; the smokiness of the chipotle peppers; the creamy texture of the beans. No extra ingredients. No fancy special sauces. Just the good ‘ol flavors of a chili we all know and love.

 

If simple, one-pot meals are your thing, you’ll also love this no-fuss recipe that literally has two steps: 1. Brown the vegan beef and onions. 2. Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer.

 

If all of the above wasn’t enough, this recipe has also earned a spot on my recipe favorites list for its appeal with non vegans. The texture of the vegan beef completely mimics real beef, and the flavors completely mirror what you taste in the original meat version. They won’t believe it’s vegan. I promise! (For real, my friends and family didn’t notice a difference.)

What is Vegan Beef & Bean Chili?

According to Wikipedia, chili con carne, meaning “chili with meat”, is commonly referred to as chili and originated in northern Mexico as far back as the 1850s. It is a spicy stew containing chili peppers (or chili powder), meat (usually beef), tomatoes and beans (such as pinto or kidney). It often includes seasonings such as garlic, onions and cumin.

 

Many chilis also feature secret ingredients that take the stew to the next level such as cocoa powder, coffee or cinnamon. In this recipe, I chose beer (a light lager, to be exact) in place of water or vegetable stock to add malty flavor to the broth that doesn’t take away from the smokiness of the chipotle pepper or Liquid Smoke.

 

No matter what combination of ingredients you use, all chilis contain the following:

  • Complex chile flavor that balances a combination of sweet, bitter, hot, fresh, and fruity components (Oh yeah! That’s what I’m talking about.)
  • Robust “meaty” flavor (without the meat, of course – wink, wink)
  • If it has beans, they are tender, creamy and whole (no mashed or refried beans here!)
  • A thick, red sauce composes the base of the broth

Ingredients & Substitutions for Vegan Beef & Bean Chili

Vegan beef

Use any store-bought or homemade plant-based “ground round.” This one is my pick.

Onions

You can’t have stroganoff without mushrooms! These are sliced and caramelized with the tempeh to add lots of earthy flavor.

Beans

I use a combination of red kidney beans and pinto beans. Black beans also work well in this recipe.

Tomatoes

I used a combination of diced and crushed for this recipe. The crushed add depth to the red sauce, while the diced add texture.

Assortment of spices

I created my own spice blend, including garlic salt, onion powder, paprika, cumin, chipotle chili powder, salt and pepper. Alternatively, you could swap your favorite store-bought chili seasoning mix.

Beer

I used a light lager to add malt flavor to the robust red sauce. Adjust the flavor profile depending on the type of beer you choose.

Liquid Smoke

For extra smokiness, I used this one to enhance this flavor profile in the chili.

Substitutions

In the case of a soy allergy, use a soy free beef alternative or a soy free tempeh such as black bean or chickpea that can be crumbled.

Make it homemade-ish by swapping the spices with a store-bought chili seasoning mix.

How to Make Vegan Beef & Bean Chili

  1. Cook the onions and vegan beef.

    Saute them together for about 10 minutes until the onions are translucent and the beef is browned.

  2. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer.

    Stir the remaining ingredients into the pot. Cover and allow the flavors to simmer together for at least an hour.

  3. Serve with toppings.

    To serve, set out your favorite chili toppings, such as chopped red onion, cilantro, vegan sour cream, shredded cheese, or green onions.

Meal Prep & Storage Tips

Prep Ingredients in Advance: Chop and store the onions in advance. If not using canned beans, pre-soak and cook them ahead of time. If using textured vegetable protein (TVP) as a beef substitute, hydrate it beforehand.

Batch it up! Prepare a large batch of Vegan Beef & Bean Chili to last for several meals. It can be stored for 3 months inair-tight containers such as Souper Cubes.

What to Serve with Vegan Beef & Bean Chili

Cornbead

  • This is the quintessential combo, adding sweet and savory taste that complements the spiciness of the chili.

Avocado Salad

  • A refreshing avocado salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and cilantro provides a cool contrast to the warmth and spiciness of the chili. Drizzle it with a lime vinaigrette for extra flavor.

Guacamole and tortilla chips

  • Yes, please! The more avocados, the merrier. Pair them with crispy tortilla chips for lots of crunch.

Simple green salad

  • Dress gem lettuces with olive oil and vinegar for an easy and delicious way to add some greens to the meal.

FAQs

What are common meat substitutes for the "beef" in Vegan Beef & Bean Chili?

Popular plant-based ground meat brands include Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, and Gardein. Tempeh, a fermented soy product is also a great option that provides hearty, nutty flavor and a firm texture. Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is another alternative. For a whole foods option, use chopped or minced mushrooms.

Can I use canned beans?

Absolutely! Drain and rinse them before adding them to the pot.

How can I make Vegan Beef & Bean Chili less spicy?

Reduce the amount of chipotle chili powder to balance the heat level.

Can I freeze leftover chili?

Yes, store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Can I prep the chili in advance?

Yes, prep the chili up to 3 days in advance. If prepping ahead further, freeze in an airtight container. Thaw in the fridge overnight before the day you plan to serve. Reheat on the stove.
@thestephaniedreyer Comfort tastes like chili to me! A big pot simmering on the stove for hours is like a warm blanket waiting to envelop my taste buds with aromatic spices. It’s the meal that keeps on giving with its plentiful serving size, assuring future meals are just a reheat away; and the flavors only get better the longer it simmers on the stove. I’ve created half a dozen chili recipes over the years but this Vegan Beef & Bean Chili is my favorite. So much so that I’m bringing a big batch to my bestie’s house for the Super Bowl. It’s a blue ribbon winner among plant-based eaters and non vegans. #veganchili #veganrecipes #chilirecipes #vegandinners #vegandinnerclub #veganinanonveganfamily #onepotmeals ♬ Meek Mill style trap beat(1175802) - Invis!ble Cats
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Vegan Beef & Bean Chili


  • Author: Stephanie Dreyer
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Chili = the ultimate comfort one-pot meal. With all of the robust flavor and meaty texture in our Vegan Beef & Bean Chili, this is a blue ribbon winner among plant-based eaters and non vegans.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 lb vegan beef (such as Beyond Meat)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 15oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15oz can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 24oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 12 Tbsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp Liquid Smoke (mesquite)
  • 1 bottle beer (such as lager)

Instructions

  1. Saute the onion and beef: In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, add the vegan beef and onion. Cook over medium heat, stirring and breaking up clumps until the meat is browned and the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients: Stir to combine and reduce the heat to low. Simmer covered for at least 1 hour.

Notes

  • Batch it up! Vegan Beef & Bean Chili can be stored in an air-tight container in the freezer for 3 months.
  • For non vegans: Swap ground beef for vegan beef. 
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 70 minutes
  • Category: Soups & Stews
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: chili, vegan chili, vegan beef and bean chili

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