Fool Them All with Hearty Vegetarian Chili

On several occasions, I've served this chili to meat eaters who were unaware that this was a vegetarian dish. Every time, they said they absolutely loved it (and were also surprised to find out it did not contain meat). I can still recall the incredulous look on a relative's face after he had just helped himself to a third bowl and was then told that this was totally free of animal products.

This satisfying chili has also been a perennial favorite amongst my weight loss clients, as it feels like you’re eating something quite rich when you are not. This recipe is from my first book, Radiant Health, Inner Wealth.

Hearty Vegetarian Chili
2 tablespoons oil (olive, coconut, or sunflower)
2 small-medium onions, chopped
2 cups vegan burger crumbles (such as Boca brand)
2 cups liquid vegan broth
2 cans (15 oz. each) red kidney or pinto beans, with juice (not drained)
2 cans (14.5 oz. each) diced tomatoes, with juice (not drained)
6 tablespoons chili powder (use a blended chili powder mix, not ground chilies)
¼ cup tamari, shoyu, or soy sauce
10 (yes, ten!) medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons each: organic sugar (or sucanat) and balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sea salt (or less if you prefer)

1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, sauté the onions and crumbles in the oil until the onions begin to soften. If necessary, add a little of the broth to prevent sticking.

2. Add everything else (except for the salt) and stir well to combine.

3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, until the mixture is thick and the desired consistency is attained. This should take about 30-45 minutes.

4. Stir in the sea salt and serve. Laugh silently to yourself if your guests begin to comment on the best beef chili they’ve ever eaten.

Serves 8; GF/Green


  1. Hey Tess! That is a beautiful bowl of chili! I'm trying this one for sure. Do I really need that much chili powder though? It kind of scares me, but maybe I just don't understand the blend of spices;)

  2. Yes, that's the correct amount, Stella! I know it seems like a lot, but it's been tested many times & is a "tried and true" recipe as is. Hope you enjoy it! :-)

  3. p.s. Just make sure you're using "chili powder" and not powdered chilies, which are just straight chilies that have been ground up. The correct kind should have a mix of chilies & other spices.

  4. This looks absolutely delicious! I love vegetarian chili and I love garlic, so I will surely be trying this out. Thanks for the post!

  5. Made this tonight. I thought it was too sweet until I remembered I'd forgotten the salt at the end. That balanced out the sweetness nicely. Pretty darned good recipe.

  6. I made this chili for lunch today, along with a salad. Like another poster, I was a bit nervous about the chili powder but decided to trust the recipe. :) It was REALLY good!!! Definitely a repeat meal! Thanks for sharing!