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Vegan Chili

Can you believe how fast time flies? It was 4 years ago — almost to the day — that I was rubbing elbows with Joey Fatone, cooking my vegan chili for the TV show My Family Recipe Rocks! I’ve been cooking this recipe for almost 17 years now! Back in 2000, a good friend of mine made it especially for me, knowing I was a vegetarian. (SO KIND!) I was ecstatic to be able to eat chili again!

Sure, nowadays being vegetarian or vegan isn’t so difficult; but back in 2000 or the late 90’s?

Yikes. SLIM pickin’s! There was ONE brand of soy crumbles and most people curled their nose at the mention of “vegetarian chili”. That is… until they tried it.

Over the years, I’ve converted my friends’ recipe a bit, modifying it to my changing tastes and using various protein choices – since there are now so many! This recipe is really easy to make your OWN. You can change the spice level, you can use your favorite meatless protein source and it will always turn out amazing.

my family recipe rocks vegan chili

Its even won “Best Vegetarian Chili” twice at work events! Even the hearty meat eaters, who swear by meat-based chili enjoy my meat-free, vegan chili. (The word “vegan” tends to scare some people off, so I sometimes say vegetarian instead. LOL)

vegan chili my family recipe rocks

Vegan Chili
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Average: 4.5/5
4 ratings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 16 cups (8 Servings)

Serving Size: 2 cups

Vegan Chili


Prepare spices first in a small dish and set aside.

1 TBSP. chili powder (or less if you want it less spicy)

1 TBSP. dried basil

1 TBSP. dried oregano

1 TBSP. ground cumin

1 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. Real salt

Main ingredients

2.5 cups homemade seitan

(or other protein; I sometimes add cooked quinoa, Soyrizo is great too)

2 medium onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, pressed

3 - 26.46 oz. containers of chopped Pomi tomatoes*

1 - 7 oz. can tomato paste

1-2 yellow and/or sweet bell peppers, seeds removed and chopped

2 - 15 oz. cans dark red kidney beans drained**

*I avoid using canned tomato products due to BPA lining. You can also use fresh tomatoes - 12 romas and 6 large beefsteak, diced with seeds removed, add 1 c. water to pot.

**I like to buy these BPA free or in paper containers too.


    1. In a large stock pot on medium heat add chopped onions and a couple tablespoons of water. Stir well and let cook for 2-3 minutes.

    2. Add pressed garlic, stir well and cook until the onions start to become transparent.

    3. Add desired protein (seitan, soyrizo, soy crumbles - whatever you prefer) and stir well.

    4. Add all of the spices and stir well until combined.

    5. Add chopped tomatoes and stir. Add tomato paste and stir well until combined.

    6. Keep on low to medium heat while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Remember to stop and stir the chili once or twice to avoid scorching or overheating on the bottom.

    7. Drain and rinse kidney beans, add to pot and stir.

    8. Prepare sweet peppers by removing seeds and chopping into small pieces, then add to pot and stir.

    9. Let simmer for at least one hour, on low heat, stirring every 20 minutes. I set a timer after each stir, so I don't forget!

    10. It freezes great and tastes even better when reheated.This is GREAT with cornbread or tortilla chips, we've topped it with everything from vegenaise, to cashew cream to Daiya Jalapeño Havarti.

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Have you made this chili recipe yet? If so, comment below or rate it above! Thank you!

vegan chili my family recipe rocks

Looking for my other recipes featured on My Family Recipe Rocks?

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Acorn Squash Stuffed with Chili

I whipped up this recipe tonight when I realized I didn’t have a can of great northern beans in the pantry like I thought! My dinner plans took a swift turn into chili-land when I decided dark red kidney beans went best with acorn squash. (I mean really, my other choices were black beans and garbanzo. No. Brainer. Although now that I think of it… the black beans could have worked too! Hmmmm… another day.) Anyway, this was quick to put together and the chili is a smaller, similar take on my “famous” Vegetarian/Vegan Chili.

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This dish can serve 2-4 depending if you serve it with sides or not.

2 small acorn squash, cut in half and seeds removed

1 – 15 oz. can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 c. onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, pressed
1/4 c. red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 c. yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 fresh tomato on the vine, chopped and seeds removed
1 – 6 oz. can tomato paste
12 oz. water (use the tomato paste can to measure to get out the extra!)
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375°F

Fill a 12″x9″ baking pan with water until it’s a 1/4″ deep. Place the prepared acorn squash face down in the water and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes; or until a fork easily pokes through the outer skin.

While the squash is cooking you can prepare the chili. I did mine all in one medium saucepan, on medium heat. Heat the olive oil in the saucepan until it gets that awesome olive oil smell. Add the onions and garlic and stir well, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Once it comes to a boil (you may have to turn up the heat, depending on your pan to get it to boil), reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

By this time your squash should be ready. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for about 5-10 minutes before handling, or use a spatula to transfer to a plate or bowl. Fill the center of the acorn squash with chili, serve and enjoy! I’m actually eating it right now as I type up this post! It turned out well! I like that the acorn squash balances out the spice of the chili. I’m not a spicy food lover, but I can take a little kick. 😉