Here’s how to make a delicious vegan chili, step by step.
Tricks for Making the Best Chili
Start with a robust flavor base. Sauteing chopped vegetables draws out a sweet, rich flavor that will infuse the other ingredients.
Build flavor in the canned tomatoes. Instead of using plain canned tomatoes, grab a spiced variety. Mexican-style stewed tomatoes add a kick to the stew.
Add sweetness. Chili is known for its rich, spicy flavors. Add a sweet vegetable to balance the flavor profile. In this recipe, corn gives a fresh, sweet crunch.
How to Make Vegan Chili
- 1 medium green pepper, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) Mexican-style stewed tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (11 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
- 2-1/2 cups water
- 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Step 1: Saute aromatics
First up, build a flavor base for the sauce. In a Dutch oven, warm a tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Saute onion, green pepper and garlic until tender.
Editor’s Tip: For extra sweetness, you can caramelize the onion. Cook the onion on its own over low heat until it’s tender and golden. After the onion is fairly soft, add the green pepper and garlic, which only take a few moments to cook.
Step 2: Stew the chili
Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Bring the liquid to boil, and then immediately lower the heat and cover the pot. Allow the chili to simmer for about 20 or 25 minutes, until the rice is tender.
Step 3: Adjust for flavor and thickness
As it cooks, some liquid will be absorbed; add water for a soupier chili, or don’t add anything if you like a thicker, saucier chili.
When the chili’s finished to your liking, taste it for seasoning. Add extra salt or spice as needed. Chili also loves toppings: vegan sour cream or cheese are obvious winners, as are crumbled tortilla chips, chopped parsley or cilantro or a dash of vinegar to add brightness.