Don’t be intimidated by the length of the ingredients list in this one pot, easy vegan chili! Chili is one of the most forgiving foods in the culinary world, and if the thought of chopping this many vegetables sends you down a rabbit hole anxiety, don’t worry about it. Buy pre-chopped. Buy frozen. Keep a jar of already minced garlic in your refrigerator. I’m certainly not going to judge you. This is a safe, lazy, space. I promise.
This chili also has a secret: it causes those eating it to burst out into spontaneous, delighted laughter. No joke.
This first iteration of this recipe came into existence when I was eight years old. My mother was entering a chili making contest and I, a stubborn new vegetarian at the time, insisted on helping her come up with the recipe. That being said, I was the pickiest eight year old on the planet and refused to actually taste the chili I assisted in concocting.
Suffice it to say, we did not win.
Since expanding my palate beyond that of a child, I’ve attempted to tweak and test and cajole this recipe into the ultimate vegan chili. However, going off of my mother’s old index cards was not the simplest task. Her recipe, impossible to decipher. It led to many conversations like this:
“Mom, did you always put coffee in the chili?”
“And does this really say soy sauce?”
To my mother, cooking is one of those things that does not need to be written down, to be commemorated on a 4×6 index card. She feels each recipe anew every time she goes into the kitchen to cook. Though, whether that is out of a love of the art or the feeling of being too lazy to get the index cards down from the top shelf of the cabinet is anybody’s guess.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, does it?
In my desire for simple recipes, I grew self conscious over this chili. Were there too many ingredients? Would people not want to make it? All of that went away the first time I served this iteration of the recipe to my husband.
One bite. No words.
Two bites. Still no words.
Three bites, he started giggling. Giggling.
When I asked him why, his only response was “it’s just so good.”
Make your loved ones laugh with joy. Make them this chili.
Easy, One Pot Vegan Chili
Inspired by Mom. Tweaked and edited for 10+ years by me.
- large stock pot OR cast iron skillet
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onion coarsely chopped (1 medium onion)
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1-2 cups mushrooms sliced (1 8oz package, I used white mushrooms, but you can use creminis or another variety)
- 1 cup carrot chopped small (2 large carrots)
- 1 cup celery chopped small (3-4 medium celery stalks)
- 2 tablespoons jalapeno pepper diced finely (1 small jalapeño)
- 1 cup sweet bell pepper chopped small (3/4-1 medium pepper), any color
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 28- oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 15- oz cans kidney beans
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 cup brewed coffee
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 package of vegan beef crumbles (Gardein and Beyond Meat are my favorite brands)
- Saute the onions in the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Once the onions have become slightly translucent, add the red wine and continue to cook the onions until soft.
- Add the mushrooms, carrot, celery, jalapeno, bell pepper, and garlic. Stir frequently for five minutes. If using vegan beef crumbles, you can add them here.
- Pour in the broth, soy sauce, coffee, peanut butter, and stir until the peanut butter has dissolved.
- Add remaining spices and stir.
- Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 2-3 hours.
Decide to make this easy vegan chili? Take a picture and tag me on Instagram @kettleandkale. Make any tweaks? Let me know in the comments below!