Meat-Free Monday: Vegan Chili that’s Actually Good

We threw a surprise birthday party for my boss, because she is awesome, and because she is always watching out for us. And those of you who have worked for someone else can attest to how rare and valuable that is.

The theme of the party was Autumn Adventure.  We had hot mulled cider, apple slices with caramel for dipping, and,  for the main course, chili.

Our resident foodie brought white chicken chili,  and I’m told it was good. I brought veggie chili. I felt a lot of pressure, since If never cooked veggie chili before and it had to be good enough for non-vegans AND “birthday party good.”

I spent several days researching my recipe. I  must have read 15 or more vegan chili recipes, looking for trends, commonalities,  and ingredients that would fit our southern palates.

It was a success! I made a spicy chili and a mild chili, and the spicy chili really had that traditional red chili taste. By the end of the party, the spicy chili was gone.

I also received several compliments and requests for the recipe, which I’ll also share here:

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/4 large red onion
  • 1/2 cup carrots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 large stalk celery
  • 1/2 (15 ounce) can corn kernels
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced chilis
  • 1 each (15 ounce) can white beans, black beans, pintp beans
  • 2 packets McCormick mild chili seasoning
  • Olive oil
  • Chili powder
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Paprika
  • Tobasco pepper sauce
  • Optional: cumin
  • Optional: masa flour

For mild chili, omit the diced chilis and use only 1 packet of mild chili seasoning.


  1. Dice all the vegetables, including the garlic
  2. Sautee the vegetables on medium heat in olive oil 5 to 10 minutes to release their flavor.
  3. Stir in tomato sauce, chilis, seasoning packets, and 1 tablespoon Tobasco
  4. Stir in corn kernels and beans
  5. Simmer 30 minutes, tasting regularly and adding seasonings to taste. I added quite a lot of chili powder, Tobasco, and crushed red pepper. Your mileage may vary.

You can top it off you want,  and the leftovers make a good burrito filling … if you have any leftovers.

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