This hearty vegan chili uses walnuts instead of meat for a filling, plant-based chili! It’s packed with tons of umami flavor, so you won’t miss the meat!

vegan chili in a white bowl

The cooler temperatures have finally arrived, and I love it. Obviously, the first thing you do when the weather cools down is make chili! I wanted a hearty and filling recipe, so I used walnuts to give this a meatier texture while keeping this totally vegan! I’m super happy with how this came out, and I have a feeling this recipe will be popping up a lot on our dinner table.

vegan chili in a white bowl

How to Give Vegan Chili a Meaty Flavor

Between the meaty walnuts and the umami from the soy sauce and tomato paste, I promise you won’t miss the meat in this recipe! Let me get a little science-y here. Soy sauce and tomato paste are both highly concentrated sources of glutamates, a type of amino acid that gives you that delightfully savory “meaty” taste. Finding other sources of glutamates can be great for meat-eaters who miss that savory flavor. That’s why this vegan chili delivers such a deliciously meaty flavor with plant-based ingredients!

chili in a dutch oven

Tips for Perfect Vegan Chili

  • Blending the first 5 ingredients in a food processor gives this chili a hearty, chunky base. It’s an easy way to turn walnuts into a meaty texture.
  • If you like things spicy, add the entire jalapeno (minus the stem), but if you want to keep this milder, remove the seeds and pith before adding to the food processor.
  • For even more flavor, use fire-roasted tomatoes instead of plain diced tomatoes.
  • The tomato paste adds additional umami flavor, but since this recipe only requires 1 tablespoon, I like getting tomato paste in a tube. You can squeeze out exactly what you need and keep the rest in the refrigerator for your next recipe!
tomatoes in a food processor

Blend the tomatoes in a food processor until chunky.

How to Make Vegan Chili in a Crockpot

If you want to make this recipe in a Crockpot, follow directions in steps 1-5 then transfer the onion mixture to your slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

Ready to dig into this chili?

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vegan chili in a bowl with chips

Hearty Vegan Chili

  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 Minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Dinner

Description

This hearty vegan chili uses walnuts instead of meat for a filling, plant-based chili! It’s packed with tons of umami flavor so you won’t miss the meat!


Scale

Ingredients

  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, roughly chopped
  • 1 28oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup water

Instructions

  1. In a food processor or blender, pulse the walnuts until finely chopped.
  2. Add the garlic, jalapeno, tomatoes, and soy sauce to the food processor and pulse 5-10 times until chunky. It should look like a finely chopped salsa.
  3. In a large pot or dutch oven, add the olive oil and onion.
  4. Cook the onion over medium heat for 6-8 minutes until translucent.
  5. Add the tomato paste and cumin and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add the tomato mixture, black beans, and kidney beans and stir to combine.
  7. Cook for 20-25 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
  8. If the chili gets too thick, add the water and continue to simmer.

Notes

Gluten Free Tips: If you want to keep this recipe gluten-free, be sure to use gluten free soy sauce or tamari.

Slow Cooker Directions: If you want to make this recipe in a Crockpot, follow directions in steps 1-5 then transfer the onion mixture to your slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

Keywords: Vegan Chili

 

 

Vegan Chili Toppings Suggestions

Serve with avocado, vegan shredded cheddar cheese, vegan sour cream, and tortilla chips! I like crumbling a few tortilla chips on top for some extra crunch. Alex topped his with avocado and cheese. You really can’t go wrong on the toppings!

vegan chili in a bowl with chips

Looking for something to serve on the side? Try a slice of this vegan beer bread!

6 ingredient beer bread

What’s your favorite fall dish?