My Favourite Vegan Chili with Homemade Sour Cream

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on February 5, 2014


I grew up helping my dad make his “famous” chili for special occasions like Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. If there was a holiday party going down you can be sure his chili was the main event (often paired with his “famous” Caesar salad and garlic bread – his 3 staple recipes that we ate time and time again). A love of chili is definitely in my blood and rarely does a winter go by when I don’t make a couple batches of it. Of course, my versions are free of animal products, but I can promise you they are just as tasty as the originals (you can also find my version of Caesar salad in my cookbook, by the way).

I have a couple chili recipes on the blog already, but this one is my favourite by far. I see recipes as works in progress; I’m always tweaking and improving the flavour and the method each time I make them. A recipe is never the final word even if it feels that way at the time. Isn’t that what makes cooking fun? I think so. Plus, it gives me a chance to try and improve upon the last batch of photos!

This time I served the chili with a homemade vegan sour cream and now I can’t believe that I’ve been eating my chili without it for all this time. It’s like a creamy ribbon of heaven dispersed throughout the bowl, taking a bit of edge off the spices. Where have you been all my life?

I’m always asked about recipes that freeze well and chili is definitely one of them to prepare in bulk and freeze. It’s also packed with protein and fibre so you really don’t need to serve it with much else if you don’t have time. Sometimes just a crusty roll or crackers will do. It’s a meal that leaves you feeling satisfied for hours and hours.

If you are like us and caught in winter’s wrath yet again this week (nooooooo!), I hope this dish brings you the comfort it’s brought us during this snow storm. Stay warm!



4.9 from 39 reviews

My Favourite Vegan Chili

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free


Hearty, satisfying, and veggie-packed, this vegan chili will leave you feeling full for hours. I recommend pairing it with a big scoop of my Cashew Sour Cream for the ultimate chili experience.

8 small servings
Prep time
Cook time


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups (280 g) diced sweet onion (about 1 medium/large)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 4 large cloves)
  • 2 medium jalapeños (80 g), seeded (if desired) and finely chopped
  • 1 cup (115 g) finely chopped celery (about 2 large stalks)*
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced**
  • 1 (28-oz/796 mL) can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 1 cup (250 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 6 tablespoons (90 mL) tomato paste
  • 1 (15-oz/398 mL) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-oz/398 mL) can pinto or navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
  • Cashew Sour Cream
  • Chopped green onions
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. In a large pot, sauté the onion and the garlic in the oil over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and stir.
  2. Add the jalapeños, celery, and bell pepper and sauté for another 5 to 7 minutes or so, until softened.
  3. Now add the can of diced tomatoes (with the juice), broth, and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Increase heat to medium-high.
  4. Add the drained and rinsed beans, along with the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt. Simmer the mixture, uncovered, until thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Add the cayenne and hot sauce to taste, if using. Taste and season with additional salt if desired.
  6. Serve with Cashew Sour Cream, chopped green onion, and cilantro leaves, if desired.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size 1 of 8 small bowls | Calories 180 calories | Total Fat 4 grams
Saturated Fat 0 grams | Sodium 390 milligrams | Total Carbohydrates 28 grams
Fiber 10 grams | Sugar 8 grams | Protein 8 grams

Nutrition info is based on 8 servings.
* Nutrition data is approximate and is for informational purposes only.


  • * I recommend finely chopping the celery so it cooks faster.
  • ** Try swapping the raw red pepper for jarred roasted red pepper. It makes the flavour simply out of this world!
  • A few of my go-to jarred or canned bean and tomato products are as follows: For canned beans I buy Eden Organics, for canned diced tomatoes I buy Ontario Natural Food Co-op, and for tomato paste I try to buy it in a glass jar whenever possible (Bioitalia is one brand I use). I try to buy glass jars for tomato sauces and pureés too.


Click here for the Cashew Sour Cream recipe.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

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Rachel March 29, 2018 at 5:24 pm

I made this for a chili cook-off at work and won the vegetarian/vegan category! People really liked the addition of cilantro on top and said it tasted “very fresh.”


Angela (Oh She Glows) March 29, 2018 at 7:45 pm

Hey Rachel, That’s so fun!!! We just had it for dinner a couple nights ago. I love the cashew cream served on top. Thanks for sharing :)


Emily March 29, 2018 at 10:32 pm

Love this recipe!! I add a can of corn and serve it over Fritos. Thanks!!


Angela (Oh She Glows) March 30, 2018 at 9:20 am

Thanks Emily! So happy you love it :)


Karen April 10, 2018 at 7:47 pm
Recipe Rating:

Excellent vegan chili. I up the umami by adding 1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder (unsweetened, obviously), and I substitute beer for the stock. Any beer will do, including gluten free, or near-beer. This tends to pacify the meat-eaters.
If you have small persons, or those who don’t like heat, halve the chili powder to start (some are very hotter) and served the diced jalapeños as a topping.
I leave out the tomato paste, and thicken by smushing the beans with a potato-masher near the end. Another traditional thickener is corn meal–add one tablespoon and then wait, though, because it takes a few minutes to thicken.


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 16, 2018 at 7:49 am

Hey Karen, I love all of your tips and tricks! Thanks you so much for sharing.


Jasmine April 21, 2018 at 12:00 pm
Recipe Rating:

This is my go-to chili recipe, its absolutely gorgeous!! I add sweetcorn and kale right at the end too. Very yummy, thanks!


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 22, 2018 at 6:25 am

Thank you Jasmine, I’m so happy you love it!


Marissa April 23, 2018 at 9:36 am
Recipe Rating:

I loved this recipe so much! I am not strictly vegan but love the idea of cutting out meat products when I can. I only did 1 tsp of chili powder instead of 2 tbsp and I thought that was a perfect amount of spice (seriously still very spicy! I think 2 tbsp would be too much…). Delicious and will definitely make again.


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 23, 2018 at 10:25 am

Thanks for your review…so glad it was enjoyed!


stephanie May 12, 2018 at 11:38 am

i make this alot! thank you for sharing your recipe i will always keep making this


Dawn May 19, 2018 at 8:14 pm
Recipe Rating:

Every recipe I’ve tried is simply amazing! Thank you so much! I’m not vegan or even vegetation but love trying new foods and am trying to eat a bit healthier. My daughter has become “almost” vegetarian and I plan to make several of your recipes when she visits. Two of my favorites are your vegan chili with the cashew sour cream. So yummy!


Angela (Oh She Glows) May 25, 2018 at 9:25 am

Thank you so much Dawn…I’m so happy to hear that!


Tonia July 18, 2018 at 10:03 pm

I made his tonight and it was very good! We ate it with vegan chili! Yum!!! My 11 year old had 2 and wanted a 3rd!!


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 19, 2018 at 11:52 am

So glad to hear that Tonia!


Tammy Hershberger July 23, 2018 at 2:41 pm

OMGosh, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For two HUGE things! I follow Weight Watchers, and am not vegan. But tonight I am taking supper to a co-worker with a fractured ankle who does follow a vegan diet, so #1: I am THRILLED to have found this easy, I-don’t-need-any-crazy-ingredients-that-I’ll-never-use-again recipe to make for her! And #2: THANK YOU for a recipe that prints in BLACK! I can’t TELL you how many recipes I print for my eating plan that print in GRAY! Even though I have my printer set on black-cartridge-only, they still print in pale gray! I have to copy and paste 95% to a Word document to print so they’re black, and I can SEE them! Thank you, you made. my. day!


Angela (Oh She Glows) July 24, 2018 at 7:56 am

Aww so happy to hear this Tammy! Thank YOU for your kind words and for trying it out :)


Andy August 20, 2018 at 4:09 pm

Love this chilli!
How would I do it in the slow cooker?
If I use dried beans, do I only need to soak them or should I soak and cook the beans before putting in the slow cooker?


Angela (Oh She Glows) September 4, 2018 at 3:57 pm

Hey Andy, I think it should work in the slow cooker using pre-cooked beans (I would add them near the end of cooking). I’m not sure about using soaked uncooked beans though! Sorry about that. If using a slow cooker, I would saute the onion, garlic, and pepper on the stovetop first to ensure they get nice and soft before adding to a slow cooker. I hope this helps. :) I’d love to hear how it goes!


Jenna Dunn October 6, 2018 at 12:29 pm

This sounds so delicious just like the rest of your recipes that I’m going to make it for the family tomorrow. I was wondering if it would work well with quinoa added to it. If so, how much would you think?


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 6, 2018 at 1:06 pm

I think you could definitely add cooked quinoa at the end, but I’m not sure about adding it at the start (uncooked). I think 1 cup cooked would be awesome. Would love to hear what you try out!


stephanie October 12, 2018 at 9:55 am

I will always keep making this :) thank you so much for sharing these are the only chili beans i LOVE <3


Kary Raetsen October 28, 2018 at 8:20 pm

This is my favourite recipe of the year! It’s phenomenal and I can’t seem to get enough of it! Adding the Frank’s hot sauce and a cup of red lentils have really added to it! Thank you for all your work, this site is my number one go to for vegan recipes!


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 29, 2018 at 6:00 am

Hi Kar, I love your additions of hot sauce and red lentils..I bet the lentils give it a great texture. Thanks so much for your kind words about my recipes too! Really happy to hear how much you love them.


Shana November 13, 2018 at 10:30 am
Recipe Rating:

Transitioning my family over to vegan has been such a breeze, thanks to you! They all feared they would be eating raw carrots and broccoli for the rest of their lives, and to be honest, I was too. You have made this an easy transition because of recipes like this one. Thank you 🙏🏻


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 15, 2018 at 8:40 am

Thank you so much for your kind words Shana! I’m so happy to hear this :)


Victoria November 15, 2018 at 9:45 pm

Did you measure the amount of diced onions you used after you cut them? I measured out two cups of diced onions but it took me two onions instead of one to get there and now I’m afraid I’m going to add too much onion :/ should I just add one onion or all two cups of onions?


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 16, 2018 at 2:59 pm

Hey Victoria, I use 2 cups of diced onion. The onion size is just a guide! :)


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