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!
My Favourite Vegan Chili
8 small servings
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.
- 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-ounce/796 mL) can diced tomatoes, with juices
- 1 cup (250 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
- 6 tablespoons (90 mL) tomato paste
- 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (14-ounce/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
- 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.
- Add the jalapeños, celery, and bell pepper and sauté for another 5 to 7 minutes or so, until softened.
- Now add the can of diced tomatoes (with the juice), broth, and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Increase heat to medium-high.
- 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.
- Add the cayenne and hot sauce to taste, if using. Taste and season with additional salt if desired.
- Serve with Cashew Sour Cream, chopped green onion, and cilantro leaves, if desired.
- * 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.
You had me at “sour cream.” Bless you. This is a great and easy meal, I can’t wait to try it!
As an update, I made this last night for a potluck and everyone thought it was amazing! The sour cream was a big hit, too! We didn’t have any chili powder and I’m kind of sensitive to heat, so we didn’t add that in, but the rest of the recipe stayed the same. Thanks!
You added the jalapeño but omitted the chili powder…?
this taste cashew like… better is to add rejuveniac then apple cider plus it needs powdered onion pepper or garlic to kill cashew taste
I don’t find the cashew sour cream tastes like cashew if you use raw cashews. Each to their own I guess. I add a little lime juice and salt and it’s perfect for me.
I never thought about recipes in that way! It does make cooking fun when you up the stakes of your recipe. Dairy free sour cream is what I need, and a nice hot bowl of chili is the ultimate comfort food! Now all I need is a blanket to curl up under! :)
Love the idea of the sour cream! I usually opt for thick all natural plain coconut yoghurt; the one we have here in Ireland is literally made with three ingredients and it’s so thick and creamy! I digress…yay for chilly! :)
What brand of yoghurt is it? The only brand I can find here is loaded with unnecessary ingredients. I’m always looking to see if I can get a hold of something better.
Mmm, chili! Definitely sounds good on a cold day like this!
I’m definitely making that sour cream. It’s the Mr’s favorite!
This is exactly what I need during all this snow! We just got the third big snow storm of the season. Spring cannot come soon enough!
I love chili, especially on stormy winter days like today! I love all the heat you have added to this recipe, I have never added a jalapeno to chili (no idea why!) so I’m excited to try it.
Even though I’m not vegan, I agree a good chili doesn’t have to have meat. It’s all about the seasonings and toppings. And what a great topping you have here with the vegan sour cream! SO creative! As far as the snow? It’s falling here in Burlington as I type with no signs of stopping. It’s been such a snowy winter!
oooh! I’m excited about the vegan sour cream. Can’t wait to try it. I love the looks of the chili, too. I’m hard pressed to find a chili I don’t like! Especially this time of year. :)
This chili looks so comforting and I really want to try the vegan sour cream. Regular sour cream is one of two reasons I stopped eating a completely vegan diet. It’s just so good! (And greek yogurt is a great substitute but still not vegan).
I already tried you chili with chia seeds and LOVED it, so can’t try to make this one :) Your idea of a vegan sour cream is pure genius :D Thank you for such a wonderful and versatile recipe!
how long would you say the sour cream stays fresh in the fridge? 3 or 4 days?
I’m not positive, but probably 1 week or so.
This looks delish! How long can you store the sour cream in the fridge for future use?
I’m not positive, but probably 1 week or so.
You must have read my mind as I was thinking of making some chilli tonight (it’s the right weather for it!) so I’ll definitely be trying this recipe out! xoxo
Would you believe I have NEVER tasted sour cream? Just didn’t come up at all in my diet when I was growing up. This chili looks heavenly and my stomach is rumbling as I’m typing… must get home quick and make this! xoxo
You are completing my life with that homemade sour cream up there!
Yum, I love a good chili! I eat it several times every winter. I’ve added sour cream to cauliflower soup before and it added a wonderful creaminess. I will definitely have to add sour cream to my chili!
I LOVE vegan chili. I love the taste and it fills me up..Plus I can tell my meat eating husband that it’s “soup” and he doesn’t even question if there’s meat ;-) I cant wait to try it out!
Vegan chili is one of my husband’s fave (he’s not vegetarian)–though I do add tvp to mine because he likes to “feel” like he’s getting the meat in there :)
The recipe for the sour cream sounds interesting. But does it have the same flavor of sour cream?
I love LOVE vegan sour cream! Ive been craving a baked potato with chili and sour cream lately! All vegan of course! This recipe looks splendid!
That sour cream is genius! I can’t wait to try it.
Love your favourite vegan chili combined with vegan sour cream. Does it not taste of cashews? I am curious! Love the clicks. Happy New Year to you and your family
Not at all, I have spicy taste buds but this is amazingly deceiving
You’re so right – chili is perfect for this week! Snow piled down on us again today… ick! I love freezing chili like you mentioned. There’s nothing like pulling a meal out of the freezer in the morning and it being ready for dinner that night.
I love your photography skills, they are fantastic! The Chilli looks so good I can’t wait to try it.Your sour cream sounds delish (: …my vegan daughter usually mixes Tofutti (soy product) with lemon juice to make our sour cream (also very good and simple to make) to top our vegan nachos with homemade refried beans!
Looks so delicious! The thing I always DISLIKE about chili is that often I find there’s too much sweetness to it when the cook is trying to cut the tomato acidity, but this sounds like the flavour combo would be just right.
This looks delicious! I just found out you can make a pretty good chili with nothing but canned beans, canned diced tomatoes and chilies, an onion, veggie broth and a bunch of seasoning slow cooked. I found this out because I ran out of everything else and wanted to buy an extra day before I went to the store, lol! Yours definitely looks better than mine with all the textures and frehsness though :)
— Alex at brainyGirlsBeauty.com
I was just thinking about how I haven’t made chili in a long time! Yours looks thick and delicious. Thanks!
I really have to applaud your use of natural ingrediants rather than relying on the processed “meat like” products. I am stuck at work becasue of snow and surfing through other vegan sites and I have to say I keep comming back to yours. I have made many of your reciepes and they haven’t let me down. Thank you for having so many recipes that stay to the natural side of vegan. :)
I do not presume to know your politics, but if women’s health care and reproductive rights are at all important to you, Eden is not the company to be supporting.
Whoa! What? I had no idea this was going on. Thanks for the link…just spent some time reading through all the articles. I will certainly be looking for other BPA-free canned goods now…
I stopped buying Eden brand many years back because of this.
It is so cold here and I can’t think of anything more comforting than a bowl of this chili!
Hehe my dad claims to have a ‘famous’ Caesar too! This sounds amazing, especially because of our ridiculous weather today! Thanks for the note about the BPA free canned goods. Lately I’ve been buying my beans raw and cooking them but it’s always nice to have a backup can on hand when you don’t have time! I’m going to look out for the tomato paste too since that’s something I think I’ve only ever seen in a carton!
Looks perfect for this weather! I’m definitely a vegan chili fan. Nothing better than something creamy and tangy on top to cut the spice. I usually make some guacamole, but this sour cream looks so good! Can’t wait to give it a go.
That’s so comforting and hearty and warm & cozy looking! I’d love a bowl! And way to rock the homemade sour cream! You go!
I love veggie chili! And I’m not a fan of sour cream, so this vegan sour cream recipes does look delicious!
Can you say “Dinner for tomorrow night!”? Looks delicious. Can’t wait to try it out. Thanks
Mmmm that chili looks delish! Quick question: how long will the sour cream last if I made a batch using your measurements?
I’m not positive, but probably 1 week or so.
This looks wonderful! Chili is one of my favorite winter dinners to come home to after one of my longer running workouts, or even better after my 17+ long runs. It is the perfect post run fuel and has helped my body begin the recovery process many times.
I usually use greek yogurt as sour cream due to the high protein content, but I love the idea of using cashews in your homemade sour cream! That sounds incredible!
You must have knew that there was an impending snow storm when you posted this ;) What perfect timing for a big bowl of chili!
I made the chili and the sour cream tonight for dinner. I added a couple things to the chili (diced mushrooms and a diced sweet potato) which created the need for another can of tomatoes. VERY yummy.
I wasn’t sure about the sour cream – when I smelt it (smelled it?) it had that sour smell but when I tried it on its own I could taste all the components. But then I added a lovely dollop to the top of the chili with some green onions and what a miraculous transformation – it tasted just like sour cream. AMAZING!!
So because of the extra inclusions we have some left overs… Yay! Can’t wait for lunch tomorrow. Thanks for yet another great recipe! Already shared it with some friends and family.
Hi Leigh, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for your feedback.
I should have mentioned it wasn’t just me who loved your chili and sour cream but everyone in our house loved it. Okay, all 3 of us give it 2 thumbs up and our cat who LOVES the smell of cumin for whatever reason became “kitchen cat” while it was cooking!
I made this last night, and was it AWESOME!
Happy to hear that Grace! Thanks for trying it out :)
Thanks for sharing this recipe! I made this last night. I only used one jalapeno, though, and added in some Boca crumbles and corn. It was a little spicy for my liking. but overall, I thought it was great. I’ll definitely be making this again – just with a little less heat.
This is a wonderful creamy recipe for vegan sour cream. I have made sweet cream with cashews but not a sour cream for enchiladas or chilies.
I pinned it so I will always have the recipe at my fingertips.
how long does the vegan sour cream last in refrigerator?
Im not positive but I would guess 1 week or so.
That looks delicious!! I make a versious on this, but I have never tried to make my own sour cream, can’t wait to try it out for dinner tonight!!
Oh wow!! This chili looks fantastic! I’ve recently decided to go vegetarian, so I’ll definitely be using this as it gets colder!
Made today for lunch. I added a chipotle pepper and done adobo sauce. Gave if a nice smoky taste. Yum!
The sour cream was delish! My mom even enjoyed it in our chili and she is a Dairy Queen! I recently dove into the vegan lifestyle and am sincerely enjoying cooking and tasting all these delicious flavors!
Me and my husband just got done eating this and it was awesome! I did leave out the heat so I can’t comment on that. The “sour cream” was amazing stirred into to soup. It seriously tasted like real sour cream mixed in. We aren’t vegan either, just trying to eat better so this review is for everyone…..not just eaters “used to” vegan food. This was awesome ! I also pre-ordered the cookbook and can’t wait until March!
Hey Sarah, So glad it was a hit! Thanks for your feedback. :)
I hope you enjoy the cookbook!
Have you ever tried making sour cream/yogurt by using water kefir grains. I just soak a cup of cashews overnight, blend them with a bit of water and then just throw in a teaspoon of water kefir grains and a bit of sugar. In about 12 hrs (I live in India) I get a really nice tangy probiotic yogurt. I have read that you can use water kefir grains only with water for them to grow and be strong, so I just discard these grains after making the yogurt. I also use excess grains for bread in place of commercial yeast turns out pretty awesome.
I haven’t yet, but I’ve been meaning to! Thanks for the tips :)
I made this tonight and my husband said this was the best tasting vegetarian chili he has ever had. I had a little trouble making the sour cream in my Vitamex. Would you recommend a hand blender to get a more creamy texture? Thanks for another fabulous recipe! Perfect for the cold weather.