Vegan Chili: 12 Answers You Need to Know!

Are you making a batch of vegan chili, or you’re thinking of whipping up a plant-based chili and you’ve got a couple of questions?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Chili can absolutely be vegan and it can be just as tasty as its carnivorous alternative.

In this article, we’ll break down the most common questions about vegan chili and give you all the answers so you can make a delicious batch of vegan chili in no time.

Let’s dive in!

1. What Is Vegan Chili Made Of?

Vegan chili is one of the most delicious plant-based meals you can eat. While you might think it’s not the same without meat, this couldn’t be further from the truth!

Plant-based chili can be just as flavorful (if not more) than “regular” meat-filled chili. With the right ingredients and spices, you can make a yummy batch of vegan chili. 

Here are the most common ingredients in vegan chili:

  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Red bell pepper
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Water or vegetable broth

2. What to Serve With Vegan Chili?

Wondering what to eat with vegan chili?

Look no further! Here’s what goes with vegan chili:

  • Rice
  • Tortilla chips
  • Breadsticks
  • Cornbread
  • Vegan biscuits
  • Baked potatoes
  • Vegan nachos
  • Tacos
  • Vegan quesadillas
  • Salad
  • Sweet potato fries
  • Vegan grilled cheese
  • Vegan garlic bread

3. Is Vegan Chili Good for You?

Vegan chili can certainly be a healthy option, depending on how you make it.

Generally speaking, vegan chili can be one of the tastiest and healthiest meals you can make that’s packed full of nutrients. Since the chili is plant-based, there will naturally be less fat in the recipe, meaning you’re off to a healthier start.

However, vegan chili can quickly become unhealthy if you add too much fat or salt.

This means when you’re making your vegan chili recipe, try to limit the amount of oil and added salt. Another consideration is what you’ll serve with the vegan chili. Oftentimes, it’s not the chili that’s unhealthy but the side options.

Instead of serving your vegan chili with fatty bread or tortilla chips, you might want to consider eating it with a side salad, brown rice, or sweet potatoes.

Besides that, vegan chili can be a great healthy meal option since you can pack in plenty of veggies.

4. What Can I Use In Chili Instead of Meat?

Are you looking to make some chili but you’re wanting to use a meat alternative?

Well, you’re in luck! There are plenty of ways to eat chili without meat.

Here are the top meat alternatives for chili:

  • More beans
  • Lentils
  • Blend some of your cooked chili and add it back in
  • Firm tofu
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Seitan
  • Bulgar Wheat
  • Eggplant
  • Plant-based ground beef
Fried Seitan — a delicious plant-based alternative to ground beef in vegan chili.

5. How Do You Thicken Vegan Chili?

Wondering how you can make sure your vegan chili is nice and thick?

I wrote a whole article on How to Thicken Vegan Chili.

However, here are a couple of quick tricks you can use right now:

  • Blend a few scoops of chili and add it back in.
  • Let your chili simmer longer (lid off)
  • Add cornstarch.
    Add flour.
  • Use a cornstarch alternative (i.e. tapioca starch or xanthan gum)
  • Add more vegetables.
  • Try cornmeal.
  • Add more beans.
  • Mix in tomato paste.

By following the tips above, you’ll be sure to thicken up your runny chili in no time. 

6. Can Vegan Chili Be Left Out Overnight?

In most cases, it’s best not to leave chili out overnight on the counter at room temperature. This is because bacteria can begin forming in any prepared food when it’s between 41 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

The best option is to let it cool, then place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also freeze it if you’d like. It can last about 3-4 days in the fridge and up to 6 months in the freezer.

If you’re cooking your chili in a crockpot, you can leave it out overnight as long as it’s on the heat. Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t leave it there for days on the heat as bacteria can still form quicker than if it were in the fridge.

7. How Long Does Vegan Chili Last?

Did you cook up some vegan chili but you’re wondering just how long it can last?

If you’re storing your vegan chili in the fridge, then it can typically last for three or four days.

If you freeze your vegan chili, it can usually last for up to six months.

Did you leave your vegan chili out on the counter? Well, it’s best to eat it within a few hours. However, if your chili was left on the counter for more than a couple hours, make sure you microwave it so it reaches a super high temperature to get rid of any extra bacteria so it’s safer to eat.

8. How Do You Make Vegan Chili Less Spicy?

Vegan chili, like regular chili, usually comes with a kick of heat.

However, if you (or the people you’re making the chili for) are sensitive to spice, then there are a few ways to make it less spicy.

For one, it’s important to understand what makes chili spicy to begin with. There are typically three main ingredients that add heat to a chili recipe:

  • Chili powder
  • Cayenne
  • Paprika

If you’re super sensitive to heat, you may even want to reduce or eliminate any added garlic.

Keep in mind that the spices above are very common in chili (especially chili powder), so you may not want to completely eliminate them from your recipe as it will change the flavor. However, depending on how sensitive you are to heat, you can eliminate ingredients as needed. 

9. Is Vegan Chili Gluten Free?

Yes, vegan chili is typically gluten-free. 

This is because most chili recipes (whether they’re vegan, vegetarian, or meat-filled) don’t usually include any flour or other glutenous ingredients.

However, just keep in mind that while flour isn’t usually in chili, some people do add flour or oats as a way to thicken the chili.

Most chili recipes won’t have gluten, so you’ll usually be safe eating it. But, if you’re ever unsure whether or not the chili you’re about to eat is gluten-free, it’s always best to ask the person who made it. 

As far as making a chili recipe, you can easily make it gluten-free. If you find you need to thicken your vegan chili, you can add some cornstarch, blend up some chili and add it back in, or add more veggies or beans.

10. Can Vegans Eat Chili?

Yes! Vegans can absolutely eat chili! However, you’ll have to make sure you remove any meat from the recipe—which is typically ground beef.

To make sure your chili is plant-based, then follow a standard chili recipe as you normally would but minus the beef (or any other meat needed for the recipe).

Since chili typically includes a wide variety of vegetables, beans, and spices, you can enjoy it just as much as a “regular” meat-filled chili.

11. Can You Freeze Vegan Chili?

Yes, you can definitely freeze vegan chili! In fact, freezing your chili is one of the best ways to always have a healthy, hearty, delicious meal on hand. 

Vegan chili stored in the freezer can last for up to six months! You just need to ensure that you store your chili in an airtight container. To ensure you don’t leave it in for too long so it doesn’t go bad, you should label it with the date you placed it in the freezer.

12. What Is Vegetarian Chili Made Of?

Vegetarian chili is a hearty, healthy meal you can eat any time of the year. While you might think it’s not the same without meat added, vegetarian chili can be super delicious.

In fact, vegetarian chili can be just as tasty as chili con carne. With the right ingredients and spices, you can easily make a delicious batch of vegetarian chili. 

Here are the most common ingredients in vegetarian chili:

  • Olive oil
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Red bell pepper
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Water or vegetable broth

For more tips on making the perfect vegan chili, make sure to check out our other articles on the topic: How to Thicken Vegan Chili and 7 Things to Use In Chili Instead of Meat (Vegan & Vegetarian Ideas)


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