Ultimate Vegan Chili Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Ultimate Vegan Chili

This chili is made with a base of seitan and mushrooms for a rich, thick dish that is, for lack of a better word, meaty! In lieu of chili beans such as Bush's Best Chili Beans, you can substitute or 1 can each black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans, partially drained. If you like your chili three-alarm hot, add an extra chipotle chile or two.



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2 Tbs. olive oil
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1 large onion, chopped (2 cups)
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3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
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1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, drained and minced
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8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped (1 ½ cups)
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2 8-oz. pkgs. seitan, chopped (3 cups)
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3 Tbs. tomato paste
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2 tsp. smoked paprika
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2 tsp. dried oregano
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1 ½ tsp. chili powder
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¾ tsp. celery salt
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3 15-oz. cans chili beans, partially drained
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1 cup chopped carrots (2 to 3 large carrots)
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2 Tbs. low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
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1 Tbs. vegan Worcestershire sauce


1. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, and sauté 7 to 10 minutes, or until beginning to brown, stirring often. Add garlic and chipotle chile, and sauté 1 minute more. Stir in mushrooms; cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened. Add seitan, tomato paste, paprika, oregano, chili powder, celery salt, and 1 cup water; cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add beans, carrots, tamari, and Worcestershire sauce. Cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 1 hour, or until carrots are tender.

Nutrition Information: 

24 g
Total Fat: 
5 g
Saturated Fat: 
1 g
33 g
0 mg
844 mg
9 g
4 g
Serves 8

Comments on this Recipe

As a former meat eater, this was exactly what I was looking for in a vegetarian chili -- I didn't even miss the meat. I used WestSoy seitan, which has a firm, slightly spongy texture, and the chipotle gives it a nice kick. I also used regular Worcestershire sauce instead of vegan and topped with cheddar cheese because I'm not that strict. Yum!

Living in the Northeast it is essential to have a great chilli receipe to warm us up! I had one, but not it has been replaced by this wonderful receipe! This chilli had just the right amount of spice and flavor. Try this one!!

This chili was awesome for a vegan chili. My family who is not vegans/vegetarians loved it!

Would this work with Tempeh instead of Seitan?

I would think the tempeh would fall apart.

I made this chili the other day. I was shocked at the final amount this recipe made. It was quite a tasty chili and was surprisingly not too complicated to make. I was however a little taken back by how spicy it tasted. It was good but spicy.

When I saw the ingredient list on this recipe, I knew it would be a winner. And it was! Wow! Yum. There's nothing quite like that smoky, tangy, robust flavor of chipotle.

I made this for Super Bowl. A friend made a meat chili. My won, hands down. I put in the whole can of tomato paste and a chopped green pepper. I recommend slicing open the chile and removing the seeds before mincing. If you like it a little bit spicier, I'd suggest 2 chiles This will be the BEST chili you ever make!

I forgot to add that I substituted Boca Crumbles for the Seitan...seemed to work fine.


Tempeh works fine in Chili. It will be fairly small crumbles,, but I prefer to not have large chunks of mushy soy in my meals.

I've been looking for a good chili recipe, but doesn't worcestershire sauce have anchovies in it?

That's why it says "vegan" - Annie's makes one that doesn't have the anchovies.

Great recipe. I didn't use the seitan, but it worked. Best Veggie Chili we've ever had. Going to experiment with adding more mushrooms. Thanks!

Wow, what an amazing recipe! This is truly a fantastic chili. It's different... very smokey and without any meat. :) I've made this a few times and I make the following modifications. * Veg broth instead of water * Omit the carrots * Add 1 1/2 red peppers, chopped (I like to mix it up with yellow and orange when possible, since I like the multicolor effect) * Replace celery salt with sea salt * 2 chipotle chilis instead of 1 (I also add some of the sauce that the chilis come in, since I prefer it spicier)

Amazing! I sub a package of veg-chorizo for the seitan! So much more like hearty chili!

I loved this chili! I also made the maple cornbread muffins to go with it and it really completed the meal. It was also the first time using Seitan and I was not disappointed. The texture, spice and heartiness was perfect...a little vegan sour cream goes nicely too

I love this chili! I am not a big fan of tomato based chili so this is by far my favorite. I omit the mushrooms and the seitan though and it comes out just fine. Makes a lot and I switch it up to use on top of a taco salad or baked potato. So many possibilities. Even my meat and potato husband likes this one!

Wanted to make this for my kids but they don't like spicy foods at all. Could I just leave out the chipotle chile?

I think you could easily leave out the chipotle. I can find cans of organic tribean mix at Kroger and I usually use 2 of those and they also have an organic chili bean can and I use 1 of those. It still has some spice but not as much as the chipotle.

Love this dish!! I left out the seitan and carrots. I did add the adobe sauce from the can and one additional pepper. To replace the seitan I added corn and extra mushrooms. I also opted for the different types of beans. 1 can chili beans (hot) 1 can black beans and 1 can navy beans. When you leave out the carrots, this meal turns into an under 30min meal. such great flavors and easy to make. LOVE LOVE LOVE

I have made this dish several times. Vegans, vegetarians, and carnivores alike love this dish. You can change it up with different beans and more or less spice and make it suitable to your crowd. This is hands down the best, most versatile dish that pleases everyone. Try fresh jalapenos, celery, green chilis, bell pepper. LOVE this dish!

So good!! Even my non-vegan friends enjoyed this chili. I substituted a package of vegan sausage for the seitan, crumbling it in after the onions, garlic, and chipotle, and before the mushrooms. I opted for the three varieties of beans instead of the chili beans. The taste and hearty texture of this chili was just wonderful. I will probably use two chipotles next time, just to kick it up a notch.

This chili was so good, I'll never make chili another way again! I used 4 chipotle chilis instead of one. It wasn't screaming hot, it had amazing flavor, and just left a lasting heat in your mouth. Wonderful, wonderful!

4 poblanos + chili powder used- result is not fiery hot Used dried beans (1/2 C each kidney, pinto and black) After cooking in the mushrooms I added 1 stalk celery, half of a red and half of a green pepper all minced, and sautéed for a few minutes. No celery salt used Tasted fantastic after adding beans, soy and Worschester sauces. However, the flavor and freshness died after the carrots were added and cooked in for 40 minutes.


Am I blind? I don't see a list of ingredients.

You're not blind, Sarah, there was a glitch causing the ingredients to disappear. It should be fixed now, thanks for letting us know!

doesn't Worcestershire Sauce have fish in it?

Hi Barbara, sometimes it does contain anchovies, which is why we called for a vegan Worcestershire sauce in this recipe. Read the ingredients list on labels or look for Worcestershire sauce from a known veg-friendly brand like Annie’s or Edward & Sons. At least at one point Trader Joe’s Worcestershire sauce was vegan, but because their products change often, it’s always good to double-check.

Made this for tonight's dinner and it was Fantastic!! Wonderful, filling, 'meaty' dish. I will be making this again

Okay, I always add a chopped green pepper, maybe some finely chopped celery. Also, I use 1 can each kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans and a can diced tomatoes (instead of paste). Also, I only use 1 8 oz pkg seitan.

Can you use a crockpot for this dish?

Sriram will look that up...

Why is it that so many recipes on Vegetarian Times require ingredients that you can't get at your local grocery? It's not like I live at the center of the world.

what is seitan?

3 15-oz. cans chili beans, partially drained instead use VEGAN chili beans (99c store) Brand S & W with no sodium. OR make your own chili beans beforehand NO SODIUM. This is really HIGH in sodium for a vegan dish. 844 mg is WAY TOO MUCH SODIUM. Processed/can'd foods tend to be that way.

I made this recipe tonight and it turned out great. I did add one extra thing, a can of crushed tomonatoes 28oz size. Being in the south it just needed some more tomato. It was good as it is written but fabulous with the crushed tomatoes. Also, I used celery seed instead of celery salt because I am on a low sodium diet.

Oh yeah, I only used one 8oz package of seitan. Another substitute is the morning Star meat crumbles. It's not meat but simulates ground beef. I prefer the grain seitan myself. I put it in the food processor to crumble it up.

I made this the other day. I left out the carrots and seitan. Add green peppers. And I used all the liquid from the cans of chili beans, we like a wetter chili. It's a dfferent change of pace taste wise, not sure I liked the soy sauce in it. I did use Braggs. I think it needed some cumin in the recipe. So, next time I make it I will add that.

This was amazing. Did not have any seitan, so doubled the 'shrooms and then crumbled a veggie burger for texture. My kids gobbled it up too!

This looks delicious, and I would still eat it, but it's worth noting that this is not a vegan recipe, as Worcestershire sauce has anchovy paste in it.

@Annie, Yes, Worcestershire sauce typically as anchovy paste, but you can find vegetarian brands (e.g., Annie's naturals) that omit it.


Print please.


Henderson's Relish is the best vegan alternative to Worcestershire Sauce. Actually, it's better than Worcestershire sauce anyway - Worcestershire sauce was basically a copy and came later. Henderson's is easy to find in South Yorkshire, as made in Sheffield, but harder to find elsewhere as the company that makes it doesn't seem to be bothered about expanding.

So good. I make this recipe all the time. Lately I've been making taco salads with this chili. Just spoon it over lettuce, add some cold veggies, and crushed tortilla chips. sooo good.

I simply added extra mushroom, and beans. No need for fake meats that way.