Hearty Vegan Chili

Mmm… chili.

I love chili, but I’ve been chili-deprived my whole life.

The trouble with chili is that most chili is made with beef and I just don’t eat beef. Not ever. Being quasi-vegetarian can be a bummer sometimes, because chili is really hearty and filling, but when I go out it’s hard to find a decent, meat-free chili.

Obvious solution: make my own!

I was inspired by one of my coworkers who brought a veggie-version of her own homemade chili to work for a fund-raising activity. One bowl, and I was hooked.

The sweetness, the spices, the thick, savory taste of herbs and beans. Hell yes!

Of course I tried to pester her for the recipe, but she told me that she never uses one. Fair enough — that definitely happens sometimes, especially when you’re used to making something over and over.

I thought about my chili situation a little more, and I was stumped for a couple days. It would have been easy to look something up online, but I didn’t want to just follow some random recipe with a blurry photo — I wanted my own chili.

So, after much reading and deliberation, I ventured to the grocery store, spent nearly 30 minutes mulling over beans, and then hauled my goodies home.

When reading this recipe, you’ll notice that I’ve used coffee and cocoa in this chili. Sounds pretty weird, doesn’t it? I thought so, too, but decided to give it a shot — I’ve had molé sauce made with cocoa and it was delicious, so I figured that cocoa and coffee could possibly work in other savory dishes too. To be honest, once the chili was done, I couldn’t even taste the coffee.

Maybe it helped the flavour, maybe it didn’t — all I can tell you is that I adored the final product.

Anyways, I wholeheartedly recommend applewood smoked cheddar to melt on top of this chili, because its gentle, smokey notes and sharp flavour compliment the sweetness of this particular recipe perfectly. Of course, if you’re vegan, you can use a dairy-free  cheese substitute instead.

Hearty Vegan Chili

*original recipe by Christine


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced
  • 2 cans red kidney beans (2 x 14 oz or 398 ml)
  • 1 can black beans (19 oz or 540 ml)
  • 1 can navy beans (19 oz or 540 ml)
  • 1 can corn (12 oz or 341 ml)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (28 oz or 796 ml)
  • 1 can tomato paste (5.5 oz or 156 ml)
  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons parsley
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup fancy molasses
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Drain all your beans and corn and put them in a colander; rinse under gently running warm water until all the bean-gunk is gone. Allow the beans sit and drip while you dice your veggies.

In a very large pot on the stove over medium heat, saute the diced onion with olive oil for a couple minutes. Add the garlic, red bell pepper, and jalapeño pepper, and cook until the diced onion goes translucent. Stir in all your dried spices and cocoa powder, and continue to stir and cook for another minute.

Add your canned tomatoes, tomato paste, beans, corn, coffee, vegetable stock, and vinegar to the pot. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.

Cover the pot and let the chili simmer for about an hour, then uncover and add your molasses and maple syrup. Gently stir and start allowing the liquid in the chili to reduce over low heat. Simmer for at least another hour, or until the chili starts to look thick.

Generously season with salt and pepper and hot sauce (but only if you’d like it super hot).

To serve, just scoop the chili into bowls, top with applewood smoked cheddar and dried oregano, and melt the cheese under the broiler for a couple minutes. Enjoy with a side of beer bread! Yum!

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7 thoughts on “Hearty Vegan Chili

  1. YUM!! This looks fantastic!
    We’re thinking of spending next summer in Vancouver, so I’ll be visiting your site often! Thanks!

    • Christine says:

      Vancouver is positively gorgeous in the summer — so much so that it definitely makes up for our soggy, gloomy winters.

      It’s also extremely veggie/vegan-friendly, so hopefully I’ll have more restaurant reviews up by then, and then you’ll know where to eat when you visit. 🙂

  2. Mmm … Mike will enjoy this, and probably enjoy making it too … lucky me! 🙂

    • Brandon says:

      Your pictures are a chromatic carnival. I salivate merely glancing at the savory beans heaped on top of your soft, spongy sourdough bread. Mmmm,mama.

  3. Thanks for the comment ~ Of course, I had to look up your blog and check out your recipes. This looks like an amazing chili recipe especially since it’s quite different from mine. I’ll have to give it a try next time!

  4. Marinda says:

    This looks great! How many does this recipe serve (approximately)? =)

    • Christine says:

      Oops! Sorry for the late reply… hmm.

      Since I live alone it’s hard to say — it usually just serves me for a week, haha! I’d say you’d get at least 12 full cups of chilli out of it. Enough for 8 ~ 10 people, depending on how much they like chili. 🙂

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