Vegetarian Chili for Omnivores (Vegan)

“Chili is an all around easy dish to make and usually will satisfy people of all tastes. Our family usually eats chili as a soup but don’t forget how versatile this dish can be. Use it as a topper for a baked potato, toast a half a hamburger bun, top with a veggie burger then top with chili for a chili burger or use as a sloppy joe.  The ingredients are usually pantry staples so if you are low on refrigerated goods, chili can always come to the rescue on a busy weeknight. I typically use dried beans but you can use canned beans for a super fast meal.  Since going vegetarian, I have made lots of meatless versions but this latest one was a real winner for omnivores. My husband said it tasted like beefy chili and my son had to ask me if I cooked this with meat even though he knows I refuse to cook it in my kitchen.  If you have an omnivore in the family or if you are having guests over, this might be a quick dish that will satisfy all.”


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 – 12 oz box of Smart Ground Original Veggie Crumbles (by Lightlife – see pic below)
  • 2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bunch green onions, white and green parts sliced (you can reserve a few of the green parts for garnish too)
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 3 tsp chili powder (I like chili molido)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 cups no chicken broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 4 cups pinto beans, drained and rinsed (about 2 1/2 cans)
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • cilantro (optional)
  • vegan sour cream (optional)


  1. Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and coat the bottom with olive oil. Saute onions for about 10 minutes until soft and transparent.
  2. Add in garlic and box of Smart Ground along with Worcestershire sauce.  The veggie crumbles are a little dry so stir constantly so as not to burn (you may need to turn stovetop down to medium low or low). If needed add a little of the no chicken broth to keep it from sticking. Stir for about 2 minutes then add in the green onion. Stir for 1-2 minutes then add in the cumin, chili powder and tomato paste.  Keep stirring, scraping the bottom to prevent it from sticking too much.  Stir about 1 minute or until spices get fragrant.
  3. Add in the broth, tomatoes, salt, and pinto beans. Stir the bottom to scrape any brown bits, bring to a simmer then cover and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until beans are heated through and flavors have melded. Taste for salt and pepper and add as desired.
  4. Serve into bowls and garnish with cilantro and vegan sour cream.

Footnotes: You can use any veggie protein you like but this one closely resembles the taste you need for chili, especially when you add the Worcestershire.

I don’t like large tomatoes in my soup so before you empty the can in the soup, insert scissors into the can and cut away. When you pour them in, you’ll get smaller pieces.

When simmering, you can remove the lid if you want the chili to reduce down to be thicker.

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Categories: Beans & Lentils, Recipes, Soup, Vegan


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4 Comments on “Vegetarian Chili for Omnivores (Vegan)”

  1. April 27, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    Where do I get vegan Worcestershire sauce? I’ve been looking for one but no luck =( Anyway, thanks for this recipe. I agree that Chili goes with almost any meal.

    • April 27, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

      I find mine at Whole Foods, but you can find it at health food stores too. Here is an easy recipe so you can make it yourself. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and let cool completely before using. Worcestershire sauce may be stored in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 3 months. Oh, and just a warning, this will make your whole house smell like vinegar when you are cooking it.

      2 cups apple-cider vinegar
      1/2 cup soy sauce
      1/4 cup light-brown sugar
      1 teaspoon ground ginger
      1 teaspoon ground yellow mustard seed or dry mustard
      1 teaspoon onion powder
      1 clove garlic, crushed
      1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  2. April 27, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    This looks great! And I LOVE the tip to use a scissors in a can of tomatoes, I never thought of that! Let’s just say that my method is a lot messier & I am switching to yours. 🙂

    • April 28, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

      Yeah, I used to do it the hard way but dumping out the can, trying to saved juices then making a mess. Then I saw Ellie Krieger do it on one of her shows and I all I could think was “Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that?”.

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