The Best Damn Chili EVER

And it’s VEGAN

Hi everyone!

Here’s honest Alisha for you! I tried following a Pinterest recipe for this, and it was okay. It wasn’t as thick and hearty like most chili’s are and I thought, “well that’s because it’s vegan!” I kept trying to add flour to it to thicken it up a bit, but it just wasn’t working.

I had a can of tomato paste in the pantry from a previous recipe that I did NOT want to put in the chili. Anytime I think of tomato paste I think of sloppy joes, and I HATE sloppy joes. They’re disgusting, and you won’t change my mind about it. So, of course, I avoided putting the tomato paste in my chili!

Then Adrian, my taste tester comes along and says, “this needs to be thicker. It needs tomato paste.” He then proceeds to pour the whole can in the pot and stir it before I can protest.

Then lo and behold… The chili was perfect. PERFECT. I have to give Adrian the credit here for doing what I dared not, and accidentally making the best chili on the PLANET that is 100% VEGAN.


I brought this to work for my fellow vegan (Hi Jodie!) and she LOVED it.

I also had my girlfriend try a taste when she came over for dinner and SHE loved it!

Adrian has eaten it for dinner every night since Sunday. That’s four days in a row, LOL! This makes a pretty big batch, but as you can see, it’s a HIT. You’re going to want leftovers.

Let’s get started:

I’m recycling my own pictures for this post because they’re pretty and I can! *hair flip* Since I made the chili and the vegan enchiladas back to back, I still had the same ingredients laying around. This chili is packed with so many hearty vegetables and savoring spices… You won’t be able to put your spoon down!

The colors here are gorgeous! I’m obsessed.

We’re going to be using the same Gardein meatless beef we used for the enchiladas. If you haven’t yet, run to Target and grab you a couple bags. Being vegan is so easy with their products in your kitchen.

For this chili I went HAM (hard as a mother) with the spices. And that’s the key! I feel like people don’t realize how much spice goes into some amazing dishes. I used probably half a bottle of Cumin. I think that’s 1/4 cup? I just don’t hold back, ya know? A lot of people do. The trick is to start small. Taste test everything after a good stir. You’ll begin to learn how much of each spice you really like, and then before you know it, you’ll be like me and won’t have to measure anything! It’s second nature, trust me!

When making a soup that has crunchy veggies (when raw), you HAVE to cook them in the skillet before adding them to the big pot. Just add a tablespoon of olive oil and cook on medium heat until tender (you can pierce it with a fork). Then add the veggies to the pot with spices, broth, and cooked meat.

I like to cook the Gardein after putting the veggies into the broth because it gives the veggies more time to marinate and soak in the flavor. Mmmm!

Ok, enough talking, let’s start cooking!!

  • 1 bag of Gardein meatless ground beef
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 Serrano pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 15 oz can of whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 15 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans, drained
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 1 15 oz can of whole chickpeas
  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika (smoked if you have it)
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp Slap Ya Mama Cajun Spice
  • 2 Tbs cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  1. Cook your quinoa and set aside. I put this first so you wouldn’t forget! Scroll down for tips on making the perfect quinoa.
  2. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet on medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and Serrano pepper to the skillet and cook until tender (about 7-9 minutes).
  3. Add ALL of those delicious spices and stir well. Then pour in few splashes of veggie broth to deglaze the pan. Reduce heat and simmer 3-4 minutes.
  4. In a big pot or dutch oven, add another table spoon of olive oil to keep the veggies from sticking. Scoop in the cooked veggie and spices into the pot, add the remaining broth, stir, and then let everything simmer as you cook your Gardein beef.
  5. When the meat is browned (follow the instructions on the bag), add it to the pot of simmering goodness. Now it’s time to add all of our canned goods. Note: Feel free to use frozen or fresh ingredients as opposed to canned! Get creative. I encourage that! 
  6. Give everything a thorough stir, reduce heat to medium low/low, cover let sit for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. As it cooks, grab a small spoon to taste the chili every now and then. Does it need more flavor? Add cumin. Does it need more hot spice? Add more chili. Is it pretty bland? Add more salt. Start off adding spices a little at a time, and then add more as you go. Soon you’ll get the hang of it and be a professional little chef!
  7. Serve with your favorite toppings like Daiya cheese or sliced avocado!


How to make perfect quinoa every time:

You use double the amount of liquid to quinoa. So if you have 1 cup of quinoa (serves 4), you’ll need 2 cups of vegetable broth/chicken broth/water. If you think your quinoa is always bland and you don’t like it, try cooking it with a broth! Also, add spices! I typically sprinkle in salt and seasoned pepper before cooking.

It’s key to use the exact double ratio of liquid to quinoa. Don’t think an extra splash of water is a good idea. It’s not. Wait until your quinoa has cooked for 12 minutes before looking at it to see if it needs a little more liquid. If you’re not sure, google pictures of what cooked quinoa should look like. Does yours look like that?

Place the quinoa and liquid in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once it’s at a rolling boil, turn the heat all the way down to low and cover. Let it cook for 10 minutes, check it, 15 minutes, check it, to 20 minutes. You should not cook your quinoa more than 20 minutes! The bottom will begin to burn.

That’s all you need to know! Good luck my quinoa first timers!





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