Ridiculously Fast Vegan Chili That Won't Break the Bank

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

This is from Ali and I have to tell you this chili costs about $10 to make depending on where you shop. I got the veggies at low cost since they were slightly wrinkled and we can buy discounted veggies where I work. Tip: Look for bargain bags of veggies at your market or at the Greenmarkets in NYC at the end of the day. Might find some great savings!! If you are making this for guests and some of they require animal protein and if they like turkey, you could saute some ground turkey with onion and chili seasoning and served that on the side......But I adore this veggie-packed version where 3 types of beans are the star protein players, and it is packed with fiber from all the ingredients and it also freezes well. This chili is super fast to make and one of the dinner staples you can keep in the fridge or freezer to heat up when you need a fast, healthy meal on the go. I am working on a vegan cornbread recipe that works well at this altitude so watch for that coming soon......


4 Cans Beans of your choice. I used:

1 Jar Berlotti beans (or you could use 1 can pinto beans), drained

1 can small white beans, drained

2 cans black beans, drained

* To keep it reasonable, I use the least expensive organic beans, or those on sale.

1 medium red onion, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 zucchini, diced *I use mostly the peel and about 3/4" in from the peel, and discard the interior, see pics.

1 yellow squash, diced (same technique, see pics)

2-3 red peppers, diced

1 yellow pepper, diced

1 orange pepper, diced (optional)

1 stalk of chopped broccoli, including the stem, tough outer peel of stem removed, and diced.

2 14 oz. cans of diced tomatoes (I used the organic fire-roasted diced canned tomatoes)

1 bunch cilantro, leaves coarsely chopped, divided into 1 cup for the chili and 1/2 cup to add as garnish

3 cups organic veggie broth or plain filtered water is fine, too. 3.5 cups if you are doing a broth saute instead of using the olive oil. (I used olive oil.)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon chili seasoning or more as desired. I bought mine in bulk but believe it was an organic chili blend, and not too hot.

Salt to taste

Sometimes I sweeten the chili just a bit with either honey or a little agave, like 2 teaspoons if the chili tastes at all acidic.

Olive oil for sauteeing the onions and beans, but if you are on a no-oil eating plan, then do a broth saute of the onions and beans using 1/2 cup extra veggie stock.

Here's the line-up: peppers, red onion, squashes, broccoli, cilantro. Rinse all. Ready to chop?

Dice one medium or med-large red onion.

While your onion is sauteeing in your soup or chili pot (remember don't use non-stick if at all possible!) start opening the cans and/or cans and jar of beans and put them into a colander to drain.

Add beans to onions and give a few stirs around.

Add your ground cumin and the chili seasoning and give a stir.

Add the tomatoes to the bean, onion and seasoning mixture. Then add your veggie stock or water while you prep the veggies to go into the chili. Bring up to a low boil. When prepping the veggies to add to the chili, begin by dicing the squashes. Remember you can toss (or compost) the inner white, seedy part of the zucchini and yellow squash. Go for the colorful outer peel and cut in about 1/2-3/4"

Add the diced zucchini and yellow squash and then the diced peppers, and return mixture to a low boil.

I had some broccoli in the fridge, so I chopped up one stalk, peeling the outer tough husk of the stalk itself, and dicing the interior as well as the floret. I added that at the very end just before adding the coarsely-chopped cilantro and then turned off the heat. It's at this point that I like to taste and see if salt is needed, and if the chili at all tastes acidic, I add a couple of teaspoons of raw honey or agave to soften that flavor and it turns that acidity right around!

Add 2/3 of your coarsely-chopped cilantro (hey and if you hate cilantro just use the chopped green part of 6 scallions instead, no sweat.) Reserve the last third to put on the table so people can garnish as they like, or you can add your remaining cilantro to some diced firm avocado with lime, jalapenos, and salt as a condiment. Or you can warm up some tortillas and put those on the table so that anyone can put the avocado salsa into their tortilla and "dip" it into their bowl of chili..heck, yeah!

There you are! Besides the chopping, the cooking part should take about 15 minutes. Remember you want your veggies, as a general rule, somewhat al dente since they will continue cooking as they cool, off the heat source.

Looks like a lot of liquid, right? Don't be fooled! The beans will absorb the broth and you will have a very thick, hearty chili after it has sat for a little bit in the fridge. This is one of the easiest versions I have ever made--it heats up in about one minute and it also goes super well with some vegan cornbread. Watch for that next. I have to practice a recipe at this altitude to see if I can get it to be moist and lofty. Let us know what you think and how you liked it! BTW, I met a customer named Robert where I work, an engineer who was so proud (and rightly so) that he had successfully lowered his cholesterol from 220 down to160 by simply going vegan for a month!!He also dropped oil from his diet for that month. I told him about our blog with plant-based recipes and that he could easily make the chile oil-free by doing a water saute of the onions and beans. Isn't that awesome that he lowered his cholesterol so significantly just by some simple dietary changes? Way to go, Robert!!

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