Ain’t No Bones About It | My Award Winning Vegan Chili

I entered my vegan chili into a chili cook off competition back in October… and I won. Here is my recipe….I like a chili that is spicy. But in the right place spicy. The warmth in your belly kind of spicy. That’s this chili, it’s not the kind that sets your tongue on fire….

Side note… I can’t take credit for the name of this chili. That’s all my sisters doing. 😍

Check out my Medal

I prefer dried beans over canned. They have less salt, more flavor and are significantly cheaper. They are pretty to look at too if stored in class canisters. But if your a canned bean kind of person, no worries this recipe will still work out.

Feel free to substitute the beans and legumes that I use for whatever you prefer! Also, cooking times for beans and lentils vary based on the bean. You can cook them separately, but I just go with time needed to cook the longest cooking bean. I don’t pe-soak beans with the pressure cooker.

Add 1/2 cup of each rinsed beans/legumes to an instant pot: Pinto, Black, chick and green lentils. Add water, I make sure the beans are covered and then some but not overfilling the line that marks the pressure cooker max. If you’re not as adventurous as me, follow the directions that come with your pressure cooker. Set the cooking time to 50 minutes. You can make more or less of the beans if you like. It depends on the size of your pressure cooker and how much bean to veggie ratio you like for your chili.

Something else to keep in mind is that if you cook light colored beans with black beans all of your beans will come out purple. I don’t care, they taste the same regardless. But if it matters to you, you may want to cook your beans separately.


Ain’t No Bones About It | Vegan chili

  • In a large pot add:
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
    • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
    • 3 tablespoons of my taco seasoning mix. I add additional spices because I like my chili seasoning to be a bit different from my taco seasoning. If you make a bigger/ smaller batch of chili: it’s 1 tablespoon to 1 can of tomato sauce.
      • 1 tablespoon cumin (less if you make a smaller amount of chili)
      • 1 tablespoon chili powder (less if you make a smaller amount of chili)
    • Half of one large jalapeño, chopped. Add the whole jalapeño if you are going super spicy.
    • 1 dried chipotle chili. Or whatever dried chili’s you’d like. This part can be skipped but I like the extra flavor and heat. Remember, the spicier your chill the spicier the end result.
    • Sauté the above ingredients until the onions are translucent and the garlic is golden brown.
  • Add 1/4 cup water to the pot and allow the spices to bloom.
  • When it’s starting to smell amazing and fragrant “deglaze” the pot with one tablespoon of lime juice.
  • Add in 3, 15 oz. cans of tomato sauces. I add a little after to each can to rinse out the cans and I add that water to the pot. This ay I get out all the sauce and my chili doesn’t cook down too thick as it simmers.
  • Add 1 1/2 cups of corn. I use frozen.
  • Bring the pot to a boil. While waiting for the pot to boil chop your bell peppers and add them to the pot. I use 2-3 bell peppers. I like to use a variety of colors for flavor and varied color . Green, red, yellow, orange.
  • Boil for 5 minutes. Stir frequently so it doesn’t burn. The boiling helps to get the flavors into the sauce and remove the acidity of the tomato sauce.
  • Reduce the pot to low to simmer.
  • Add 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Always add salt at the end when cooking, not the beginning. This way you can add just enough salt to enhance the herbs and spices. Go the other way and it’s a salty mess.
  • Add your finishing spices for heat. I add 1/4 tsp of cayenne. But I like it spicy. Try adding by 1/8 tsp at a time until you get the heat your looking for. Don’t forget that the combination of jalapeño and cayenne builds over time. So if you start out with really really spicy in one spoonful, you won’t be able to finish the bowl.
  • Continue to simmer and stir occasionally while you wait for the beans to finish. If you are using canned beans let the chili simmer for 30 minutes before you add the beans. Then add in the beans and cook unit the beans are warmed through.
  • If using a pressure cooker….After the beans we finished add them to your chili pot. If your chili is too thick, use some of the liquid from the beans. This will give you more flavor. Let the beans simmer in the chili for 5 minutes for the flavors to meld.

I like to top my chili with vegan cheese and raw jalapeño. Serve with a side of warm corn bread. You can also top with caramelized onions.

My favorite vegan cheese that I can get locally. It’s from Aldi!

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