Last updated on March 8th, 2022 at 02:00 pm
Ready in roughly 35-minutes, this chili sin carne is simple to make, packed with warm smoky flavours and loaded with protein. If you are looking for a healthy, nourishing and delicious vegan chili, this is it.
If you love one pot meals like my vegan chickpea curry, my vegan red lentil curry or my one-pot mushroom pasta, I think you are going to love this vegan chili. It's simple, fuss-free and just-smack-your lips delicious.
What is Chili Sin Carne?
You've probably heard of chili con carne, chili with meat, right? It's a spicy stew made with peppers or chili powder, meat (usually beef), tomatoes, kidney beans, aromatics like garlic and spices.
The dish is thought to have originated in northern Mexico or southern Texas.
Chili sin carne is simply chili without meat. In Spanish "Sin" means "without" while "con" means "with".
Source: What's Cooking in America?
Things to Love About This Recipe
This vegan chili is a staple in our house - it's so good! In creating this recipe I wanted to cook up a chili that was simple, nourishing and as flavoursome as traditional chili. And it is! This chili sin carne is:
-Easy to make with easy to find ingredients
-Packed with warm, full-bodied flavours
-Cooked up in a single pot - who doesn't love less dishes, right?
-Kid-friendly - this isn't a spicy dish so little bellies will love it - you can also just omit the Adobo sauce for a spice-free version
-Perfect for meal-prepping - this vegan chili keeps really well in the fridge so it's perfect to make ahead
-Freezable - make double and freeze half for a rainy day.
Is it Chili, Chilli or Chile?
So, which one is right? The answer is, all of them!
In American English, "chili" is the most common spelling for the spicy peppers as well as the stew. In British English the preferred spelling is "chilli." In Spanish speaking countries and regions of the US, "chile" is most commonly used.
What You'll Need | Ingredients
Whether you call it chili sin carne or vegan chili con carne, this bowl is super easy to make with minimal fuss.
There are a few ingredients in this but they are all easily found at your grocery store. You've probably got most of them already.
-Spices: Mexican spices are the backbone of this chili but they are all common ingredients you might already have in your pantry. You'll need cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, onion powder and a stick (quill) of cinnamon. I've included the measurement for ground cinnamon too if you don't have a stick.
-Mushrooms: Minced mushrooms (pictured below to show you the texture) give this chili body. Button, Cremini, Portobello, Swiss or a mixture is perfect.
Time Saving Hack: I use a processor to mince my mushrooms but you can do it by hand. Having said that, mincing by hand is time consuming as heck. In a pinch, you can simply slice the mushrooms thinly. They'll cook down but your chili will be a chunkier texture.
Random factoid: Did you know button, cremini and portobello mushrooms are the same type (Agaricus bisporus) at different stages of growth? Mind blown.
-Tomatoes: I have used both fresh and canned chopped or crushed tomatoes for this chili sin carne. You will get a different texture depending on which type you use. Using fresh tomatoes will give you a chunkier chili, while crushed canned tomatoes will create a smoother, more soupy chili.
-Beans: This recipe uses a mixture of black and red kidney beans but you can use just black or just red kidney beans.
-Chocolate: Chocolate is my secret ingredient in this recipe. Mexican cooking quite often features Mexican or dark chocolate and this chili sin carne does the same. Chocolate adds depth, warmth and lusciousness to savoury recipes.
-Adobo sauce: Adobo sauce is made from chili powder, vinegar, sugar, garlic and herbs and is usually found in a jar of chipotle peppers. It provides heat and smoke. If you don't have adobo, add half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper or chili flakes for heat.
OK, let's haul it in to the kitchen and make some chili.
How to Make the Best Vegan Chili
You'll find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Step 1: Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the diced celery and onion to cook until the vegetables are soft.
Step 2: Add the diced capsicum and stir to combine.
Step 3: Stir in the spice mix ingredients and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes or until the capsicum is soft and the spices are aromatic.
Step 4: Add the minced mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring regularly.
Step 5: Throw in the kidney beans, black beans, tomatoes (canned or fresh), soy sauce and the Adobo sauce and stir through. If you are using cayenne pepper instead of Adobo sauce, add it now.
Step 6: Stir in a few bay leaves, a cinnamon stick and the vegetable stock and bring the mixture up to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue cooking at a simmer, stirring occasionally with the lid off, until the liquid has cooked down by half. This usually takes around 15-20-minutes.
Step 7: Stir in the chocolate and take the chili off the heat. Allow it to sit for 5-minutes - it will continue to thicken while it cools and settles. Remove the cinnamon stick and the bay leaves to serve.
- Mincing the mushrooms is the most time consuming part of this recipe. To save time, roughly chop the mushrooms and transfer them to a food processor in two batches. Pulse a few times until the mushrooms are minced. See the picture in the ingredients section for reference.
- While you are using your processor, throw in the celery, capsicum and onion to pulse down as well. Throw in each vegetable separately to chop but don't bother wiping out the processor bowl in-between. It's all going to be cooked down anyways.
- Use canned tomatoes! Less chopping makes light work.
-This chili sin carne is so good served on its own in a bowl topped with avocado or vegan sour cream.
-Try spooning your vegan chili over a jacket potato or baked sweet potato.
-Load up baked potato fries with vegan chili and cheese for the best kind of chili fries!
-Serve it with rice, a good squeeze of lime and a sprinkling of coriander (cilantro).
This recipe is great for meal-prepping because like curries and stews, the flavours get better over time. It will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for 3-4 days.
Yup. Allow the chili to cool completely, remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaves and transfer to a freezer-proof container. Freeze for up to 2 months. To defrost, transfer it to the fridge on a plate to thaw for 24 hours. Reheat it gently over low heat in a pot.
That's easy, just leave out the Adobo sauce. There is no other spicy element in this chili sin carne.
So, the fungi is not your friend. That's OK. If you cannot do mushrooms or honestly can't face the chopping, add 1 cup of TVP (textured vegetable protein) to the pot instead of shrooms. It's easy, delicious and chop-free.
Try these other easy one-pot vegan meals.
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Chili Sin Carne
- food processor (not mandatory but it does make things easier)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 celery ribs (single stalks) finely diced
- 1 large onion peeled and finely diced
- 1 red capsicum (pepper) deseeded and finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 400 grams mixed mushrooms minced, or 1 cup TVP
- 400 g / 14 oz red kidney beans
- 400 g / 14 oz black beans
- 400 grams fresh or tinned diced tomatoes around 3 large tomatoes, diced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce optional, use a little cayenne pepper if you don't have the sauce
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick or ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ¼ cups vegetable stock
- 1-2 squares dark chocolate
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and add the diced celery and onion to cook until the vegetables are soft.
- Add the diced capsicum and stir to combine. Stir in the spice mix ingredients and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes or until the capsicum is soft and the spices are aromatic. If you are using ground cinnamon instead of a cinnamon quill, add it now.
- Add the minced mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring regularly. If you are using TVP instead, add it now and skip the 3-minute cooking.
- Throw in the kidney beans, black beans, tomatoes (canned or fresh), the soy sauce and the adobo sauce and stir through. If you are using cayenne pepper instead of adobo sauce, add it now. A ¼ -½ teaspoon is good.
- Add the bay leaves, a cinnamon stick (skip if you added ground cinnamon) and the vegetable stock and stir. Increase the heat and bring the mixture up to a boil. Reduce the heat to low-medium and continue cooking at a simmer, stirring occasionally with the lid off, until the liquid has cooked down by half. This usually takes around 15 minutes.
- Stir in the chocolate and take the chili off the heat. Allow it to sit for 5-minutes - it will continue to thicken while it cools and settles. Remove the cinnamon stick and the bay leaves to serve.