One of the best things to make when the weather is cold and you need a large pot of something filling is chili. Chili has been a favorite of mine for a long time, but only if it’s homemade. None of that canned stuff, okay? As I’ve journeyed through the vegan and plant-based world, my go-to recipe has evolved. And let me tell you, it’s reached a magical level. I made some for a chili cook-off recently, but am already craving more.
This is the kind of meal you can either let simmer all day in the crock pot, or spend some time on the stove to speed things up. Either way, it makes a massive amount (my crock pot is 7 quarts and it’s up to the brim), so you can set aside a few portions for meal later in the week, and freeze the rest for a later date. You can modify the veggies and beans to your liking as well. So feel free to leave out or add anything you like. And most of these ingredients are things you can or already do keep in your pantry. So it’s an easy fix when you don’t want to go to the store.
I know some chili critics think you can’t have a good, filling chili without the meat. But this one packs in lentils, 3 beans, quinoa, and a truckload of veggies. So I promise that it is filling and satisfying. You can top it with the usual vegetarian toppings – cheese, sour cream, avocado, etc. Or you can modify those toppings for a more vegan friendly approach – plain plant based yogurt or sour cream, vegan cheese or nutritional yeast, and of course avocado is a universal.
P.S. I totally should have added squash to this. Please add zucchini or yellow squash. You could also add baby potatoes too! Or yams!
1 large onion, diced
2 bell peppers, diced – I prefer a yellow and a red for color variation
2-3 large carrots, diced – peel them if you must
1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 can black beans, drained
1 can white beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 large can crushed tomatoes – I prefer the one seasoned with oregano and basil
1 jar of chili sauce – I don’t even know if it has a proper brand name, but check out the picture. It’s the round glass jar. It’s the best kind, I swear. Most of my local grocery stores carry it. It’s usually on the isle with ketchup and other dressings. You can make the recipe without it, but this is the secret ingredient flavor-wise.
1-2 cups frozen corn
1 cup uncooked lentils – any color will do
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed – rinsing is super important with quinoa.
salt and pepper
Coriander, oregano, chili powder, and cumin to taste. I probably use 1-2 Tbsp of each, but adjust as you like.
4-5 cups of veggie broth
*As I mentioned, you can do this several ways. You could just throw everything in the crock pot on high all day long. These instructions are for a slightly faster version, and it helps ensure the harder veggies are cooked well.
- Saute the onion, garlic, bell peppers, and carrot in a pan on medium-high heat until tender. They won’t cook down much more in the crock pot so make sure they are how you like them at this stage.
- Add all of the seasonings and cook a few moments longer to incorporate.
- Add all ingredients into a large crock pot and stir to incorporate. If you don’t have enough space, hold off on half of the veggie broth until after the chili has cooked for a while. You will need all of it though, to ensure both the lentils and quinoa cook all the way.
- Cook in the crock pot on high for 3-4 hours, or until the quinoa and lentils are fully cooked. You can take the lid off toward the end if the chili is too liquid. Stir occasionally.
- Serve and enjoy. As I mentioned, it does freeze well if needed.
Hello! I’m Whitney and this is my home for all things food and life.