10-Minute Prep Vegan Chili

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

This vegan chili will WOW your guests and may even convert non-vegans into vegans. I made this for our holiday party and our guests loved it. What's more, it's incredibly simple to make.

It's my personal go-to when I have little time to cook and need something simple to make. The original recipe calls for a meat alternative like Beyond Meat crumbles, but if you'd prefer a whole food dish (the healthiest option) then substitute the crumbles with a 15-ounce can of black beans (or homemade) or an 8-ounce package of tempeh, crumbled. I've made all three versions and they're all really tasty and satisfying. However, I will mention that the black bean version is a little soupier compared to the tempeh and alternative meat versions, which are more like a dip consistency.

This last time I made it I topped it with only cilantro and scallions, but you can also melt your favorite vegan cheese, cashew cheese or add nutritional yeast on top for a cheesy flavor (and a B-12 boost). Eat it with a spoon in your favorite soup bowl, add it to an organic corn tortilla for chili tacos or scoop it on top of brown rice. Let me know what you think! 

Servings: 4-6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 35-40 minutes


  • 1 16-ounce can (BPA-free) vegan refried beans

  • 1 16-ounce jar of salsa or, if you have a bit of extra time, make homemade! Choose mild, medium, or hot depending on your spice preference.

  • 1 package meatless crumbles (Beyond Meat, LightLife or Gardein will work)*

  • 1 medium red onion, chopped

  • 1 large red pepper, chopped

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 Tbsp chili powder

  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

  • cilantro and green onion, chopped (optional)

  • nutritional yeast (optional) (or your favorite vegan cheese or homemade cashew cheese)

How to Make

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Mix all ingredients (except for the cilantro, green onion, and nutritional yeast) together in a large bowl. Stir until everything is mixed well. You might need a fork to break apart and blend in the refried beans.

  3. Scoop into a baking dish. 

  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the center is hot. 

  5. Top with chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, and a sprinkle of vegan cheese or nutritional yeast. Yum!

Great for a party ... or for yourself! Portion out into containers and you'll have a delicious lunch for every day of the week (the flavors get even better the next day).

*If you want to keep this whole food and unprocessed (always a great idea in my opinion) then omit the alternative meat crumbles and add 1 1/2 cups black beans (homemade or 15-ounce BPA-free canned, drained) in place of the meat crumbles.

*I've also made this with 8 ounces of crumbled tempeh (Lightlife is carried nationwide, but any organic tempeh should work). I like to boil the tempeh first for about 10 minutes, which makes it softer, easier to crumble, and more porous so that it absorbs all of the delicious flavors. After you boil it for 10 minutes, let it cool down a bit before crumbling it into the chili mixture in place of the meat crumbles. Photo of the Tempeh Chili below.

tempeh chili

tempeh chili

Make them into a snack by scooping them onto sprouted chips!

Have you tried it? Please let me know in the comments below!

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