Homemade Hearty Vegan Chili

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This is a family favorite that I have been making for over 20 years now. It is based on a not-vegan old family recipe that has since been vegetarian-ized and now vegan-ized! It’s still “meaty” enough that my meat-eating extended family likes it and it has remained very filling! It took me months to perfect it, and it was totally worth it.



  • 2 cans of kidney beans (I don’t drain the liquids)
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes (I don’t drain the liquids)
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (diced)
  • 2 tbs. of olive oil
  • 1 package of meat substitute. I’ve made it with vegan ground meat and vegetarian soy-free crumbles. It turns out great with all types of meat substitutes.
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 tbs. of chili seasoning



  1. Dice onion and add to a pot with the olive oil. Saute till the onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add garlic and meat substitute. Stirring constantly, brown the meat substitute. Note, meat substitute is normally already cooked so what you are really doing is just making the meat a bit tougher. This adds more texture to the chili and keeps it from getting mushy or breaking apart. It normally takes just 2-3 minutes, depending on the type of meat substitute. If it’s sticking to the sides of the pan it’s not browned enough.
  3. Add the 2 cans of beans, 2 cans of tomatoes, and the seasoning and bring it to a boil.
  4. Once it’s boiling turn down the heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes to an hour. The longer the better! This can also be moved to the crockpot and cooked while you are out and about and you will return to a yummy dinner!


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Heather Reese
the authorHeather Reese
Heather Delaney Reese is the storyteller and photographer behind the lifestyle and family travel blog, It's a Lovely Life®! For the past decade, she has vacationed over 150 days a year with her family. She is a vegan, and loves being by the water, spending time with her children, husband, 2 Shih Tzus and Cat.

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