Nothing quite warms you up like a bowl of hearty chili in the winter. We’re taking a pantry and budget-friendly vegetarian spin on a classic recipe to make vegetarian or vegan chili with TVP. It’s an easy vegan chili recipe that accommodates a plant-based diet or just a meatless Monday meal.
TVP stands for textured vegetable protein, which gives a meaty texture to many dishes and adds protein. This recipe is inherently vegan with TVP as the meat substitute, but the toppings you add will indicate whether it’s vegan or vegetarian.
Luckily, you have options for either! Personally, I like to top my chili with cheese, avocado or sour cream. But you can use vegan sour cream and vegan cheese to keep it vegan. Whichever toppings you decide, you’ll definitely have a big batch the best vegan chili.
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TVP – Textured Vegetable Protein
TVP or textured vegetable protein is a type of protein isolate that has been extruded (using a machine of moisture and pressure) into a shape that looks like ground beef.
Contrary to popular belief, TVP has actually existed for quite some time. Back in the day, it was used to extend the yield of things like ground meat in fast food establishments. The benefit of using TVP is that it is shelf-stable and animal product-free. While TVP can come from many sources, the two most popular types are derived from soy and pea protein.
Fire Roasted Diced Green Chilis
Diced green chilis are small green chilis that typically come in a small can. These small green chilis can be fire-roasted, but add a ton of flavor to a dish. They are not particularly spicy, but I think they do add a bit of zesty flavor to a dish. The fire-roasted chilis are perfect for this chili recipe because it adds a perfect amount of smokiness to the dish.
Black Jalapenos are a type of jalapeno pepper that is not as spicy as regular jalapenos. They offer a mild level of heat but are sweeter than their conventional counterpart. In this recipe, we recommend 2 small black jalapenos, but of course, feel free to adjust to your comfort spice level.
If you don’t like jalapenos or can’t find black jalapenos, you can substitute for poblano peppers or bell peppers.
Crushed tomatoes typically come in a 28oz can and are widely available at many grocery stores. Tomatoes will give you a pulpy texture and appearance, while tomato puree will provide a smooth texture. Cans of tomato puree and crushed tomatoes look very similar so they are easy to mistake.
The crushed tomatoes will help coat your TVP to give you a hearty vegan TVP chili appearance. I don’t recommend using tomato sauce for this recipe because you’ve already added many of the ingredients, like onions, oregano, and garlic.
Bringing out the Heat & Umami Flavor
In our recipe, we use things like ground cumin, mushroom powder, and smoked paprika to provide savory flavors. However, in other recipes, you may see things like soy sauce or cocoa powder added. These primarily help with color or rounding out the flavor. They are totally optional in this recipe, but feel free to add them if you’d like!
The worst part about getting chili when you’re out to eat somewhere is that you never know how spicy it will be! The best part about making this at home is that you can adjust the spice to the level you want. This recipe is pretty mild, but if you want to add things like red pepper flakes or chipotle powder, you’re more than welcome to adjust to your liking.
Sustainability & Nutrition Info
Most chili recipes use some type of ground meat, like beef or turkey, but both contribute to carbon emissions and greenhouse gases with industrial farming. Carbon emissions are a common measure to compare the environmental impact based on different types of emissions. By using a texturized vegetable protein, we are drastically reducing the CO2E impact from this dish and the resources needed to produce it.
The great benefit about this dish is that the high protein content at 21g per ensures the dish will fill you up, but it isn’t calorie dense at 340 calories per serving. There is also 16g of dietary fiber from this meal, so it will be sure to keep you balanced. If you choose, you can top it with healthy fats like avocado. Or if you want something a little more indulgent, you can opt for your preferred regular or non-dairy sour cream and shredded cheese.
Vegan TVP Chili Recipe
- 1 onion minced
- 2 black jalapenos
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1.5 cups cooked black beans
- 15 oz can diced tomateos petitie
- 1 can corn 15 oz
- 1 can diced green chilis small
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup TVP
- 1 Cup water
- 1 tsp ground Cumin
- 1 tsp dried Oregano
- 1/2 tsp mushroom powder
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika regular paprika will work too
- 1/2 tsp Chili powder
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
- Take your TVP and add it to a bowl
- Pour room temperature water over the TVP and mix together with a spoon or spatula
- Let sit for 15 minutes to hydrate
- Heat your olive oil in a large pot over medium heat
- Add your minced onion to the pan and saute onion until brown
- Mince your black jalapeÃ±os, and garlic and a pinch of salt
- Add the hydrated TVP to the mix
- Add 3 tbsp tomato paste
- Next the cooked beans
- Mix together
- Add mushroom powder, chili powder, paprika, and ground cumin
- Add your corn and petite diced tomatoes with the liquid
- Add crushed tomatoes and diced green chilis
- Mix together and let simmer for 30 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
What to Serve with Vegan TVP Chili
Chili is a hearty dish on its own, but it’s always nice to have something to eat it with. You can eat this vegan chili with tortilla chips, corn chips, or cornbread. If you’re vegan, some great vegan cornbread recipes exist, so you might have to make it yourself since you won’t usually find it at the grocery store.
Vegan TVP Chili Recipe Variations
This recipe yields A LOT of chili! You can freeze it for a later date, or stay tuned to see how we turn this into a vegetarian chili Mac.
For other variations, feel free to adjust the spice level to your liking.
You can also interchange black beans with pinto or red kidney beans, but I personally prefer black beans.
Storing the Chili
Since chili recipes tend to be in big batches, you can freeze this recipe for a later date. Just make sure however you store it, frozen or refrigerated, that it is in an airtight container.
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