This meaty vegan chili recipe is so easy to make and is a powerhouse of nutrients. It’s mild enough for little kids, but is easy to turn up the heat by adding a dash of hot sauce at the table. In addition to beans, this chili contains seitan and mushrooms in lieu of meat. Seitan is also known as wheat meat. It’s made from vital wheat gluten, the protein part of wheat. Seitan contains a whopping 29 grams of protein per serving, with no cholesterol and only 2 grams of fat! Mushrooms lend another layer of meaty texture as well as rich umami flavor.
Serve this chili topped with diced avocado and a dab of unsweetened soy yogurt to add cooling richness. A sprinkle of shredded vegan cheddar adds that familiar look and another layer of richness. A touch of fresh cilantro adds a bit of bright, fresh flavor.
I hope you and your family love this hearty, homemade chili as much as we do. Please give it a try and leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 1 (10-ounce) package sliced white button or crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 (15-ounce) cans chili beans, drained and rinsed (chili beans are a mix of kidney, pinto and black beans)
- 2 (28-ounce) cans fire-roasted crushed tomatoes (Muir Glen Brand)
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (I like Imagine Brand)
- 1 (8-ounce) package seitan, drained, rinsed and finely diced into ¼’ inch pieces (I use Sweet Earth brand Traditional flavor strips or slices)
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 (5-ounce) box baby spinach, chopped
- Garnishes: Sliced avocado, unsweetened soy yogurt, shredded vegan cheddar and fresh cilantro
- In a large pot, sauté onion in a couple tablespoons of water over medium heat for about 3 minutes until slightly tender. Add celery, carrot and mushrooms and cook for another 10 minutes, adding a couple tablespoons of water as needed to prevent sticking, until all vegetables are tender. Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add beans, tomatoes, vegetable broth, seitan, oregano, cumin, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and maple syrup. Cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes until heated through. About 2 minutes before serving, stir in spinach. Allow to wilt. Serve in large, shallow bowls topped with avocado, soy yogurt, shredded vegan cheddar and fresh cilantro.
Nutrition Facts: Both seitan and beans are high in protein. However, unlike animal products, which contain no dietary fiber, beans contain 7 grams of fiber per half cup, helping us reach our goal of at least 40 grams of fiber per day (no, supplements aren’t the same as whole food sources!).
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene – a powerful antioxidant. Spinach is high in non-heme iron. Consuming spinach with foods rich in vitamin C (like tomatoes, strawberries or oranges) makes the non-heme iron in spinach more absorbable.
Spinach also contains dietary nitrates, which help to oxygenate the blood and lower blood pressure[i] by healing our endothelial cells. These cells line the arteries and manufacture nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps our blood to flow smoothly, enabling vigorous physical activity. Dark leafy greens, like spinach, are among the best sources of dietary nitrates.
Recipe by Emily Honeycutt, 2016. © All Rights Reserved. www.emilyhoneycutt.com
[i] V Kapil, R S Khambata, A Robertson, M J Caulfield, A Ahluwalia. Dietary nitrate provides sustained blood pressure lowering in hypertensive patients: a randomized, phase 2, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Hypertension. 2015 Feb;65(2):320-7.