Some people insist that proper chili has to have meat in it. No way! We’re about beans all the way, and these protein-packed beauties mean chili can be just the hearty, tasty and 100% vegan dish you’re looking for. So put down the sour cream, step away from the cheese and forget about ground beef. We’re serving up some of our favorite recipes that are totally plant based. Whether you’re a full-time vegan or just looking for something different for dinner, you’ll love these creative recipes.

Thick and Hearty Pinto Bean Chili

This dish is a classic chili, full of pinto beans, tomatoes (including tomato sauce to make it nice and thick) and tons of spices. It uses a hint of cocoa powder, which deepens the flavor of the chili. It also uses smoked Spanish paprika, which is nothing like that orange stuff you sprinkle on top of deviled eggs. It really brings a smoky, woodsy flavor that makes your chili pop. The other important ingredient is dried New Mexico chilies. Mildly spicy, they add new layers of flavor and just the right level of spice.

Pinto Bean Mole Chili

Like the last recipe, this chili includes pinto beans and chocolate. But unlike the hint of cocoa powder above, this uses real unsweetened chocolate, which creates a rich and complex base to the chili. It’s not sweet, but instead has a deep, dark flavor. This vegan chili is also bursting with veggies–tomatoes, zucchini and kale make this a seriously healthy choice. Don’t forget to add a sprinkle of orange zest for a bright, clean finish to the rich dish.

Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

We can’t get enough of chewy, nutty quinoa. This grain adds bulk to soups and stews and adds even more protein to a dish–a must for vegans. This recipe also adds both black and kidney beans; their difference in sizes makes for a fun texture when eating this chili. Add in zucchini, two colors of bell pepper and carrot and you have a dish that’s more sweet than spicy, but just as satisfying.

What’s your favorite vegan chili recipe?

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