While there is an on-going and probably never-ending debate as to whether or not beans belong in chili. While we obviously endorse beans in chili, it seems both sides of the debate agree that meat in chili is a good thing too! Whether it is chicken, beef, turkey, steak, or any other meat, there is no shortage of great chili recipes with meat.
While that’s fine for meat-eaters, it does put vegetarians in a tough spot for enjoying chili – one of the best winter recipes there is. The addition of a protein to go alongside beans in chili opens up so many possibilities for different takes on chili that unfortunately cannot be enjoyed by those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
But just because someone doesn’t eat meat shouldn’t mean they get left out in the cold when it comes to chili. For non-meat eaters, there is actually an incredibly large world of vegetarian chili recipes out there that are just as exciting and delicious as any meat-based chili recipe.
Winter is the perfect time of year to enjoy a big bowl of chili. So, if your dietary restrictions normally leave you unable to do so, be sure to try some of these vegetarian chili recipes out!
Vegan White Chili
White chili not only usually incorporates chicken but also uses a cream base. So how on Earth are you able to recreate that in a vegetarian-friendly way? The answer comes in this great recipe from Plays Well With Butter, who uses a mixture of almond milk and masa harina, a maize dough that comes from ground corn, to create that signature white and creamy broth that you find in other white chili recipes. Using lots of peppers, hominy, and white beans (our Randall Beans great northern beans are perfect for this recipe) this vegetarian chili has plenty of kick to go around.
Vegan White Bean Chili
Perfect for cold weather, this Randall Beans original recipe puts a twist on our famous traditional white chicken chili! Where many chili recipes have a heavy tomato or cream base, this recipe has a lighter vegetable stock base so it doesn’t sit as heavy after a couple of bowls. Their flavors are so impressive that when we first made this recipe for a group, two people didn’t even realize it was vegan! There are plenty of veggies and great northern beans in the recipe to give this vegetarian chili recipe plenty of body.
Meaty Vegetarian Chili
A “meaty” vegetarian chili may sound like a contradiction, but this recipe is a true misnomer. Pinch of Yum created this out of this world take on vegetarian chili that adds a little something special to the recipe. Ground mushrooms, carrots, and walnuts create a “meat” that is 100% vegetarian but gives it the batch a familiar texture of ordinary chili, making it thick and hearty. The mixture not only feels like meat, but it also helps absorb all the incredible flavors and spices in the pot. They used black beans, but we think black, kidney, or great northern beans would be great too! For a truly one of a kind vegetarian chili recipe, be sure to add this one to your to-make list.
Butternut Squash Chili
Butternut squash is an iconic autumn ingredient and somewhat difficult to find out of season, so make sure you keep this recipe in your back pocket until you can get your hands on some. The wait will be completely worth it! This recipe from A Spicy Perspective pays tribute to Native American heritage with this chili recipe featuring squash, corn, and beans. Thick, rich, and hearty, this vegetarian chili recipe will definitely help keep you warm and full on a cold winter night.
Looking for more vegetarian and meat chili recipes? Grab a free copy of our Ultimate Guide to Chili cookbook below!