Vegan Chili

Vegan Chili recipe
You’ve perhaps noticed, especially if you’re vegan too, that I do not cook very often with store-bought meat substitutes. To tell you the truth, I’ve tried seitan, soy meatballs, veggie protein nuggets and almost every product out there meant to satisfy a meat-avoider’s nostalgic tastebuds, and while there is some fairly good stuff out there, most of it doesn’t quite rock my boat.
I also find that what I miss the most is the spices or flavors in the meat dishes I was used to eating, which very often can be replicated in vegetarian dishes with the same, satisfactory results by using the same spices but with “meaty” vegetables like mushrooms and eggplant instead of actual animal parts.Meat substitutes can, however, add heft and valuable protein to a vegan meal. One of the dishes I enjoy eating, and which I make with a meat substitute, is my Red-Hot Chili.This Red-Hot Chili was something I thought of rightaway when Harini or Sunshinemom of TongueTicklers announced her Food in Colors: Red event. This one goes out to her.

I used a veggie protein sausage substitute from Gimme Lean which I found at Whole Foods. I also used beans, which are a traditional ingredient in chili, and eggplant to add more chunky goodness to my version.

We ate Red-Hot Chili piled high on chunky bread with a super-simple salad of cucumber, avocados and onions that’s flavored only with red wine vinegar (try it- it’s delicious).

Thanks, Harini, for inspiring me to revisit a favorite.

Vegan Chili
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8 – 10
  • 1 14-oz package of Gimme Lean sausage-style veggie protein
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 cup cooked pinto beans
  • 1 medium eggplant, cubed
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 3 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, chopped (Cut down if you don’t like your chili too hot. These are important because they add that great smoky flavor. You can find them for a dollar a tin in the Hispanic foods aisle of any supermarket)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1 tbsp canola/vegetable oil
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and garlic and saute on medium heat until softened, around 3-5 minutes.
  2. Crumble the Gimme Lean into the skillet. Stir until the sausage starts to brown, which may take about 5-8 minutes. Try to scrape up anything that sticks to the bottom of the skillet, but don’t panic if all of it doesn’t come off: it will come off later when you add the liquid ingredients, and so long as you don’t burn it over very high heat, it’ll add more fabulous flavor to the chili.
  3. Now add the cubed eggplant and some salt and stir a few more minutes until the eggplant is fairly tender.
  4. Add the beans and the tomatoes and the chipotle chilies.
  5. Stir around for another couple of minutes. Then add 2 cups of water or vegetable stock.
  6. Cook, covered partially, over low heat for around 45 minutes until the chili is quite thick.
  7. Serve hot with salad or just finely diced onions.
  8. Enjoy!
(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

11 thoughts on “Vegan Chili

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    August 10, 2008 at 2:27pm

    Vaishu, thank you for this energy infusing vegan entry! So many of the ingredients are actually foreign to me – chipotle chillies, adobo sauce!! I need to update myself:)

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    August 10, 2008 at 2:34pm

    Chili looks gorgeous V!
    I need to find that chipotle chilies in adobo sauce now..

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    August 10, 2008 at 5:07pm

    Hi, This is a such a great recipe. I can relate to the ‘meat-avoider’s nostalgic tastebuds’ so well..:-) Awesome entry!

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    August 10, 2008 at 5:22pm

    I bought many times Veggie protein sausage and really didn’t like the taste (or may be the smell) even being a non veg eater! I got to try it again! Adding eggplant is a nice twist Vaishu :)

  5. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    August 10, 2008 at 7:02pm

    I’ve never even tried Gimme Lean, but since you endorse it, I might give it a try! Thank you for the recipe. One can never have too many chili recipes!

  6. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    August 10, 2008 at 10:27pm

    awesome chili vaishali! Looks so colorful.

  7. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    August 11, 2008 at 12:34am

    I always love ur recipes because they are different.Love that enticing colour of the dish.

  8. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    August 11, 2008 at 5:07pm

    Looks hot and spicy. so good. book marked.

  9. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Mansi Desai

    August 11, 2008 at 6:30pm

    that looks great vaishali! I gotta try and get my hands on that veggie-protein-sausage:)D

Thank you for visiting Holy Cow! I love hearing from you, so take a moment to say hello or tell me what you thought of this post. Thank you!