Jennifer Hanes MS, RDN, LD
Hey there, fellow food enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving into the world of chili, but with a twist – a delicious, hearty, and wholesome “No Bean Vegetarian Chili” recipe.
Whether you’re a die-hard chili fan or just looking for a new meatless option to add to your meal repertoire, you’re in for a treat.
Chili is a comfort food classic, perfect for chilly nights, game-day gatherings, or whenever you’re craving a bowl of warmth and flavor.
But what if you want all that chili goodness without the beans? Maybe you’re following a low-carb or keto diet, or perhaps beans just aren’t your thing. Well, you’re in the right place because we’ve got a fantastic recipe that packs all the chili punch without a single bean in sight.
In this post, we’ll walk you through every step of creating this scrumptious no-bean vegetarian chili. We’ll explore the benefits of going bean-free, discuss the essential ingredients and spices that make this chili sing, and guide you through the preparation and cooking process.
Plus, we’ll throw in some tips and tricks along the way to make your chili-making journey a breeze.
So, grab your apron and your appetite because we’re about to embark on a flavor-packed adventure. Let’s get cooking!
Benefits of No Bean Vegetarian Chili
Choosing to make a no-bean chili recipe can have a few benefits for us. In particular, because vegetarians often use beans as a source of protein, choosing a no-bean option will allow for some variety.
This is important for many aspects of our health, especially in keeping the gut microbiome happy.
In addition to a different fiber makeup, this no-bean vegetarian chili will give you a healthy dose of omega-3 fats and a different texture than you’re used to eating in chili.
It is also lower in carbohydrates, potentially allowing someone who is carb-counting for diabetes to have a larger portion or include a source of carbs on the side, such as cornbread.
Why No Beans?
We also have to think about those of us that don’t digest beans well. Those with IBS know that beans are high in FODMAPs, meaning that they can trigger uncomfortable digestive symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation, gas, and bloating in some people.
This is not to say that beans are bad for everyone, but it’s nice to have an option available for those who need it!
For this recipe, we’ll be using 2 recipes of my walnut meat as our protein source, with a bit of a modification.
Additionally, we will be using eggplant, mushrooms of your choice (I used oyster and enoki), an onion, 2 bell peppers, canned diced tomatoes, canned chipotle in adobo sauce, and a variety of spices. We’re going for a smoky flavor!
The beauty of a chili is that it is easily customizable. Add more or less heat or spice and change out the veggies if you want!
This recipe uses my walnut meat recipe to replace ground beef but with a couple of alterations. First, we’re going to add some seasonings to make it more suitable for chili. Make that recipe as written, but add the spices suggested in this recipe. Also, double it.
Additionally, I find that the texture of the final product is better when the walnuts are very finely ground, so definitely use the food processor instead of your knife.
Either will work, but if the walnuts are bigger, you’ll get a crunch that I don’t necessarily mind, but my husband finds off-putting.
Essentially, we will be sauteeing the vegetables, starting with the onion and ending with the peppers. Allowing them to soften. Make sure you’re adding salt as you go to develop your flavor! We then add the liquid and spices and let it sit!
I like to chop all the ingredients at once, so I’m ready to just add to the pot. Try to get everything roughly
Flavorful Spices and Seasonings
I have included the usual chili suspects here: chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and dried oregano. Additionally, I love a bit of dark cocoa powder in chili.
I do NOT like cinnamon, so it’s not here, but it is a common chili spice as well.
Within these guidelines, you can adjust to your preferences. Consider swapping chili powder for dried chipotle for more spice. If it’s not smoky enough for you, increase the smoked paprika, choose smoked salt, or add a little bit of liquid smoke.
the same size, although I did dice my eggplant a bit larger than the rest of the ingredients.
I like to start with the onion and sear it on high. This will give soft onions with some char on them, contributing a bit of extra flavor. Turn down the heat before adding the eggplant.
This is totally optional though, and you’d be fine to just cook everything on medium heat.
You’ll be cooking the produce in this order: onion, eggplant, mushrooms and garlic, then bell peppers. You can add the canned diced tomatoes and as much or as little of the chipotle at the same time as the peppers.
Always allow the vegetables to soften a bit before adding the next set.
My son doesn’t do well with spice, so I only added about 1.5 tsp of the adobe sauce from the chipotles to my chili. However, if you want it spicier, or smokier, you can add more sauce, or even include the chipotles themselves.
After all the veggies are in, add your broth and spices and let it cook!
If you wanted to make this even easier, you could simply dump everything in a slow cooker and cook on low for ~6 hours.
Serving and Garnishing
You can serve this chili right after you make it. However, chili is ALWAYS better the next day. Just reheat in the pot by simmering for ~10 minutes or zap it in the microwave.
I like chili topped with cheese, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), and either cilantro or green onions.
You could also consider crumbled crackers, sliced or diced avocado, or jalapeno cornbread!
This chili is full of fiber, unsaturated fat, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals!
While the walnuts do provide some protein, it may be a bit low for some people. But remember that your toppings can add some as well.
Variations and Adaptations
To adapt your no-bean vegetarian chili determine what your likes and needs are first.
Swap out a vegetable you don’t like for another one, for instance, zucchini instead of eggplant.
If you need a higher protein content, you can always choose a different protein source, such as soy crumbles, tempeh, seitan, or beans (lol). Obviously, many of these options counteract the “no-bean” part of this recipe, but if you’re okay with it, go on ahead!
This recipe is gluten-free and vegan, as long as you watch your toppings.
Finally, I intended this chili to be pretty thick. I you prefer a chili with a soup consistency, simply add more broth.
No Bean Vegetarian Chili
- 1 large pot or Dutch oven
- 2 recipes walnut meat https://www.dietitianjenn.com/walnut-meat/
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp chili powder
For the Chili
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Sweet Onion diced
- 1 Eggplant diced
- 8 oz Oyster Mushrooms
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 Red Bell Pepper diced
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper diced
- 1 14 oz can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
- chipotle in adobo sauce
- 2 cups vegetable or mushroom broth
- 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- ½ tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Cocoa Powder
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- fresh cilantro chopped, for garnish
- Grated cheese, sour cream, Greek yogurt, avocado, or lime wedges for optional toppings
- Prepare the walnut meat, according to the recipe. Add cumin, smoked paprika, and chili powder
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the diced onion and sauté for 6-7 minutes until the onion becomes translucent.
- Add the diced eggplant and cook for about 5 minutes, until slightly softened.
- Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes, until the mushrooms release their moisture and start to brown.
- Stir in the diced red and yellow bell peppers, canned diced tomatoes, and chipotles in adobo sauce.
- Pour in the vegetable broth and add the walnut meat and spices. Mix well.
- Bring the chili to a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the vegetables to soften.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed with more salt, pepper, or spices.
- Serve the chili hot, garnished with chopped cilantro or parsley. You can also offer grated cheese, sour cream, Greek yogurt, avocado slices, or lime wedges on the side for extra flavor.
*Nutrition Facts are an estimate only. Differences are expected when making substitutions for any ingredient or when different brands are used.
And there you have it, folks! We hope you’re now armed with the knowledge and inspiration to whip up a hearty, bean-free bowl of chili that’ll satisfy your taste buds and warm your soul.
Remember, cooking is an art, and recipes are mere guidelines. Feel free to get creative with your chili by adding your favorite veggies or experimenting with different spices.
The beauty of this dish is its versatility, and it can easily adapt to your tastes and dietary needs.
We hope this no-bean vegetarian chili becomes a staple in your kitchen. If you have any questions, comments, or success stories to share, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section.
Stay tuned for more mouthwatering recipes, cooking tips, and foodie adventures. Until next time, happy cooking and happy eating!
What a loaded question! People have a lot of strong opinions about beans in chili. In Texas, it’s generally considered sacrilege to include beans in chili. To me, chili is more about the spices, particularly the inclusion of peppers.
So really, the answer is, it depends!
This is another one of those questions that can be answered with “it depends.”
Some people have a lot of difficulty digesting beans, finding that they are a big trigger for their IBS symptoms. For those, people, it probably is healthier to exclude beans.
However, for most of us, the fiber and phytochemicals found in beans can only add to the health of any dish.
Traditional chili is made with beef, so no, vegetarians don’t eat traditional chili. Luckily, it’s a recipe that isn’t hard to “vegetarianize.”
Basically, all you need to do is decide on an alternative protein, switch to vegetable or mushroom broth, and add some umami!
Jennifer Hanes MS, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian, mom, wife, and vegetarian in North Texas. She has dedicated Dietitian Jenn to be a source of information, ideas, and inspiration for people like her, vegetarians that live with people with different dietary beliefs and/or needs in a multivore household.