Easy Vegan Southwestern-Style Chili Recipe

Photo Credit: Allyson Kramer
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 8 servings

Cooking chili easily can be an all-day affair, but this vegan chili is not only effortless but versatile.

Slowly simmering the ingredients is what generally gives chili its rich and irresistible flavor. In this recipe, pre-made salsa, which is packed with flavor, is used to quickly and easily replicate the taste of chili that has simmered all day long.

For best flavor and texture, seek out​ a salsa that is available in the refrigerated sections of your favorite grocery store rather than jarred salsa found on grocers' shelves, which tends to have a "creamier" texture than freshly made.

This recipe calls for textured vegetable protein (TVP), but if you find yourself with other types of vegan meat substitutes on hand, feel free to use them or simply add more mushrooms.

If you're not a fan of black beans, try pinto, kidney, chickpeas, or a variety of cooked beans in place of them.


  • 1 cup
  • TVP, soaked with 7/8 cup water or as instructed on package
  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil, such as olive or canola
  • 1/2 cup chopped cremini or button mushrooms
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (1.25-ounce) packet 
  • chili seasoning, or 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 (12-ounce) containers fresh mild salsa
  • 1 (16 -ounce) can vegetarian refried beans
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup shredded vegan cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large pot or shallow stockpot, add the soaked TVP, cooking oil, cremini or button mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

  3. Toss well using a small spatula and then cook over medium to medium-high heat until the TVP is browned and the mushrooms are tender about 4 to 5 minutes.

  4. Add the packet of chili seasoning and cook an additional 1 minute over medium heat.

  5. Add the salsa, refried beans, tomatoes, black beans, and cheese. Stir well to combine while cooking over medium heat.​

  6. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to cook for an additional 15 minutes, and up to 30, stirring often to prevent the chili from sticking and burning.

  7. Remove from heat and allow to cool briefly. Before serving, top with cilantro and any other toppings you enjoy (crushed tortilla chips, guacamole, vegan sour cream, etc.).

  8. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to four days in the refrigerator. To freeze, transfer to an airtight freezer-safe container and store up to two months in the freezer.

  9. To thaw, simply heat over medium heat in a saucepan until warmed throughout.

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