Vegan Chili With Smart Ground Mock Meat Crumbles

Vegetarian chili with the Smart Ground meat substitute

The Spruce / Jolinda Hackett

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 10 to 12 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
383 Calories
8g Fat
57g Carbs
21g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 383
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 11%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 25mg 8%
Sodium 677mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 57g 21%
Dietary Fiber 9g 34%
Protein 21g
Calcium 98mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you like chili, try this "beefy" vegetarian chili with lots of mock meat for a hearty and "meaty" texture. The Smart Ground brand is easy to use as a beef substitute and has a meat-like texture and taste. The Smart Ground, sometimes called "veggie ground" or even just "soy crumbles" tastes and acts similar to ground beef—just with a lot less fat. You can pan-fry it in a non-stick pan, though you may need to add a bit of oil since the veggie ground itself does not contain fat like ground beef does.

This vegetarian chili with Smart Ground or veggie ground is both low in fat and calories, while still providing plenty of healthy vegetarian protein. Note that if you use Smart Ground crumbles, they are, indeed, vegan. But if using another brand, check the label to read the ingredients list as not all vegetarian meat substitutes are vegan.

This recipe keeps it simple using canned beans, so you skip the time it would take to cook the kidney beans. However, you could prepare it using dried beans if you prefer.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 (12-ounce) package Smart Ground Original (vegetarian meat substitute)
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup green pepper (chopped)
  • 1 cup celery (sliced)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans (drained)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can corn kernels
  • 2 (16-ounce) cans tomatoes (diced or chopped)
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons salt (sea salt or kosher salt is best)
  • Optional toppings: Sliced green onions, vegan cheese or nutritional yeast

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add about 1 tablespoon of oil.

  3. Once the oil is hot, add the Smart Ground meat substitute (crumbling it as you go if it's all stuck together), the chopped onion, chopped green pepper, and sliced celery. Heat for about 2 to 3 minutes, just until onions are slightly translucent, stirring occasionally. Add more of the oil as needed to keep the meat substitute from sticking.

  4. Add in the drained kidney beans, corn kernels, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, minced garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt, stirring to combine well. 

  5. Once the ingredients are well combined and simmering, reduce the heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer for at least 35 minutes, and up to 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  6. Taste and adjust the seasonings. 

  7. Serve hot and enjoy! You can top bowls of chili with sliced green onions, vegan cheese or nutritional yeast.


  • Store leftover chili in the refrigerator, covered, for up to four days. The flavors blend well when it is refrigerated and you may like it even better the next day. Reheat leftover chili in the microwave to enjoy for lunch or dinner. There are many ways you can use up leftover vegetarian chili. Enjoy it on a taco salad, in stuffed green peppers, or on top of a baked potato.
  • You can also freeze individual servings of chili in freezer bowl containers. It should keep in the freezer for four to six months at best quality. After that time, it is still edible but may not taste as good. When you want to enjoy the frozen chili, heat it in the microwave for several minutes.