Vegan Chili with Smart Ground Mock Meat Crumbles

Vegetarian chili with Smart Ground meat substitute
Vegetarian chili with Smart Ground meat substitute.
Ratings (11)
  • Total: 50 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: 10-12 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
383 Calories
8g Fat
57g Carbs
21g Protein
(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. I find that 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 - and you can pan-fry it just the same in a non-stick pan, though you may need to add a bit of oil since the veggie ground itself doesn't contain fat like ground beef does. 

You can see from the nutritional information provided below that 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

Vegetarian Chili with Smart Ground Mock Meat Crumbles recipe and photo courtesy of Lightlife Foods.


  • about 2 Tbsp vegetable oil, or another kind of cooking 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 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp salt (sea salt or kosher salt is best)
  • Optional toppings: Sliced green onions, vegan cheese or nutritional yeast

Steps to Make It

First, heat a large pot over medium heat and warm a bit of oil, about one teaspoon.

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 the celery and heat for about 2-3 minutes, just until onions are lightly translucent, and stirring occasionally

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

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.

Taste, and adjust seasonings to taste. 

Serves: 10-12

Nutritional information, per serving: Fat-2g, Fiber-7g, Sodium-220mg, Carbohydrates-26g, Protein-12g (soy protein 6g), Calories-160.

Like cooking with meat substitutes? Here's my personal favorite vegetarian meat substitutes to try.

Like making homemade chili? Here's a few of my favorite vegetarian and vegan chili recipes to try, including black bean chili, sweet potato chili, vegetable chili, TVP soy chili, tofu chili and more. Enjoy!

See also: Got leftovers? Here's how to use up leftover vegetarian chili.