The BEST Vegan Ground Beef Chili Recipe (Tastes Meaty!!)

LIMITED TIME OFFER: Join the planet friendly plant based diet!

Start today for only $9.49

Finding a good chili recipe can be life-changing and something you will, in fact, recreate for life. Sounds dramatic, but that’s how finding good recipes of firm your favourites works in our opinion.

This best vegan ground beef chili recipe tastes meaty and delicious. So meaty and delicious and with such great texture that you’d never guess you weren’t eating a meat based version. You really wouldn’t!

A good vegan, chili con carne recipe is something everyone needs under their belt. Knocking up a fast and easy chili is a great way to feed lots of people, or a large family, and keep everyone satisfied. Learning how to knock up everyone’s favourite dishes to be plant based versions is a great skill to have if you are plant based or vegan yourself. This means that you don’t have to make different food for yourself and others, which let’s face it, is a royal pain in the butt.

What Can I Substitute For Meat In A Chili?

bowl of chili

The great thing about chili is the fact that you can so easily make it completely meat free and 100% plant based. There are all kind of substitutes you can use instead of meat, and indeed you can just completely skip the meat and just go for just the beans in much larger quantity.

Here are some examples:-

  • Crumbled tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Mushrooms and chopped walnuts
  • Frozen soy mince
  • Textured vegan protein
  • Extra beans of different varieties
  • Finely chopped veggies such as carrots, onions, peppers and celery.
  • Dried vegan proteins such as soy and fava beans.
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils

For this particular vegan, ground beef chili we will be using organic, dried soy mince simply because it has the best texture we have experimented with so far (and we’ve done a LOT of experimenting). Using the dried soy mince has given the closest ‘ meat like’ texture we have tasted.

You really do feel like you are eating a meat chili when you make it as per our recipe below. The dried soy mince works way better than the frozen vegan mincemeat versions because it retains a chewy texture, not unlike real beef mince.

You can serve this chili to non vegans and we can pretty much GUARANTEE that they will not be able to tell the difference. That’s how confident we are about this delicious, plant based chili recipe.

Secret To A Good Chili Ingredients

cacao beans

Most people have their own ‘secret’ ingredients for staple dishes, and this recipe is no different.

In fact, if you want this chili to taste as meaty as possible, then we recommend that you follow this recipe exactly and you will not be disappointed. The only thing you can potentially substitute that will make this recipe better is to use your own, homemade red sauce instead of the canned tomatoes.

Our secret ingredients that take this chili into the stratosphere are the addition of a little decaffeinated coffee granules and some kind of dark chocolate or chocolate powder. These two rich flavours work in harmony to give your chili a robust depth of flavour that’s taken on by the soy mince.

You can either use 25 grams of 85% cacao dark chocolate, or 1 tbsp of cacao powder or even carob powder (our preferred choice, as it’s a whole food and caffeine free). If you want to keep this dish whole foods plant based and oil free, then be sure to use the 100% cacao or carob powder and not the dark chocolate. Either way, it’s in such a tiny amount that it will make minimal difference to the oil content of the over-all dish.

Best Chili peppers To Use In Chili Con Carne

We have used jalepeno chilis in this recipe because they are usually not too hot and not too mild. However, this isn’t an exact science and you should always check the heat of your chili peppers before adding them to any dish, for obvious reasons.

If fresh chilis are not available, then feel free to use chili powder, cayenne pepper or chili flakes instead. Remember that amounts and strengths may differ according to different brands and different tastes.

If in doubt, add all chili (no matter what form it’s in) slowly and check the heat before adding more.

Chili Health Benefits

Chilis are a healthful food and contain unique antioxidant and health benefits.

According to Healthline, chilis contain the following benefits and are a great addition to your healthy lifestyle.

Vitamins and minerals

Chilis are a high source of vitamin C, B6, K1, potassium, copper and vitamin A.

Antioxidant carotenoids

Chilis contain the bioactive plant compounds capsanthin (high in antioxidants), violaxanthin (high in carotenoids), lutein (for eye health, capsaicin, sinapic acid (high in antioxidants) and ferulic acid (high in antioxidants).

Pain relief

Due to its capsaicin content, chili peppers may offer a certain amount of pain relief. This is due to the fact it can bind with pain receptors (which are nerve endings) to help with pain relief by burning them without causing injury. It can be especially helpful for heartburn and acid reflux.

Weight loss

Chili is one of the spices in our fat burning spicy mix and can help reduce appetite and boost the fat burning process.

The humble chili has also been shown in studies to reduce calorie intake, which will ultimately mean weight loss over time. Studies vary in regards to weight loss with chili, but when using it alongside other known fat burning spices it can have an effect. Probably a good excuse to eat a spice rich curry regularly too!

Best sides to serve with your chili

Of course, you can eat a good chili recipe as it is with no sides, but there are also many to choose from that will help fill you up and bulk your portions out. Healthy sides include:-

  • Brown rice
  • Baked potatoes
  • Crispy, roast potatoes
  • Baked sweet potatoes
  • Potato wedges
  • Sweet potato wedges
  • Cornbread
  • Tortilla chips
  • Extra jalepenos
  • Dairy free, sour cream
  • Use mix for enchiladas
  • Guacamole
  • Cracked wheat
  • Quinoa
  • Boiled millet
  • Amaranth
  • Pasta

The BEST Vegan Ground Beef Chili Ever! (Tastes Meaty)

A 'meaty' textured chili con carne recipe made with no meat and 100% whole foods plant based.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 6
Calories 250 kcal


  • 1 large, non stick pan
  • 1 Wooden spoon
  • 1 heat proof bowl
  • 1 sharp, chopping knife


  • 125 g dried, organic soy mince The dried soy mince is important here because this is what will give you the best, meat-like texture.
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 2 tins hopped tomatoes
  • 2 tins red kidney beans
  • 2-3 cups vegetable stock or broth
  • 3 rounded tbsp tomato paste
  • 5 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1-2 fresh green jalepeno chilis If you don't have fresh chili you can substitute with cayenne pepper, chili flakes or chili powder to taste.
  • 3 tbsp paprika powder
  • 1 heaped tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 heaped tbsp cacao or carob powder Or, you can use around 25g of 85% cacao solids chocolate.
  • ½ tsp decaffeinated coffee granules
  • Ground black pepper

To serve

  • Jacket potato/brown rice, chopped bell peppers, finely chopped, red onions, chopped avocados, fresh coriander, lemon juice and tortilla chips to serve.


  • Thinly slice and dice your onion and start sweating down in  a large non-stick saucepan. There is no need to use oil in order to do this, instead use splashes of hot water to prevent sticking a drying out.
    Add you crushed garlic and thinly sliced chilis and keep frying until golden and soft.
  • In the meantime, add your dried soy mince to a separate bowl and cover with boiling water for one minute only.
    Drain and add to your onion mixture in the saucepan and fry for a further minute or so.
  • Now add the rest of your ingredients and stir well. Leave to simmer covered on a very low heat for 20 minutes so that all the delicious flavours can infuse.
    Stir occasionally and add more water if required to desired consistency.
  • Serve with jacket potato or rice.
    Top with fresh coriander, chopped bell peppers, avocado, lemon juice and finely sliced, red onions.


Keyword authentic chili, easy dinners, family favourite, healthy, meat free chili recipe, oil free, plant based chili recipe, Spicy, vegan chili, WFPB

meal plans

Thanks for visiting ZestForever today!

We hope you enjoy our delicious and always nutritious, plant based recipes.

If you like this chili, then please feel free to share it with your friends.

Let’s bring about a plant based revolution!

Share this post with your friends.

Leave a Comment

LIMITED TIME OFFER: Join the planet friendly plant based diet!

Start today for only $1

Shopping Cart

Go ahead and sign up to our mailing list to get a FREE eBook PLUS our delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
You won't regret it!

Wait! Before You Leave, Grab yourself a FREE Fast & Easy Recipes eBook...

Scroll to Top