This Is the Vegan Chili Every Meat Lover Needs to Make

This mushroom and bean chili recipe is the latest version of probably a dozen or more rich and ‘meaty’ plant-based chilis I’ve been cooking up most of my life. What I always strive to achieve in a good, authentic-tasting chili recipe is a balanced blend of spices, a just-right beans-to-chili ratio, and most important, a rich, hearty texture.

In this chili recipe, the texture is convincingly similar to a conventional chili – containing the animal products I’ve shyed away from. Also, much of the earthy flavor with unami undertones comes from mushrooms. Wait! Before you say, ‘you lost me at mushrooms!’ hear me out. This mushroom and bean chili recipe transforms those fungi! If you couldn’t tell, I’m really determined to prove that mushrooms are the new meat. They are in my house, at least!

So, how do I make this fungi into a meaty meal in terms of texture and flavor? First, you can use any kind of mushrooms, but I recommend a blend of creminis and shitakes. Shitakes can be expensive, but have a wonderful, full-bodied, earthy flavor that’s kind of magical in this chili. They’re worth the expense if you can splurge. Try the farmers market for a good deal, or grow your own, if you’re on a tight budget.

Second, rather than simply slice or rough-chop the mushrooms, we grind them up in a food processor. I imagine you could also do this by hand but it would take much longer. Just make sure to process until you get a nice, fine dice — and then stop. You don’t want to turn them into mush!

When the weather is cold or you simply just need a bowl of serious comfort food, bake up some rustic polenta muffins (or, get wild with a mug cake) and get ready to sop up every last drop of this delicious, satisfying chili. Top it off with cool mint vegan ice cream, almond ricotta and dairy-free chocolate chip stuffed cannolis, or Norwegian cardamom buns, because why the heck not?


This recipe was republished with permission from Elizabeth Shah, Healthy Midwestern Girl.