Yummy Stuff: Vegetarian Chili


It’s cold outside. You probably need to eat less meat. Have no fear. You do not have to sacrifice flavor or heartiness (or texture) in this healthy vegetarian version of a rich chili. It’s one of my favorite recipes, adapted over years of trial and error. The secret ingredients include Guinness beer, molasses, and a good-quality cocoa powder, and lots of cans (make sure you have a can opener handy!).

This makes a very large batch of mild chili (aka kid-friendly). Feel free to spice it up if you prefer!

Vegetarian Chili


  • 2 packages meatless ground beef (I like Trader Joe’s brand, found near their tofu and produce area)
  • 1 (15-oz) can kidney beans
  • 2 (15-oz) can black beans
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 or 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 (14-oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 (6-oz) cans tomato paste
  • 1 (14-oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 small can chili peppers (or use a fresh, chopped jalapeño pepper if you like your chili spicier)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 can dark beer (I use 3/4 of a large can of Guinness)

Heat oil in large dutch oven or chili pot. Cook onion and garlic until tender, then add veggie crumbles (fake ground beef) and stir. Add all spices (I usually measure them all out ahead of time, then add all at once), Add tomato sauce, chili peppers (and/or jalapeño pepper), diced tomatoes, broth, molasses, tomato paste, and salt. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Add beans, brown sugar, and finally, beer. If I’m leaving anything out, add that too. Simmer for 2 hours or more, and serve with cornbread, sharp cheddar cheese, and sour cream (or however else you like to eat chili!).


Let me know how you like it!

8 thoughts on “Yummy Stuff: Vegetarian Chili”
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  1. Yummy- this is really different from my basic recipe so I’m really looking forward to changing things up and giving it a try. James is easily sold on anything that incorporates beer, so I’m fairly certain he’ll love it.

    Getting caught up as well and it looks like you had such a nice and peaceful holiday. Such great pictures of everything!

  2. This looks so good and I’m excited to make it, since my chili is often kinda blah, BUT I got to ask what is meatless ground beef? So curious. I love the idea of all these flavors together, Guinness and coco powder, oh my!

  3. Milla, meatless ground beef is just a soy-based product that looks like ground beef and has the same texture, so it satisfies that aspect of chili that I love but is much healthier!

  4. Made this tonight and it was crazy good. The molasses and beer and brown sugar combo gave it such a hearty and rich flavor! My previously-made chilis now pale in comparison. ; )

    Thanks again for sharing! XO.

  5. I’m sure you’re not surpised that I LOVE the sound of this recipe. I will definitely give it a try. I always make chili with ground turkey or grassfed beef, but I am curious about this “meatless ground beef”… Happy New Year to all of you!! I have so much catching up to do on posts!

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