Vegan Chili with Gluten-Free Pasta

I like to think of myself as a bit of a chili connoisseur. I have been making chili with my brother since I could practically walk, and we have perfected the recipe over the years (always using our three key ingredients: dark chocolate, beer, and ketchup). Traditionally made with ground turkey, different types of beans and a hearty pasta, this vegetarian version satisfies even more than the original.

While chili is usually reserved for the winter months, it is a great, heart healthy dinner that can be enjoyed year round and will keep you satisfied for hours on end. Beans are a perfect food full of fiber, protein, and iron. Experiment with different beans (in this recipe, I use red beans and black beans) to see what type you love best. If using canned beans instead of fresh, always look for organic, lower-sodium varieties. The addition of a gluten-free beer like Green’s gives the perfect kick.

Large pot
Chef’s knife
*Buy organic if you can, here’s why.

2 Tbsp. olive oil or coconut oil
1/2 small yellow or white onion, chopped (here’s a tip)
1 large red pepper, chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1 cup pale beer (try Green’s gluten-free beer) or low-sodium veggie broth
1 large can crushed or diced tomatoes (I also slice a few fresh tomatoes and toss in)
1 large can organic black beans, drained
2-3 cans organic red beans, drained
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. salt-free chili powder (or more, to taste)
1 Tbsp. cayenne hot pepper sauce (optional) or cayenne pepper
1 can spicy vegetarian refried beans (look for lower-sodium varieties)
Chopped scallions for topping
Dollop of vegan sour cream (optional) OR Daiya cheese
Gluten-free elbow macaroni (optional)
1-3 tbsp. flour for thickening (optional)

Let’s get started.

1. Over medium heat, add oil to a deep pot and add onion, peppers and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes to soften veggies.

2. Add beer or broth, tomatoes, black beans, red beans and stir to combine. Season chili with cumin, chili powder, and hot sauce. Cover and cook for a few minutes.

3. Thicken chili by stirring in refried beans.

4. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes (or longer), then serve, topped with fresh scallions and vegan sour cream!! Add flour to thicken chili if needed.

Note: If you want pasta, start water once all chili ingredients are cooking. Try the amazing gluten-free pasta, Ancient Harvest Quinoa Elbow Macaroni.
Check out more from Rea on ReaFrey.com

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  1. I have heard that canned tomatoes are horrible for your health. The acid in the tomatoes leech the BPA from the metal all too easily, getting levels of 50 mcg of BPA into your body from one can! That’s a lot!

    • Hi there Laura,
      We too, have read quite a bit about canned foods which is why we rarely, if ever recommend canned foods as ingredients. This fantastic recipe is one of those exceptions. This site is all about transitioning and maintaining a plant-based diet and many folks just aren’t ready to give up the convenience of canned foods, but for those who are ready, I am sure that this recipe would work well with the same amount of fresh tomatoes to replace the canned. I make fresh tomato sauces all the time and will be posting a few soon. Worked out a simple sweet tomato sauce and a vodka sauce the past few months, so stay tuned.

      This is a great recipe, so give it a try with a few of your own adaptations, like fresh tomatoes, and let us know what you think!

  2. I’m scared of canned tomatoes, too. So when I don’t have fresh, I go with pureed or diced tomatoes in glass. At my store, they are usually right next to the canned tomatoes. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  3. Linda Sheridan

    My understanding is that Muir Glen tomatoes are now BPA free –

  4. Hi, ladies. I made this again last night using only fresh organic vine tomatoes. It was delicious and not lacking on flavor at all! So scrap the canned tomatoes and cut up some fresh – I used about 6.

  5. I made this the other night and it was delicious. Had plenty leftover, but how many people would you say the recipes serves?

  6. Kerry B

    Made this tonight with the jalapeno bread and they were both fantastic! I have loved every recipe of yours that I have tried. Thanks!

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