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“Meaty” Whole Food Plant-Based Chili

I didn’t think chili needed meat, I was content with just beans, lentils, corn, whatever. But then I tried adding tofu crumbles, and my mind is changed. The chewiness, the texture! It’s a whole new level of satisfying. As a plant-based parent of children who eat mostly fruit, I also look for ways for my kids to get plant-based proteins. This meal is packed with it!


Chili is easily customizable. If you don’t like spicy chili, this recipe is for you. If you do like spicy (like me!), just sprinkle more cayenne into the pot or your own bowl. If you like green chilies, corn, etc. just add it! You do you!

Make cornbread or these low-fat cornbread muffins to go with it, a green salad like my Pear Pecan Green Salad, and you have a very satisfying winter meal.


5 from 2 votes
"Meaty" Whole Food Plant-Based Chili
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
45 mins

So satisfying!

Keyword: vegan chili
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Faithful Plateful
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 2 TBSP maple syrup
  • 1.5 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lime, juiced (or splash of red wine vinegar)
Tofu "Beef" Crumbles
  • 1 16-oz block extra firm tofu
  • 1 TBSP soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP nutritional yeast
  1. Start tofu crumbles first. Preheat oven to 375. Mix soy sauce and nutritional yeast in a large bowl. Crumble the tofu into it. No need to press it first, the excess liquid will bake out. Stir the tofu until coated in the mixture. Spread it onto a baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes, until brown and crispy.

  2. Meanwhile, saute the onion in a splash of water until soft. Add garlic, spices, and tomato paste, and saute a few minutes more. Add all remaining ingredients, and let it simmer on low for about 30 minutes for flavors to develop.

  3. Stir in the tofu crumbles. Taste and add additional chili powder or cayenne for heat, salt, maple syrup, etc. until it's perfect to you.

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  1. We love chili and decided to try this one with the “meaty” tofu. I pressure-cooked three types of beans in the instant pot, then added the other ingredients and cooked a little longer (without pressure). The tofu was so good, we kept eating little chunks of it before it was time to mix it in. It really is delicious.

  2. This is our go-to recipe for chili! Great way to eat tofu with amazing texture and flavor. I have served this to so many people (both WFPB eaters and nonWFPB eaters) and everyone always loves it. If you are looking for an amazing chili recipe, look no further, THIS IS IT!

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