Mouthwatering Meatless Chili Sin Carne (vegan)
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You may think of this as a vegan chili con carne, but to be more accurate it’s actually a chili sin carne recipe (or meatless chili) as ‘sin carne’ means without meat.
According to Merriam-Webster, chili is the US spelling, chilli is used in the UK and Spanish-speaking countries use chile – who knew!
Chilli, or chili, or chile? – I don’t really mind how you spell it, I just want to eat it, don’t you?
This mouthwatering vegan chili sin carne is great vegan comfort food (and one of our fave plant-based high protein dinner recipes). It’s that delicious you won’t even miss the meat, I promise!
Let’s jump straight in there with the plant-based protein that is going to leave you feeling deliciously full between meals.
The lentils and red kidney beans ensure the chili is hearty, they’re a great meat substitute.
Although this is a vegan meal, it would also work well if you were looking for vegetarian Mexican recipes too, as it is packed with veggies (if you like this, you’ll probably enjoy these veggie quesadillas too)!
We’ve got onion, green bell pepper, garlic, chili, or jalapeno (leave out those seeds if you don’t like really spicy food!), and sweet corn.
Not only canned tomatoes but also sundried tomatoes as well as tomato paste. These concentrated varieties really give the chili an extra punch of flavor. This has the making of one delicious vegan chili!
Herbs and Spices
It’s all about the cumin. I’m not saying you have to use a lot of it (in fact, it’s important not to use too much), but it’s the game changer.
In this particular dish, all the spices and herbs add their own unique element, but when the cumin hits the pan everything comes together.
With oregano and paprika as well, these simple ingredients are going to make the perfect meal.
Traditionally in Mexico, chilli is made using dried chilies. Interestingly, in a traditional Texan chili, the focus is on the chilies and the meat, they don’t add any tomatoes or beans as we tend to in Europe.
We’re going to top it off with a drizzle of maple syrup to balance out that sourness.
How many calories are in chili sin carne?
There are 367 calories in chili sin carne.
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It’s not just tasty – this delicious recipe is a nutritional powerhouse. Who said a vegan recipe can’t deliver? Just one small serving packs an amazing 28.5g of protein – that’s a serious amount.
Add over half your iron and vitamin A count for the day, and double your vitamin C – and you’ve got something really good going on.
Fiber is a really important part of any diet, and the average American gets waaaay below the optimal amount.
But it’s really easy to add to your intake, and this chili sin carne does that with a full day’s worth in one serving.
Fiber protects against heart disease, diabetes, diverticular disease, and others. Time to get munching!
Finally, the protein from the lentils and beans is going to be great to keep you feeling fuller for longer – a key tool if you’re looking to lose some extra pounds.
How to make the best vegan bean chili
Here’s a quick summary of how to make it!
- Prep work: Dice the onion, garlic, bell pepper, chilli, and dried tomatoes.
- Cook work: Fry them in a pan for 3 minutes on low heat. Add the broth and water, rinsed and drained beans, lentils, sweetcorn, and chopped tomatoes, and stir well.
- Season and simmer: Add the tomato paste and season with herbs and spices. Simmer on medium heat for 20 mins, stirring occasionally. Optional but really nice: add maple syrup.
- To finish: Season with salt and pepper and serve with rice or toasted bread on the side and a dollop of vegan sour cream and sliced avocado if desired.
For the full recipe see the card below.
Veggie Chilli Con Carne FAQs
What to serve with sin carne chili?
I’ve paired this dish with rice or toasted tortillas, but you could also use cauliflower rice. It’s a fantastic low-carb alternative to traditional rice and packs even more vegetable goodness into the dish.
There’s also nothing heartier than a baked potato or sweet potato topped with homemade chili. It’s a quick and easy way to serve up vegan chili leftovers – just pop a potato in the oven or microwave, heat up your chili, and enjoy.
Check out our guide to cooking the ultimate microwave-baked potato for tips on how to master the perfect potato.
Is homemade chili healthy?
Yes, homemade chili can be very healthy, if you add various veggies, healthy proteins, and not too much oil and cheese.
Protein, among other things, can help build muscle, so if that is one of your goals check out my FREE 7-day High-Protein Meal Plan for loads more inspiration.
Can I lose weight eating chili?
Like all weight loss success stories, it is often based around a lifestyle that puts you in a caloric deficit. For main courses, I suggest around 500 calories is fine.
This Mexican dish is only 370 calories per serving (if you only stick to the toppings I suggested, making it the perfect comfort food on a weight loss journey. You can even add some rice or tortillas making it 500kcal per serving
For more ideas download this 7-day weight loss meal plan for FREE!
How to store and reheat chili?
Chili can be stored in an airtight container for a few days in the fridge.
If you’re reheating it in the microwave make sure to use a microwave-safe bowl and get it piping hot before eating.
Can you make chili ahead of time?
Yes, you can easily make chili ahead of time so it would be a great one to meal prep in a big batch if you’re short on time in the week.
Variations and Alternatives
There are so many good ways you could jazz this meal up if you wanted to. Here are some great ideas to try,
- Use a combination of beans – perhaps pinto beans or black beans
- Swap out the veggies listed for whatever leftover veggies you have in the house
- If you’re new to vegan food and you really miss the meat, try using vegan mince instead of the lentils
- Why not top it with lime juice, tortilla chips, fresh cilantro, or give it an extra kick with some hot sauce?
This really is my go-to chili recipe. There are so many pantry staples you could throw in it makes it great fun cooking it for my family and friends.
More Mexican Recipes
Check out more of my delicious recipes:
- Love Mexican? Arriba! – Healthy Mexican Bean Stew
- Tasty tacos! – Sweet Potato Tacos
- More vegan inspo? – 50 Vegan Mexican Recipes
- Delicious Refried Beans
What Our Readers Are Saying
I loved this recipe, it’s the first time I made a chilli without powder and I will be be staying with this one. All my friends are asking for the recipe. Thank you for giving me a simple recipe with everyday household ingredientsLeonard Cooper ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Just made this. So easy, so delicious. Thank you!Maverick Roberts ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This was delicious and I can’t believe it actually tastes better than my usual meat chili con carne. Thank God I found this recipe. It has saved my life since turning vegan cause the kids devoured it along with cashew sour cream. Yum! Thank you so much!Liz ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- 1 onion
- 1 bell pepper, green
- 1-2 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 chili / jalapeño
- 5-6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil (drained)
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup brown lentils, cooked (1 cup = 1 can 15oz/400g)
- 1 can kidney beans (1 can = 15oz/435g)
- ½ can sweet corn (1 can = 15oz/435g)
- 1 can tomatoes (1 can = 14 oz/400g)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp cumin, ground
- 2 tsp paprika powder
- 2 tsp oregano (fresh, frozen, dry – all work – use more if fresh)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 avocado (for garnish)
- Dice the onion, garlic, bell pepper, chilli and dried tomatoes into small pieces. Then throw all these ingredients into a pan with oil and fry them for 3 minutes on a low heat.1 onion, 1 bell pepper, green, 1-2 clove garlic, 1 chili / jalapeño, 5-6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, 1 tbsp olive oil
- Add the broth and water, rinsed and drained beans, lentils, sweetcorn and chopped tomatoes and stir well.1 cup vegetable broth, ½ cup water, 1 cup brown lentils, cooked, 1 can kidney beans, 1 can tomatoes, ½ can sweet corn
- Add the tomato paste and season with salt, pepper, cumin, paprika powder and oregano. Really nice if you add maple syrup. Let it all simmer on medium heat for 20 mins, stirring occasionally.1 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tsp cumin, ground, 2 tsp paprika powder, 2 tsp oregano, Salt and pepper to taste, 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
- Season with salt and pepper and serve with rice, toasted bread on the side, a dollop of (vegan) sour cream and sliced avocado if desired.1 avocado
There you have it, a vegan chili recipe that is sure to warm your cockles on a cold day (and if you like this, be sure to try our other vegetarian stew recipes here!). It really is a great recipe I’m sure you’ll agree.
Take a look at this compilation for more vegan dinner ideas.
And if you’re wondering, yes, it’s vegan and yes, that means it’s a vegetarian chili con carne too!
I was actually going to make chili today, then realized I was low on beans. Now I have a new recipe to make tomorrow so it all worked out. Looks delicious!
This sounds delicious! I love a good chili recipe, I love loading mine up too. Avocado, cilantro, corn chips and of course a sauce!
I loved this recipe, it’s the first time I made a chilli without powder and I will be be staying with this one. All my friends are asking for the recipe. Thank you for giving me a simple recipe with everyday household ingredients
That’s great Leonard!! I’m really happy to hear it. Yes, totally – great food doesn’t need to be so processed 🙂
I LOOOOOVE chili! This one looks so hearty and delicious! And I’m really liking the addition of sun-dried tomatoes…super yummy!
this is such a great recipe..this can be made in bulk and used throughout the week right? its so hearty..
The lentils really add a great mouthfeel, so I can see how this recipe would translate really well. And its quick too!
I made this and it was absolutely delicious! Just as a side not not sure if you noticed but the recipe name says “mouthwatering meatless chilli with meat/con carne” just didn’t make sense to me that it’s meatless but with meat? Thank you! 🙂
Hey Maya! Glad you enjoyed it!! Haha yes, we called it that on purpose :). A lot of peeps were asking for chili con carne without meat, so we obliged 🙂
That chili looks amazing! I have it down on my menu plan for next week and I can hardly wait to try it.
What a great looking chili recipe. Love that yummy avocado on the top!
Even better when it’s turned into guacamole 🙂
LOL I don’t even need to watch that Eddie clip, I know it so well. “Because there’s a f-ing H in it!” High five fellow Izzard fans! Chili looks nom. Healthy, filling and great flavors!
Haha legendary, isn’t it? He’s awesome!
I love chili! It’s the ultimate comfort food. Yummy! 🙂 What a great recipe!
Thanks Sina! It was hard to go without it to begin with!
I just made this for my family and it was super delicious! Easy to make, easily customized to taste, and overall a great experience. Great recipe, thank you!
Hooray! That’s exactly what we want to hear. Thanks for writing, Rebecca, really glad the fam all enjoyed it!
this looks so awesome! i know what you mean when it comes to eating sans meat. I used to be obsessed with chili and thought the world was over once i became pescetarian. but you’re right, the veggie kind is just as good if not better. I also love how you added lentils to this, rather than 5 different types of beans (which is what i usually just do haha)
Great recipe. Will surely try it.
However, the title should be ‘sin carne’ and not ‘con carne’
(I am a beginner at learning Spanish 🙂 )
Ha! You’re absolutely right, Ronak!
Our reasoning was ‘hmm, most people will not know what con carne means anyway’
So that’s why we kept the ‘con’ so that peeps will recognize the kind of recipe 🙂
Chili con Garden maybe? 🙂
Chile con Jardín 😉
It must me CHILI SIN CARNE 🙂 Thanks for the recipe! I will prepare this as soon as I can!
I was gonna say same thing like HELLO “con carne” literally means “with meat” so just call it meatless chili and be on your way FFS
Cumin is TOTALLY a game changer!! I love adding it to beans, soups, curried veggies, etc. This chili looks delicious!!
Greetings from down under
Really glad to hear, Shaun! Thanks for leaving a comment 😀
Is vegetable broth stock
Hi Suzanne, yep! Although technically there are some tiny differences between them (meat vs bones), we use the terms interchangeably – especially as veggie ones use neither meat nor bone of course!
If you would like even more vegetables in the dish I would like to recommend that you make cauliflower rice.
Just take a cauliflower and grind it with a grater and then fry it on a pan with oil and seasoning of your choice for 3-4 minutes and then you have a really delicious alternative to rice. 🙂
That’s a great idea, thanks for sharing Thomas! More veg = even better, and is a nice way to go low-carb for those that need to. Cheers for the idea!
I am glad you like it! Enjoy. 🙂
Just made this. So easy, so delicious. Thank you!
This looks lovely. Do you think it wold freeze well? I am thinking to make it on the weekend for a mid- week dinner.
Yep, that would work very well, Vee 🙂
This was delicious and I can’t believe it actually tastes better than my usual meat chili con carne. Thank God I found this recipe. It has saved my life since turning vegan cause the kids devoured it along with cashew sour cream. Yum! Thank you so much!
Wohooooo!! So good to hear that Liz! I’ll keep my eyes open for the cashew sour cream. That sounds delicious 😀
Made this on the weekend using the slow cooker. I made double the recipe and put it all in.the slow cooker. I did cook the onion and garlic first. Cooked on low for 6 hours as we went out for an amazing picnic and drive in the Australian outback. The end result was so delicious. Another wonderful recipe
Hi Annemarie! Good to hear from you. Ha awesome!!! That sounds so cool. A picnic and a drive through the outback, then home for meatless chili. I won’t say I’m not jealous!
Hi, I made this today. It was so good. I could not get lentils so added chickpeas. Was a good swap. Thanks for this receipe
Really cool to hear you liked the chili!! Chickpeas for lentils sounds like a great swap indeed! 🙂
I tried it a few times with great results 😀
Made this for my dinner tonight and it was absolutely delicious!
Woo! Really glad you enjoyed, Nicola . Thanks!
I have made this recipe a couple of times now, and I absolutely love it, it’s far better than the meat version.
Thank you, Sally! Fully agree – who needs meat when you can eat veggie meals like this? 🙂
I just made this and it is really delish, easy, healthy and inexpensive. I doubled the ingredients, added one extra teaspoon of cumin and used one chili and 6 jalapeño. I liked the touch of maple syrup and served with rice. avocado and fresh oregano. Thanks from Melbourne Aus. Adding it to my camping cookbook too.
Really glad you enjoyed it, Leanne! Sounds like some great additions too. Yay for Melbourne – the three of us were all there for several months way back in 2007. LOVE that city, so much!
Hi what kind of lentils did you use?
Hi Audrey, I normally use red lentils in this recipe as they cook the quickest 🙂
Hi. You said brown lentils in the recipe but red in the comments ? Which should I use? I bought brown lentils.
Hi Ashleigh! Either lentil is absolutely fine :). I tend to use red because they’re a little quicker when cooking from dried, but brown are awesome in the dish. Enjoy!
125ml liquid for all that food?!?! Burned a bit of it. You need to add more liquid like. I’m sure I’ve added a pint of water so far and I’ve still ten minutes to go!!
Hi Alan, thanks for the feedback. So far half a cup was the magic number for us (and we’ve made it a fair few times) but I guess there can always be variations due to heat and so on. Also to check – did you use dried lentils? They would soak up a LOAD of water!
So you use the liquid from the canned tomatoes, right?
I am planning to make this tonight. It looks awesome!
Then bon appetit, Jody! Enjoy 🙂
Made this but made it kid friendly no hint of spice
I will definitely make it again as it was a hit with everyone
Cool! Yes, great idea. We do the same here too, with spices. Or at some in afterwards, when the kid’s portions have been taken out. Glad you enjoyed!
Hi! Pardon my ignorance: but chopped tomatoes would be the same as diced, correct? And not crushed? Those are the options out here at the local market…thanks!
Hi! Not sure if my previous comment got posted…I was wondering if chopped tomatoes are the same as diced? I assume that’s more accurate than crushed? Those are the options here at the local market…thanks!
Hi Sara! Let’s see if we can clear it up 🙂
Yes, I think diced or chopped are both perfectly fine – from a can. They have lots of liquid with them then, which is important for the sauce in the sin carne. If you really do need to use ‘real’ tomatoes instead of cans then probably about 2 cups would be right (and probably a bit of extra broth). I hope that helps!
Edit: I’m sure crushed would be fine, they sound juicy too!
Made this today, it was good but could use more spices.
Try 1 cup of brown beans (and molasses or plain) instead of lentils
I’m sure that would also be very tasty!
Made this for the first time tonight and served it as nacho topping with cheese, sour cream and of course corn chips. Kids loved it and both asked for seconds. Both us adults really liked it also. If I was doing this just for me I’d add another chilli (I love spicy food), but this was good for everyone else.
Really great recipe.
Awesome to hear, Lee! I also add an extra chilli, love it spicy :D. Really glad you enjoyed it!
use smoked paprika and a bit of smoked tofu – so good!
Really glad you liked the recipe, Cody!! 😀
Yes smoked tofu and paprika would be a brilliant add-on. Actually let me note that down!
This was the best vegetarian chili I ever had. I added some liquid smoke, chili powder, ancho pepper, chipotle pepper and smoked paprika to add some heat I’ll be making this over and over again! So good topped with sour cream, shredded cheese and avocado.
Ah wow, what a compliment! The additions you made sound so good, too. Really glad you enjoyed, thanks for writing 🙂
I’ve got this chilli simmering away in my slow cooker, can’t wait to try this
Yum! Hope you enjoyed it, Pam!
Absolutely loved this!!
I added some meat-free soy “mince,” fresh cooked corn, and precooked my soaked dried lentils separately and then added them so that I didn’t overcook the peppers and corn. These were the only changes. I think the sun dried tomatoes and stock makes this dish! SO GOOD
Woop! So glad, Candice. The changes all sound great, too – and corn always has a place 😀
Please add me to your mailing list. Cheers
Hi Lisa! Sure thing! Please sign up right here 🙂 https://hurrythefoodup.com/hurrythefoodup-newsletter-sign-up/
This is fabulous! My 9-year-old recently became vegetarian for ethical reasons. As a result, the whole family is eating mostly vegetarian. It has been a struggle finding recipes for the food she loves that tastes the same as it used to and is also acceptable to the non-vegetarians in the family. I told her it would be a lot of trial and error until we figure out what works and what doesn’t. This is now our go-to chili recipe. Even my 4-year-old, who was never very fond of chili, loves this! He requested it only a few days after I made the last batch. The sun-dried tomatoes were an inspired addition as was the maple syrup. And I love that you called it “chili con carne” because that was exactly what we were looking for — a vegetarian recipe that had the same mouth-feel and flavors of chili con carne. My only change was the addition of a tablespoon of chili powder (I have never had chili without chili powder before and it felt like something was missing to me without it). We serve ours with cornbread. Thank you so much for this recipe!
That is AWESOME, Amanda! Firstly, great to hear your nine year old is getting so much support from everyone – and that the whole family enjoyed the recipe. I hope you find many more on the site, too! The sweetcorn fritters tend to go down well with families (https://hurrythefoodup.com/sweetcorn-fritters/) – would probably make a double batch. There’s lots more to explore as well, the veggie food world is so wide and varied. Keep enjoying, see you around!
Howdy Dave, My 15 year old son wans to become a vegetarian but he’s a lazy B. As we’ve finished eating the dog and there was no more meat left around, we tried this one. He did the cooking and prep-or-asian and it worked wonderfully. The meal was a suck-cess and it arms him for trying to convince his mother that you can live normally whilst being a vegetarian.
Plus points monsieur.
Gonna try another one or two recipes later on also
Irish doodle in Stockholm
Wonderful comment, Fran! I enjoyed reading it. Probs to your son for taking over the kitchen! Keep him at it 😉
Lovely chilli recipe. I’m only in my second week of eating plant based food, but this is definitely the best recipe yet! Thank you 🙂
Woop! Happy to help, Jon. Keep enjoying your plant-based journey!
I’m so happy I found your website. I can get excited about food again. I’m GF free (2years)but decided to also become vegetarian after an eye to eye occurrence with some squashed in sheep in a big metal truck on a sweltering hot day trying to put their noses through very thin slits to get air. Said to my husband as we passed gosh that’s awful “ what the heck, is that acceptable care of those hot squashed sheep” he said oh that’s normal they are on their way to the slaughter house down the road. Ok so rude awaking I mean it’s obvious they were gonna be driven there in a taxi but So been a vegetarian since approx 5 weeks. Also got my daughter and husband interested and eating several vegetarian dishes a week. So thank goodness for your website needed more yummy ideas with awesome recipes, makes my life so much easier. So many to choose from yaaaahhh
Hi Karen, I’m very happy you found us too! And welcome to the veggie side :). Yes the transportation of animals can be absolutely awful, no doubt about that. Really glad you’re finding the recipes excitable – I’ve never enjoyed food more than I have know. Once you start eating vegetarian you realise how many other ingredients are out there, and in my opinion, some truly fantastic ones. Keep enjoying the site!
AWESOME !!!!!!!!! Thanks a lot for this !!!
It was lovely and certain to be served again and again. I added several more chillies as just one is not enough for me plus more garlic and cumin. I had to stop myself from eating it all in one sitting it was so good.
hahaha, brilliant!! Glad this turned out good, David!
i made it but i substituted the corn with carrots and i didnt have any tomato paste but it was still just as good! thank you so much for sharing!
Awesome!! Yes subs like that deffo work. Thanks for sharing, I’m sure that will help others, too!
I want to make the Chili Sin Carne tonight but don’t have the sun-dried tomatoes. Have all the other ingredients in stock. Will it make any difference if I don’t use sun-dried tomatoes? Will be putting in an order on Thursday. Wondering if I should wait
it’s a nice to have, but not a make or break ingredient. Do you have anything else at home that could deliver some tangy-ness? Otherwise it would also work just without sundried tomatoes 🙂
I only had a red capsicum so I used that and I added some red wine and small amount of dark chocolate to give depth of flavour. Yummo
Ooh nice. Can’t go too wrong with dark chocolate and wine 😀