In the mood to try a different kind of chili? Something with a subtle hint of natural maple sweetness and packed with nutritional benefits? This easy crock pot Vegan Chili has 3 secret ingredients that will take it to the next level. It’s sure to hit the spot and even please the pickiest of chili eaters! The texture is similar (or even better!) than “traditional” chili, and with the right combination of spices, you’ll get that perfect comforting aroma and taste that chili provides.
In all honesty, when I was making this chili for the first time the other day, I was pretty sure that I would be the only one in my family to eat it. But that was okay because it meant plenty of leftovers for me! Much to my surprise, both kids ate it without any “force” or constant reminder to “take a bite” every 3 minutes (which is a huge win if I can go a night without that). And although my husband is the only person in the universe that doesn’t love chili or soup of any kind, he even said it was “pretty good”. May not sound like a compliment, but coming from him in regard to anything in soup form is quite a miracle.
These three delicious “surprise” ingredients kick this Vegan Chili recipe up to the next level:
- Pumpkin (straight pumpkin puree, not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling)
- Chopped walnuts
- Maple balsamic vinegar (or pure maple syrup)
And why are ALL the ingredients in this recipe so spectacular for you? Let me list just a few reasons:
- Pumpkin-antioxidants (stops damage to your cells), full of Vitamin A, boosts immunity, low calorie, nutrient-dense, promotes healthy skin and heart health
- Walnuts-antioxidants, omega-3, tons of vitamins and minerals, helps reduce inflammation, may help reduce risk of cancer, supports brain function
- Maple syrup-vitamins and minerals (but be careful, maple syrup is high in sugar), antioxidants; Maple Balsamic Vinegar-Balsamic vinegar in general has less sugar than similar products/ingredients tastes amazing!
- Beans-fiber, protein, antioxidants, heart healthy, controls appetite
- Sweet Potato-fiber, vitamin A, minerals
- 3/4 cup yellow onion, diced (approximately 3/4 of an onion)
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic (or garlic powder)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 pound Quorn Meat crumbles (approx 1/2 the bag)
- 3/4 cup crushed walnuts
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 can Great Northern Beans
- 1 can Black Beans
- 2-15 oz cans of crushed tomatoes (I used one plain and 1 with green chiles, but fire roasted would be good too)
- 1 sweet potato, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons cumin
- 3 Tablespoons Maple Balsamic Vinegar or Pure Maple Syrup (or more to taste)
- 1 Tablespoon Smoked (or regular) Paprika
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast (optional, just gives it a slightly cheesy/creamy flavor)
- 1 Tablespoon black pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
- Optional Toppings: cilantro, avocado slices, jalapenos
- In a pan (or InstantPot), saute the garlic, green pepper, and onion in oil for 3 minutes
- Add Quorn beefy crumbles and cook until heated
- Add the remainder of the ingredients (not including the optional toppings) and gently stir. If you prefer your chili more "soupy", add more vegetable broth (1/2 cup at a time based on preference)
- In crock pot, cook on high for 4 hours; low for 6 hours. In InstantPot, set on Soup setting under sealed pressure, natural pressure release.
- Top with optional garnishes.
You can easily substitute other ingredients to customize this meal, including the use of different (or additional) beans, protein, spices, etc.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 311Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 1058mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 7gSugar: 9gProtein: 22g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
Now before you say “nope not for me-I don’t like pumpkin”–just try it. The chili doesn’t actually taste like pumpkin–instead, the pumpkin gives the chili an indescribable flavor. The walnuts add a wonderful texture, and the maple balsamic (or pure maple syrup) provides an amazingly subtle sweetness. I find maple balsamic at the “fancy” olive oil and vinegar places. A bottle can seem a little pricey ($15-$18) but it lasts a looooong time and I use it in a ton of different recipes (and even drinks!).