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Gateway to Gastronomy: Vegan Chili

Check out this easy vegan chili recipe that is sure to win in chili cook-offs!

At 11-years-old, I decided to enter my church’s first-ever chili cook-off. Did I have my own chili recipe? No, of course not. I was 11 and only cooked using kids cookbooks. 

But I was determined, and my mom helped me find a recipe for vegan chili online. No one in my family was vegan so I have no idea why I chose that specific recipe. But I made my own adjustments and made it for the competition. 

My chili somehow won first place. According to my mom, some of the judges didn’t want to pick the vegan chili because it was vegan, but according to their strict criteria, it was the best.

This “award-winning” chili recipe may look intimidating, but it’s super easy. Many of the ingredients you dump in at the same time, and you can easily swap or leave out ingredients you don’t like. When it comes to the spice level, you can easily adjust how much chili powder and hot sauce you use.

It also makes between six and eight servings, so it’s great for meal prepping or potlucks! 


  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 2 cups of sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup of finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup of chopped carrot
  • 3/4 cup of chopped bell pepper (any colour)
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic 
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder 
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon of dried basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 (28-ounce) can of diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 (19-ounce) can of black beans, undrained (don’t rinse)
  • 1 (6-ounce) can of tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup of red wine (can swap for pomegranate juice mixed with a dash of vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of your favourite hot sauce 
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3/4 cup of zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • 1 (12-ounce) can of corn kernels, drained


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. 
  2. Cook and stir the mushrooms, onion, carrot, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, basil, and oregano until the onion begins to soften, approximately two to three minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and their liquid, black beans and their liquid, tomato paste, red wine, hot sauce, and water.
  4. Bring the chili to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture until the vegetables are tender, or about 20 minutes.
  5. Add in the zucchini and corn and simmer for 5 minutes.

Personally, I love chili with some nice buttered dinner rolls for dipping and soaking up excess soup. You can also try adding some cheese and sour cream!

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