Craving chili? Try this vegan Chili Con Carne (or Chili Sin Carne) recipe that’s full of flavors, comforting and filling.
Traditional Mexican cuisine is a fiesta of flavors, condiments, and textures. From everything that could be made from corn, creamy beans, juicy meats, and cheese – like nachos, tacos, burritos or salsas – to tangy margaritas, Mexican food is as vibrant and exciting as its culture. Chili, fragrant cilantro, garlic, and cumin are frequent in the zesty traditional dishes, adored around the world even far from South America.
One of the most popular and world-renowned recipes from this unique cuisine is the Mexican chili con carne – a simple, basic recipe adored and prepared in households across Mexico with regional touches that have transformed it into a huge success all around the world.
As you may already know, chili con carne is a spicy stew made with kidney beans, tomatoes, chili peppers and minced meat, often cooked together with other ingredients such as carrots, onion, and celery. Of course, there are some variations from the original recipe we all know. The version made with white meat (such as turkey or chicken) and white beans, without tomatoes, is known as White Chili, while the vegetarian one is called Chili sin Carne. And, of course, the Green Chili, made with chili verde. The New Mexican chili verde (green chili) isn’t for the weak, as it’s moderately to extremely spicy due to the roasted green chili added to the stew.
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The colors, textures, and flavors of chili con carne may differ from Northern to Southern Mexican recipes since there are many different types of chili peppers that could be used such as Jalapeño, Chipotle or Serrano, and different types of green, red, yellow tomatoes or tomatillos. Black beans, kidney, pinto, or navy beans are all commonly used for chili. As you can see, there is a wide area of ingredients that you can choose from, that are only making this amazing dish even more special and unique. All these variations are nonetheless accepted as very authentic and traditional, reflecting the regional characteristics of this large country and its rich history.
Nowadays, even canned beans and tomatoes are accepted as a way of speeding up the preparation of this recipe, even though these may not have the real, authentic taste of the chili con carne cooked in traditional Mexican kitchens.
Of course, personal tastes as well as what ingredients are locally available had their part in the creation of variations to the original recipe. Chili lovers are analyzing each recipe carefully and they even argue over the fact that the word ‘chili’ only applies to the basic meat and peppers dish, without beans or tomatoes.
In Spanish, the name of the dish means ‘chilli pepper and meat’, and is commonly known in American English as simply ‘chili’. The origins of chili can be found in northern Mexico, but spread across the border to southern Texas, where Americans absorbed this new dish almost to the point of calling it their own. And who can blame them? Chili con carne is such an amazing recipe because it is so filling, comforting and flavorful. An inexpensive, adapted recipe for chili-flavored beef stew has been a popular item in the menus of ‘chili joints’ in San Antonio, Texas, throughout the past two centuries.
The vegetarian chili (also called chili non carne, sans carne or sin carne) is as colorful and delicious as its original meaty version. In these recipes, the meat is replaced with tasty ingredients such as tofu, TSP (textured soy protein) or even potatoes, cooked together with beans, various combinations of corn, mushrooms and butternut squash, and, of course, the typical herbs and spices.
I think you might’ve guessed that today’s recipe, as the title already says it, is for chili sin carne (which literally means chili without meat), a version that is just as good in taste, but it only contains guilt-free, healthy ingredients.
For my recipe, I used soy meat in order to mimic the authentic texture of this dish, together with the classic vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, sweet corn, kidney beans and spices. And I must admit – the results are pretty amazing! Serve everything with some rice, tortilla chips or cornbread and enjoy!
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 ½ cup vegetable broth
- 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2 small carrots, finely chopped
- 2 cups diced tomatoes
- 4 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 cup sweet corn
- 2 ½ cups kidney beans, cooked
- 100g TSP - textured soy protein granules
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari for a GF version
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- ½ Tsp cayenne pepper
- For serving:
- 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro
- lime wedges
- cooked plain rice, tortilla chips or cornbread (use GF if you want)
- Heat a large skillet with coconut oil and sauté the garlic and onion over medium heat, for about 3 minutes, until translucent.
- Add the bell pepper, carrot and sauté for about 5 minutes more.
- Add TSP granules, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, corn, kidney beans, soy sauce or tamari, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Stir well, then let the mixture simmer, uncovered, for another 15 minutes or until thickened.
- Top with cilantro, sprinkle with lime juice and serve with your favorite side.