Easy Does It Sunday Evening Chili | Blissful Basil

post featured image
post featured image

This delicious recipe for easy vegan chili comes from Ashley Melilo’s new book, Blissful Basil: Over 100 Plant-Powered Recipes to Unearth Vibrancy, Health, and Happiness. In it, Ashley shares her struggle with anxiety and how “swapping meat, dairy, and processed foods for a vibrant rainbow of whole foods—has played an important role in fostering my well-being.”

Blissful Basil offers a vibrant journey through vegan cooking, where delicious plant-based foods become the colorful foundation for meals that nourish the body and delight the senses.

Today we’re excited to share an easy vegan chili recipe from the book (below). This chili requires just 15 minutes of active prep time and then you can sit back, relax, and occasionally give it a stir. It’s the perfect meal to have simmering in the background on a lazy Sunday afternoon while you binge-watch House of Cards (Frank Underwood, you scare me, but I just can’t quit you).

This vegan chili recipe garners its meatiness from walnuts and sun-dried tomatoes that have been pulsed into a crumble and sautéed with onions, peppers, tomatoes, beans, and an array of spices. Balsamic vinegar and tamari deepen both the flavor and the color of the chili. The balsamic enhances the complexity of the chili’s acidity and mingles with the tomatoes in the loveliest of ways, while the tamari adds an enticing umami quality. A lengthy simmer time melds the flavors together, and then it’s time to serve. Spoon this chili into bowls, pile on the toppings, and serve with a hefty handful of tortilla chips for dipping!

Three Cheers for Easy Vegan Chili

Chili is a great way to get a variety of nutrients in every bite while not having to sacrifice flavor or worry about a high cost. Beans are one of the cheapest staples you can get, especially when buying in bulk! While this recipe calls for canned beans, you’re welcome to use dried beans instead if you so prefer! Either way, be sure to rinse and drain your beans to improve digestion.

Beans are naturally high in protein, fiber, and iron. Just a half cup of cooked black beans offers nearly 10 percent of the recommended daily value for iron and around 8 grams of protein. Combined with the walnut pieces, you’ll be quite the protein machine when eating this easy vegan chili!

If you’re not keen on adding any nuts or seeds to your chili but would still like that classic, meaty texture, there are a few routes you could take!

  • Try Some Tofu – If you crumble tofu and flavor it with the chili spices such as paprika, cumin, salt, and oregano then you’ll end up with a delicious addition to your chili. If you’re new to tofu or want to discover some new tricks, check out our tofu guide for a comprehensive rundown!
  • Soy-Free, Please – Looking for a soy-free boost to your chili? Beyond Meat Crumbles are an excellent choice to give your meal that extra bit of oomph without having to worry about a sensitivity to soy. 
  • Remember TVP? – In a time where there are new vegan meat replacements popping up every day, let’s take a moment to reflect on our faithful old friend, Textured Vegetable Protein, which has been around for decades now. TVP is made from soy flour and is a complete protein that contains no fat, making it an excellent substitute for meat. Like tofu, it takes on the flavor of whatever its being cooked with, making it a natural choice for adding to chili!
  • Mmm, Mushrooms – Mushrooms are a great way to add texture and flavor to dishes, including this chili! Button mushrooms, portobello, or oyster mushrooms are all excellent choices. For the ultimate infusion of flavor, be sure to sauté your mushrooms with a little salt and spice prior to adding into the chili.

How to Serve Up Your Easy Vegan Chili

While chili is plenty delicious and filling to eat on its own, it also pairs wonderfully with a variety of other dishes. Bread, salad, and sides are all great ideas for rounding out your meal. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind when planning your culinary creations!

Storing Your Chili

If you find yourself with more chili than you can handle, worry not! One of the best things about chili is that it’s perfect for making in bulk to enjoy throughout the week. If sticking in the fridge, allow it to cool and then pour into an airtight container. Freezing instead? Also allow to cool and either pour into freezer-safe resealable bags or an airtight container. When ready to reheat, just defrost overnight and heat up on the stove or microwave if you’re really in a hurry.

Easy Does It Sunday Evening Chili

Author: Ashley Melillo | Blissful Basil
5 from 6 votes
This easy does it Sunday evening chili is the perfect vegan recipe to have simmering in the background on a lazy Sunday afternoon while you binge-watch House of Cards.
picture of chili in bowls on a light-colored table with blue cloths and measuring spoons around them. The chili is drizzled with cashew sour cream and slices of avocado on top.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 6



  • 2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil or vegetable broth
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1 medium poblano pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1 cup raw walnut pieces
  • 3 ounces no-salt-added, dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 28-ounce cans unsalted whole peeled tomatoes in juice
  • 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  •  tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or coconut sugar

Recommended Toppings

  • Sliced avocado
  • Halved grape tomatoes
  • Thinly sliced scallions
  • Fresh cilantro, stemmed and chopped
  • Crushed tortilla chips
  • Cashew Sour Cream, see below

Cashew Sour Cream

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • ½ -  ¾ cup filtered water
  • tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon tahini
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt


For The Chili

  • Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion, red peppers, and poblano pepper, and sauté for 6 minutes, or until the peppers are just beginning to soften and the onions are generously flecked with golden-brown edges, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, add the walnuts and sun-dried tomatoes to a food processor and pulse 30 times, or until roughly minced and crumbly. Transfer to the stockpot along with the garlic, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, sea salt, and coriander. Decrease the heat to medium-low and sauté for 4 minutes, or until the spices are wafting a rich, toasted scent, stirring frequently.
  • Add the whole peeled tomatoes with juice and bring to a simmer, using a spoon to thoroughly crush them to the desired size as they heat. Add the kidney beans, black beans, and water, and continue to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Then, stir in the balsamic vinegar, tamari, and maple syrup, and decrease the heat to medium-low. Partially cover, leaving the lid askew, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
  • Cover completely and continue to simmer for at least another 45 minutes but preferably 1 hour or longer, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Taste and season with more sea salt, if desired.
  • Ladle into bowls, layer on the toppings, and get cozy. Refrigerate leftovers up to 4 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

For The Cashew Sour Cream

  • Add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend on high for 2–3 minutes, or until completely smooth. Transfer to an airtight jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


  • Tip: Always thoroughly rinse and drain canned beans. They’re much more digestible after the bubbles are washed away and will prevent your belly from hurting.
  • To keep this dish oil-free, opt for vegetable broth instead of olive oil.
  • To keep this dish nut-free, use raw shelled sunflower seeds instead of walnuts and omit the Cashew Sour Cream.
  • To keep this dish soy-free, swap out the reduced-sodium tamari for coconut aminos.
  • If you’re not using a high-speed blender (e.g., Vitamix or Blendtec), soak the cashews in water for 2 hours or boil them for 10 minutes to soften before blending.
  • Got leftovers? This chili is even better on the second day after the flavors have mingled overnight!


Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 866mg | Potassium: 594mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2711IU | Vitamin C: 71mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 4mg
Course dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword meatless chili recipe, vegan chili recipe, vegetarian chili recipe

blissful basil vegan cookbook

More Bean-Based Recipes to Try:

Easy Vegan Chili recipe reprinted from Blissful Basil by arrangement with BenBella Books. Copyright © 2016, Ashley Melillo. Photo by Ashley Melillo. Article written by Michelle Cehn and edited by Amanda Meth. please note that this article contains affiliate links which supports our work at World of Vegan.

newsletter offer

Get Our FREE Vegan Shopping List

Whether you love it or hate it, we all have to go grocery shopping, and it can be a little intimidating when you first start eating vegan. Our beginner-friendly shopping list includes all the grocery essentials you'll need make many satisfying vegan meals! You'll also receive a blank shopping list you can customize yourself, plus our weekly e-newsletter with delicious plant-based recipes.

Thank you for subscribing!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    Perfect Sunday chili recipe! 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    This is one of those recipes where you just have to keep going back for seconds and thirds. Yum!! I also mix it up with whatever ingredients I have on hand. Chilly is always flexible that way 🙂

  3. Beatriz Buono-Core says:

    5 stars
    Chili is my favorite! So good!

  4. 5 stars
    Chili is definitely a staple in my house and, since my hubby loves basil, I think he’s going to be heads over heels for this recipe. Can’t wait to give it a go!

  5. Andrea White says:

    5 stars
    This chili looks amazing! YUM!

  6. 5 stars
    Now THIS is a hearty chili recipe! Yum!

Stay Inspired!

Thank you for subscribing!