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Hearty & Delicious, Vegan, (Oil-Free) Chili

I promise you that when we found this recipe we too were skeptical, how could it be as satisfying without frying the onions and garlic etc…BUT we promise you, it is delicious, even my meat-loving husband licked the bowl clean and came back for more!



  • 2 cans of your preferred chili beans, rinsed (I used chickpeas and red kidney beans and felt those worked best for texture)
  • 1/3 cup wheatgerm
  • 1 finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (optional 1/4 teaspoon cayenne for extra heat)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 carton tomato puree
  • 1 can of tinned tomatoes
  • 1 cup of water



To a small bowl, add the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, salt and pepper and cayenne (if using) and mix well. Set aside.

Add 1/4 cup water to a large pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another couple of minutes, stirring often to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn.

Add the bowl of pre-mixed spices and stir for about 30 seconds to lightly toast the spices and absorb any residual moisture.

Add the 1 cup of water, tomato puree, tinned tomatoes (with their juices) and beans and stir well. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. The chili may be watery at this stage, but don’t worry, it will be thickened nicely after 30 minutes of cooking. Once boiling, cover and lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes to soften the beans.

Now stir in the wheatgerm and bring back to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chili thickens beautifully and the wheatgerm is softened. It should be thickened like in the photos, but still with some liquid

Taste and add any more salt if needed. Add cayenne pepper if more heat is desired. Top with desired toppings. This is where my husband let slip the vegan part and added some creamy labnah…..

Serve with rice, or a baked potato and enjoy!

Recipe inspired by Brandi Donning, author of The Vegan 8


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