Fall is here, and with the changing leaves comes a change in seasonal produce, as well as seasonal eats. While we tend to favor cool and crisp dishes in the summertime, fall has us picking apples in public orchards, scouting out our nearest pumpkin patches, and tucking into warm and cozy bowls of vegan chili.

Here’s the thing about chili — there isn’t one definitive, be-all-end-all chili formula out there for home chefs to all memorize. Chili is a broad term, and recipes and chili preferences vary from place-to-place, and person-to-person, too — why do you think there are so many chili competitions out there?


Debates about how much heat should go into the perfect batch, or what kind of beans pair best with different kinds of bases and ingredients are rampant in the chili-sphere, but we aren’t here to discriminate. We love plant-based chili in all of the forms it takes, whether that means it’s topped with vegan sour cream, made with four different types of beans, served with a green sauce, or none of the above.

Below, we’re taking you through four wildly different traditional chili preparations, and explaining both why they’re unique, and then showing you how to make a Food Monster App-approved vegan version at home.

1. Texan Chili Con Carne

In true controversial chili-fashion, we’re kicking it off with Texas Chili Con Carne — a style of chili that has caused countless raucous debates. Texans will quibble over what the truest, most authentic recipe is for con carne, which translates to “with meat” — beans or no beans? Tomatoes or no tomatoes? In our recipe for no carne, we ditch the meat entirely and give an emphatic yes to beans and tomatoes — and trust us, you’ll be glad we did.

Chili No Carne

The Chili No Carne pictured above takes a mere 20 minutes to make and requires only one pot minimal washing up. In other words, it’s a quick, comforting, and nourishing food for the soul and the body. Two steps, twenty minutes, seven cheap ingredients – this vegan Chili “No” Carne is the ultimate student food that’s hearty and satisfying.

Chili Sin Carne

Keep bending the rules and making traditionally meat-laden dishes without the meat with this additional recipe for Chili Sin Carne Cornbread Pie. Most of the ingredients to make it are in our pantries or cheap to buy. But this chili has a little something extra. One: it’s vegan. Two: it’s topped with a warm cornbread, which can be made gluten-free if needed. You can skip the dippin’ because it’s already there for you.

For more, check out this recipe for Tacos Sin Carne, or even go Mexican with this Mexican Lasagna With Chili Sin Carne.

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili

We don’t care what they say — chili and beans are a match made in culinary heaven. Tuck into the Butternut Squash and Black Bean Chili any day in autumn, and then move on to trying this unique recipe for Black-Eyed Peas and Kale Chili.

Lovers of oil-free cooking will appreciate this recipe for Oil-Free White Bean Chili, while lovers of spice will get excited over this Spicy Bean Chili With Leftover Roast Potatoes.


2. New Mexican Green Chili With Tofu 

Everyone in New Mexico will tell you that green chiles are essential ingredients to their regional cuisine. In fact, chiles are such a big deal to New Mexico that their official state sign welcomes new visitors with a picture of both a red and green chili — needless to say, their chile verde, or green chili, is kind of a big deal.

The recipe pictured above is far from your run of the mill Mexican chili. Every Mexican knows a different recipe variation as this is a very popular dish. Incredibly, this is not often seen outside of Mexico. Once you try this Mexican Green Chili With Tofu variation, you will be overjoyed that you have an alternative to the usual tomato based chili.

3. Caribbean Jerk Chili

Spicy and sweet, Caribbean and Jamaican “jerk” is a specific style of cooking. Essentially, jerk means marinating or dry-rubbing a piece of meat with a Jamaican jerk spice mixture. Check out how to make your own Homemade Jerk Seasoning, and then move on to making this delightful dish.

The Caribbean Jerk Chili pictured above is a world of sweet, spicy, tropical flavors. A creamy, coconut milk chili base is packed with red beans, sweet bell pepper, and other veggies along with juicy mango and a squeeze of tart lime juice. A garnish of fresh cilantro is the perfect finishing touch.


4. Midwestern Frito Pie

Oh, yes. Frito Pie is a thing, and it has its origins in the American Midwest. Traditionally, Frito Pie is made by combining a mixture of chili powder-marinated beans, seasoned tomato sauce, and ground beef, and then pouring it over an open-face bag of Fritos (by the way — Fritos are vegan!). Next, the entire thing is topped with cheese.

The Frito Chili Pie above is perfect for cold winter nights, and 30 minutes is enough time to get a piping hot bowl of this Frito Chili Pie in front of you and your family!

Plant-Based Homemade Ingredients to Make Regional Chilis More Authentic

Ground Beef

There are loads of different vegan meat crumbles you can add to a variety of different vegan chilis, but one of our favorite recipes is the Cauliflower and Walnut Ground “Meat”, pictured above. This is a 100-percent plant-based vegan meat substitute that you can use as taco meat, pizza topping, in Bolognese sauce, in lasagna, and many more recipes.

Want another alternative? Learn How to Make Soy-Free Meat Crumbles, or even just take a look over these 5 Tips to Make Meatless Food Taste Meaty.

Cheese Shreds

While there are an abundance of different vegan cheese shreds on the market now, such as Follow Your Heart, So DeliciousDaiya FoodsViolife, and Trader Joe’s, there’s nothing stopping you from making your own vegan cheese and taking a shredder to it on your own time (we suggest this recipe for Grateable Almond Cheese, pictured above, or this recipe for Paprika Cheese).

Make sure to also check out all of our vegan cheese recipes for more, and this Guide on How to Successfully Cook With Vegan Cheese Shreds.

Salsa Verde

Don’t just stop with chile verde; continue on with your education and learn How to Make Homemade Salsa Verde at home, too! This is a perfect salsa to add to a nacho bar if you are planning on having one for your next party – which is perfect to have at a Super Bowl Party!

For more chili recipes, check out these 15 Hearty Chilis and Soups to Keep You Warm.

We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!

Lead image source: Caribbean Jerk Chili