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Chilli Sin Carne

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What is Chili Sin Carne?

Chili sin carne is chili without meat. In other words- a vegetarian or vegan chili.

Chili sin carne is typically made with protein from plants. Common proteins include:

  • Beans
  • Tofu
  • Lentils
  • Textured vegetable protein

For this vegetarian chili, our protein of choice will be several types of beans.

I love this chili because it basically cooks itself! Throw it in the crock pot in the morning and its ready to go by the time you walk through the door for dinner!

Here’s a few things to know about this specific chili before we get started:

  • It’s spicy. Because nothings worth a damn without a little heat
  • The fresh cut veggies LOAD this chili with flavor
  • It’s protein rich
  • It mimics the flavor of a meat based chili

Secret Ingredients In Chili Sin Carne

There are a few things I do to make this vegetarian chili perfect! They include

  • Using a crock pot. It really lets the flavors marinate!
  • Cholula hot sauce. Like literally instant win the end.
  • I drain the beans so the texture is perfect
  • Lots of garlic
  • Vary the number of jalapenos based on the time of year and hotness of the pepper
  • Cayenne pepper. Just a smidge literally makes the whole dish!
  • The perfect amount of sauce. Not too runny not too chunky.
  • Long duration cooking- this thickens the sauce.
chili sin carne ingredients including green onions, corn, beans and chives

Unexpected Vegan Chili Ingredient Options

You can definitely get a little creative with this plant based chili. I’ve prepared this recipe much like a meat based chili recipe. You can pull in all sorts of crazy flavor variations to make something amazing.

Ideas for chili sin carne variations include adding:

  • Mexican chocolate
  • Butternut Squash
  • Ancho Chilies
  • Stewed Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Sriracha
  • Dark Beer
  • Peanut Butter
  • Cocoa
  • Mexican Oregano
  • Curry

I particularly love adding a sprinkle of sweet to this chili on occasion. OH MY GOD the flavor rush when we combine a good quality sweet with some knock your socks of spicy. A perfect combination.

What are the best secret chili ingredients?

What can I put in Chili Instead of meat?

This particular plant based chili is loaded with nothing but beans, veggies and spices. However, there are many other ways to include protein in this dish.  For example you may use 

I want to note that I have NOT added a meat substitute to this dish.  I find the flavors more robust without it. However, it is easy enough to add a meat alternative and will bulk up the dish.

Adding a meat substitute is NOT necessary in chili sin carne !

Adding a soy-based protein to this vegetarian gluten free chili can also create a more “meaty” texture, for those of your still a little attached to traditional chili.

How Long can Vegan gluten free chili Last in the Fridge?

Typically this vegan chili is to go for about 4 days refrigerated.  In that time, I enjoy a little of my own experimentation with the leftovers!

Can I Freeze Chili Sin Carne?

Yes! Freeze it for up to 3 months. I will warn the consistency changes a smidge but this chili is still excellent from the freezer.

Repurposing Plant Based Chili

  • Chili sin carne can be repurposed and made into:
  • Chili omelette 
  • Quesadilla
  • Loaded Nachos
  •  Vegan Chili Mac
  • Chili Burritos 
  • Loaded baked potato 
  • Loaded baked sweet potato
  • Chili Joe’s (sloppy joe)

Does Vegan Chili Taste as Good as Regular Chili?

Absolutely! I would choose this vegan chili over any con-carne chili.

I have enjoyed both meat chilis and plant based chilis. This meat free chili is my favorite every time!

 In too many dishes, meat is the highlight. This vegan chili will give the meat chili a run for its money

This vegan chili allows flavors to really marinate!  Is there any preference you have for your vegan chili?  Any crazy ingredient  that you think would make this recipe even more stellar? Drop your ideas in the comments below! 

Toppings For Plant Based Chili:

Try these awesome Vegan toppings for your vegetarian chili include:

Tips For The Perfect Chili Sin Carne

  • Do NOT skimp on the cooking time. This MUST have the full 8 hours on low in the crockpot for the best results
  • Don’t go willy nilly with throwing in “a little extra of this a little extra of that.” You’ll kill the amazing consistency of this dish
  • Extra veggies add extra moisture! This should be done with caution
  • Jalapenos 100% change spiciness level based on time of year/brand etc. BE CAREFUL!
  • You can chop all these veggies the night before to save time. Then just toss them in the pot!
  • Flavors mix EVEN MORE as the chili sits in the fridge. This could mean a spicier chili a couple days later. You’ve been warned!

Chili Sin Carne FAQ

What Is Chili Sin Carne?

Chili sin carne means chili without meat. This is often referred to as a vegetarian chili.

What Kind Of Protein Is Used In Chili Sin Carne

Beans, Tofu, Lentils, Textured Vegetable Protein

Does Chili Sin Carne Taste Good?

Yes! meatless chili typically imitates the taste and texture of a meat chili. You can create variations that will still taste delicious but may taste slightly different than a meat based chili (such as adding a sweet squash, cocoa or carrots).

How Long Can I Keep Chili Sin Carne In The Fridge

About 4 days in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer

What Can I Put On Top Of Chili Sin Carne

nutritional yeast sauce (nooch sauce), crackers, vegan sour cream, tortilla chips, vegan sour cream

Print Recipe
2 from 1 vote

Chili Sin Carne

Plant based chili combining spices and produce for a powerful flavor.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Chili sin carne, Plant based Chili, Vegan Chili, Vegetarian Chili
Servings: 8 People
Author: Shena Jaramillo. Registered Dietitian
Cost: $10


  • Crock Pot


  • 2 cans Tomato sauce
  • 4-5 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 cup Green onions chopped
  • 1 whole Jalapeno chopped
  • 1 whole Red bell pepper chopped
  • 1c whole Yellow bell pepper chopped
  • 1 whole orange bell pepper chopped
  • 1 can Red kidney beans 150z
  • 2 cans Black beans 15oz
  • 1 cup Corn frozen/canned/or fresh
  • ½ Cup Cholula Hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper


  • Drain Beans
  • Mince garlic
  • Chop All Veggies
  • Add all ingredients to crock pot. Mix together.
  • Cook on low heat for 7-8 hours (the longer it is cooked the thicker the sauce will get and more savory the flavors).
  • Top with cilantro, chips, vegan sour cream and cheese if desired



Jalapenos will go in the soup. You can add additional jalapeno to the top of your soup if desired. 

Shena Jaramillo. Registered Dietitian

Hi I'm Shena. I'm an eating disorders dietitian in Washington state. I hold bachelors degrees nutrition & dietetics, cultural anthropology & psychology. I believe in honoring your hunger, having your cake whenever you want it, and that critically analyzing diet culture can change the world!

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