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Vegetarian Chilli Con Carne

Sep 1

Vegetarian Chilli Con Carne

Vegetarian Chilli Con Carne = Chili Sin Carne

I remember when I cooked Chilli Con Carne for the first time. It was many years ago, and it was so easy! I fried some beef and then... I opened a pack of seasoning mix! I added it to the meat along with tomatoes, a splash of water and red kidney beans and done! Yes, even though I am embarrassed to admit to it now, I have to confess that I used a shop-bought mix to make that dish in the past. But there is something even more embarrassing. When that ready to prepare packet wasn't available anymore, I stopped cooking Chilli Con Carne. Why? I thought back then that making it from scratch was too complicated and that I would never achieve the same taste.

When I finally got my courage {and a great recipe, too!} I realized that thanks to cooking it myself, I knew what exactly was in it. And it tasted probably even better than the one I used to make. No wonder then that it soon became one of my family's favourite meals.

However, when my daughter decided to become vegetarian, I knew I had to face another challenge. I had to cook a meal that is based on meat without the meat. And obviously, I had to make it taste like a real thing.


 Chilli Con Carne Vegetarian Recipe – How to Achieve the Authentic Mexican Flavour of Delicious Chili


I must say, I didn't have a problem with finding a replacement for meat. Just as it was in the case of another of my vegetarian/vegan makeovers - Bolognese sauce, I used mushrooms. In my opinion, it is pretty easy to achieve a texture and look of fried minced meat when you use thinly chopped champignons instead.

However, I still wanted to get the same taste of the Vegetarian Chili Con Carne as we knew from the Chili with meat. I decided to take the easiest route and use for my Veggie Chilli Con Carne the same products and spices as I did for the traditional Chilli. That also included my secret, magical ingredient - dark chocolate, which transforms this delicious dish to the next, authentic taste level.

When it comes to serving it, we usually have it as a meal with rice. But you could have it with brown rice or a baked potato, too. And then use your favourite toppings, like soured cream, grated cheese, tortilla chips, in brief - whichever topping you would have with the usual meat Chili. Because I can tell you there were quite a few people who couldn't believe it was indeed Vegetarian Chilli Con Carne.

P.S. This is, in truth Vegan Chilli recipe, as far as the sauce is concerned, made of everyday household ingredients. However, depending on the toppings you use, it will either stay vegan or become vegetarian if you don't use dairy-free cheese and cream.



Recipe for Vegan Chilli Con Carne

Easy, delicious and meat-free Chilli Con Carne: made with mushrooms instead of meat, with a bit of chocolate for the great taste.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 500 g mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes (approx. 400 g)
  • 200 ml tomato passata
  • 1 tin red kidney beans
  • 5-10 g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)

To serve:

  • sour cream (or vegan substitute)
  • Cheddar cheese (or vegan cheese), grated
  • cooked rice
  • tortilla chips 


  1. Heat the olive oil in a big frying pan; add the onion and garlic, sweat on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the cumin and chilli, fry for a minute.
  3. Add the mushrooms and fry for 3-5 minutes on medium-high heat.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes, passata, salt and fry for 10-15 minutes till the sauce thickens.
  5. Add chocolate, tinned kidney beans, season with salt and black pepper. Serve on a bed of cooked rice with a dollop of sour cream and grated cheese on top.

By Tastes of Health

Chilli Con Carne Vegan Recipe