Warm up with this flavorful Vegan White Chili, made with white beans, soy curls (or your favorite vegan chicken) and a rich, creamy broth. A perfect alternative to the usual tomato based chili! Serve with tortilla chips, plant-based sour cream, cheese and avocado slices for a satisfying dinner.
Who doesn’t like a filling and soothing soup in the colder months? There’s just something so comforting about the scent of a rich and hearty stew filling your kitchen. And, in my book, there’s nothing better than taking a comfort food classic and making it animal product-free!
White chili is usually made with chicken, but here I’ve replaced it with soy curls (you can feel free to use any type of plant-based chicken). Consider serving with my homemade cashew sour cream and/or my homemade mozzarella!
Ingredients you need (with substitutions)
- Soy curls – Feel free to use another meat substitute like my vegan chicken here. I’ve also used tofurky brand chik’n pieces, like I do in this pot pie. I love soy curls because they are high in protein, minimally processed and fairly inexpensive. Plus, they have the best meaty, “chicken-like” texture!
- No-chicken broth – You’ll want to opt for some sort of broth to give your meal more weight and flavor. Alternatively, you can also use vegetable broth! Better than Bouillon is my favorite brand.
- Great Northern beans – For added protein and flavor! Substitute with any other type of white beans, such as cannellini.
- Green chiles, cumin, garlic, onion, oregano, and cayenne pepper – Thanks to these seasonings and spices, this recipe really packs a spicy punch!
- Corn – Additional veggies make this stew filling and flavorful. No need to thaw — you can toss this in straight from the freezer.
- Lime – You’ll want to use both lime juice in the recipe, plus sliced limes for serving. The extra tang really plays along well with the other seasonings.
- Plant-based sour cream – To add a bit of creaminess, you can use Tofutti, my cashew sour cream, dairy-free cream cheese, or even full-fat coconut milk! If needed, you can leave it out for a lighter, low fat chili.
Tips for a successful vegan white chili
- Equipment – You can easily make this vegan white chili dish on your stovetop in a large pan. Alternatively, if you’re more of a “love to leave it” type, you can use a slow cooker. Add all of your ingredients into your crockpot and stir. Let it cook on low for about 6 hours and enjoy! Instant pot instructions are also included below.
- Don’t skip out on the prep work – You may be tempted to place the soy curls into your vegan white bean chili as-is. Don’t underestimate the power of letting them hydrate in warm water before you start! If you skip this step, you could end up with hardened curls in your soup, which you don’t want.
- Blending makes a difference – You may also be tempted to skip out on the blending and/or mashing step. While you technically could do without, you’ll end up with more of a soup than a creamy chili.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, and feel free to add more cayenne pepper for a spicier chili.
- Don’t forget the toppings! I like tortilla chips, vegan sour cream, avocado slices, hot sauce, sliced jalapeños and cilantro. Perhaps a little shredded vegan cheese as well!
Frequently asked questions
How long should vegan white chili simmer?
I recommend that you let your vegan white bean chili simmer for about 10 minutes. This will help it thicken up on its own before you blend or you mash it. As with any soup, sauce, or stew, the longer you allow it to cook, the more flavorful and thick it will be. Just be sure to keep an eye on it as it cooks!
What’s the difference between regular and white chili?
Traditionally, white chili is made with chicken and white-colored beans. Regular chili, or red chili, is tomato based. Vegan white chili gets much of its flavor from the beans and the added green chiles. In this recipe, vegetable broth is used as a base instead of tomato sauce.
Should the chili be soupy or thick?
It should be pretty thick. If done correctly, it is hearty enough to be its own meal and should fill you right up! If your stew ends up being soupy, you can use an immersion blender to thicken it. Some recipes call for added flour or cornstarch, but I am a huge advocate for keeping things simple!
Does it freeze well?
Yes, if freezes very well. Once cooled, transfer to a freezer friendly container and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating and serving.
Want more comforting vegan chicken recipes?
Vegan White Chili (Creamy and Hearty!)
- 4 ounces soy curls (half a bag)*
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small white onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups no chicken broth or vegetable broth
- (2) 15-ounce cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 7 ounce can diced green chiles
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- few shakes black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 3/4 cup vegan sour cream*
- chopped fresh cilantro, shredded vegan cheese, avocado, tortilla chips, vegan sour cream, sliced jalapeños, lime wedges
Prepare the soy curls
- In a large bowl, add the dehydrated soy curls and cover with about 3 cups of warm water. Let them soak for 10 minutes until they have grown in size and softened.
- Drain in a colander and squeeze any excess water from the pieces using your hands. Chop the soy curls into smaller pieces, or simply use your hands to tear them smaller. Set aside.
Make the chili
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add the onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, until fragrant.
- Add the broth, drained and rinsed beans, diced green chiles, cumin, oregano and cayenne pepper. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Use an immersion blender a few times to slightly thicken the chili, but make sure to leave plenty of texture. You can skip this part if you don't have an immersion blender, or use a potato masher to mash some of the chili a little bit. This makes the chili creamier.
- Stir in the soy curls and corn and cook for 5 minutes, then add salt and pepper to taste, along with the lime juice. Stir in the vegan sour cream.
- Portion in bowls and serve with any desired toppings. Enjoy!
- Vegan “chicken” choices – You can also use tofurky chik’n (1 package) or any other vegan chicken, chopped small.
- I used tofutti vegan sour cream to make it creamy, but you could use another brand, or even 3/4 cup full fat coconut milk or vegan creamer, for creaminess. Or leave it out for a less creamy chili.
- Slow cooker – After rehydrating the soy curls, simply add everything (except the toppings) to a slow cooker and stir. Cook on low for 6 hours. Use an immersion blender a to blend a few times.
- Instant pot – After rehydrating the soy curls, turn the Instant Pot to sauté and sauté the onion until translucent, followed by the garlic for a minute. Turn it off for a moment, and add all the other ingredients except the vegan sour cream. Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Do a quick release, blend a few times with an immersion blender, stir in the sour cream and serve.
I’ve made this multiple times and it is delicious. I usually add a tablespoon of Better than Bouillon No Chicken base to the recipe and use vegan chicken pieces instead of the soy curls. Thank you Nora. This is excellent.
You are welcome, Bob! I’m so glad you love the chili recipe! Thanks for your wonderful feedback and review!
First time trying soy curls—really good! Rehydrated the soy curls in not chicken broth and a bay leaf and I used the solid top of coconut milk instead of sour cream; other than that, followed this recipe to a T. Topped with lime juice, cubed avocado, diced jalapeños, green onions, and crushed tortilla chips. Thank you, thank you! Will definitely be making again. Delicious!
You are welcome! Great time of year for chili, and I’m glad you loved it! Thanks for sharing your ideas and positive review!
I made this for the first time the other day, and used the recipe as is. It was good, but next time I make it will tweak with the following.
It was a little thin for a chili, even after using the immersion blender. I ended up adding a third can of beans after blending to bulk it up a bit. Next time I make it I’ll add potatoes for a little bit of starch to thicken it some more.
Every time I use cashews in a savory recipe I’m disappointed because they add a sweetness that I don’t think belongs there. So….. I made the sour cream from silken tofu and it was perfect. It also reduced the calorie count a bit, so there’s that bonus.
Overall the flavor was spot on. Thanks, Nora, for another recipe that will go into the rotation!
Absolutely delicious! I did use shredded Jackfruit instead of the soy curls, but I made no other changes. This tasted just like the white chicken chili I used to make. I loved that I didn’t have to cook and shred chicken. Nora, you’re recipes can’t be beat! My non-vegan husband love them too.
Hi Tammy. Your kind words make me happy! I’m thrilled you love the chili! I appreciate you sharing your fantastic feedback and ideas! Thanks for using my recipes!
Very tasty, easy, and quick! I did make a few changes based on what I had on hand. Instead of 2 cans of beans, I used 1 can and replaced the second can with diced fajita vegetables (mushrooms and bell peppers). I didn’t have soy curls, so I chopped up two plant-based sausages and tossed them in instead. I also blended up a batch of Nora’s cashew cream and used that in place of sour cream. This made 5 super filling lunch servings for me! I will be making this again for sure!
Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback and ideas, Emma! I’m really glad to hear you liked the recipe! Your chili sounds really delicious! Wishing you happy cooking!
A great recipe! I use a bag of the Dare brand vegan chicken and season it then cut into small pieces and add to the end. It didn’t end up being as creamy as I’d have liked it to be so I added 2T of four and it stirred right in and made it thick and creamy. I love to garnish it with cilantro, shredded vegan cheese (chao cheese is truly the best), and tortilla chips. A hit for my hubby and toddler.
Your chili sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing your fantastic review and ideas! I’m thrilled it was a hit with your family!
I love this chili. I just made it a second time and it’s easy to make with ingredients I usually have in my pantry. I seasoned the water that I soaked the soy curls in and I did use double the sour cream. I didn’t use the immersion blender. I prefer it chunky. Next time I might add zucchini. I think it would be a nice way to add more vegetables.
Hi Jessica. I’m thrilled you love the chili. Adding zucchini sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing your wonderful feedback and ideas! Happy cooking!
I made this a couple of weeks ago for dinner and husband has asked me to make it again. That is the true testimony of its yumminess.
I think i might soak the curls in broth to give them more favor.
Hi Lonnie. Good to hear that your husband loved the chili! Thank you for sharing your positive review and feedback! Happy cooking!
I made this tonight and it is fabulous! The whole family loved it. I added an extra dash of lime juice because I love the flavor it adds. This dish is definitely a winner and I’ll be making it again!
I’m so glad the chili was a hit with your family! Thank you for taking time to share your wonderful review and feedback! Such a warm and cozy dish! Happy cooking!
For me this was a nice base recipe but it didn’t wow me as much as Nora’s recipes usually do. It needed quite a bit of modification from the recipe as written, so that’s why I went with 3 stars.
I liked the idea of using an immersion blender to create a more creamy texture, but I didn’t have much success with this. I ended up with a lot of shreds of bean skin which didn’t look good or feel nice in the mouth, but going any further would have resulted in a fully pureed soup which I also did not want. And the texture was still fairly broth-y for a chili despite blending fairly significantly. If I make this again I might try food processing one of the cans of beans separately to ensure they’re fully broken down before adding them in. I think that may yield better textural results.
Additionally, the depth of flavor was not there, despite me adding the seasonings to the onions in the pot and cooking them to bring them to life a bit before adding the broth, and simmering this for longer than the instructions said. I doubled the recommended salt but would add even more next time. I also added a tablespoon of nutritional yeast and would probably increase that next time as well to add flavor. The lime juice was key to brightening the dish at the end, but again I might opt to add a bit more than 1 tablespoon next time.
The true deal breaker for me here was that I did not like the result of simply adding the flavorless soy curls in toward the end of cooking. While the texture of the rehydrated soy curls was perfect in here, it resulted in mouthfuls of flavorless globs. I also thought that 4 ounces was a bit too high of a ratio for soy curls, so if I try this again I will reduce to 3 ounces for a better ratio, which may help mitigate the problem with the soy curls themselves not having any flavor. I also may try rehydrating the curls in broth or at least salted water to impart some flavor into them.
I served with cheddar shreds, sliced green onion, and crushed tortilla chips.
Overall there is potential here, but as-is this recipe was lacking for me. A rare miss from Nora.
Toddler-kid and husband approved!!!!
This recipe is so good! Thank you for a tomato-less option. I love how simple and flavorful your recipes are. Thank you for all you do Nora!
Thank you for using my recipes! I am thrilled that you are loving them! I appreciate you taking time to share your wonderful review!
Holy moly! I’m obsessed with this white chili. Id never had soy curls until this recipe. With all the flavors, it really tastes like chicken. Thank you for another amazing meal!
You are welcome! I’m so glad you enjoyed the chili! Thank you for sharing your review and feedback!
Delicious and very easy to throw together! I used coconut milk so I could save the sour cream for topping. For the chicken, I used your vegan chicken recipe and cut it into small strips. Very good!
I appreciate you sharing your wonderful feedback! I’m so glad you loved the chili!
I made this chili this evening, and again, ANOTHER fantastic recipe from Nora!! It was so delicious! The soy curls are freakishly similar to chicken. My kids and I could not get over the fact that they were not bits of chicken. The extra lime juice for garnish really gave it an amazing flavor. I made a double batch so we could have leftovers and I am so glad that I did! I just used Tofutti sour cream and it was excellent. I HIGHLY recommend this recipe!!
Another delicious meal! This made leftovers that I truly look forward to. I actually cut up and boiled a few potatoes to add after the fact to make it a little heartier. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes with us! I am always excited to try them! When my family eats a new recipe I tried, they always ask, “Is it a Nora?”. ?
This was so lovely on a snowy Colorado evening! The perfect spicy flavor. I had everything on hand but the soy curls so I just substituted pee wee potatoes and think I’ll probably keep it that way as I rarely use soy curls. Maybe I’ll try jackfruit in it one of these days. To be totally honest, it was so good I’m making it again tonight – lol. Thanks, Nora, and Happy New Year!
Nora, you wizard! This recipe is ANOTHER winner. Absolutely delicious and such an awesome use of soy curls. The flavours are soooo good and it’s so warming and satisfying! Perfect cold weather meal.
Delicious! Another winner, and easy to keep all the ingredients on hand to throw together last minute!