Vegan White Chili (Creamy and Hearty!)
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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.
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