Simple Vegetarian Chili Sin Carne

This super simple vegetarian chili sin carne (without meat) is going to make you seriously reconsider how you make chili from now on!

Substituting tempeh for ground meat, along with a couple of other secret ingredients, takes eating a bowl of chili to the next level!

Vegetarian Chili Sin Carne

Simple Vegetarian Chili Sin Carne

Making a vegetarian chili recipe was never on my radar because I’m not vegetarian or vegan.

However, we were visiting some friends of ours for dinner and vegetarian chili sin carne was on the menu.

Although, I’m not currently a vegetarian, I was raised in the Seventh Day Adventist religion.

Seventh Day Adventists typically do not eat meat from certain animals that the Bible considers to be unclean.

Therefore, growing up, we ate a lot of vegetarian ‘meat’

Actually, I loved it and have never had an aversion to meat substitutes such as tofu and tempeh.

I am no longer a Seventh Day Adventist, but I’m always open to trying vegetarian and vegan foods and recipes.

So, when I tried my friend’s vegetarian chili recipe, I was seriously blown away by how good it is!

As a matter of fact, I love this recipe so much that I decided I had to share it with my readers, with permission from my friend of course!

How Do You Make Vegetarian Chili From Scratch?

One of the most common questions people ask is how do you make a vegetarian chili recipe from scratch?

As far as I know, it’s the only way you can make it.

I don’t know of any places, at least around these parts, that make vegetarian chili.

If there are, I’d love to try them out!

Anyway, making vegetarian chili from scratch is honestly even easier than making the traditional chili recipe with meat.

What Can I Put in Chili Instead of Meat?

Simple Vegetarian Chili Sin Carne

So, what can you put in your chili instead of meat?

Well, I’ve made a White Chicken Chili that is out of this world good, but I’ve never actually made a non-meat version of chili before until now!

For this recipe, I use tempeh.

In addition, after searching online, I found that you can use these substitutes:

  • Portabella Mushrooms – nutritious but no protein
  • Soy Curls – I’ve never heard of these before, but I’m very intrigued!
  • Seitan – a vegetarian ‘meat’ that is similar to tempeh but has gluten in it
  • Dried Bulgur – this does have protein which is good but it also has a lot of carbs
  • Cauliflower Crumbles – you can make these yourself. Cauliflower is great as a replacement for carbs {like these delicious Cauliflower Fritters}, but there is very little protein in it.

So, my meat substitute of choice is tempeh {pronounced tem-pay}.

Tempeh is made from fermented soy beans compressed into a cake form with a firm texture and earthy flavor.

With 15 grams of protein, only 9 grams of carbs, and 6 grams of fiber (this makes it only 3 net carbs) for a 3 ounce serving, it’s exactly the type of meat substitute I can stand behind!

Also, it’s a great source of calcium AND contains prebiotics!

Check out this WebMD article to read more of the health benefits of tempeh.

Vegetarian Chili Sin Carne Instructions

So now I’m going to take you through the steps for making this outstanding vegetarian chili recipe.

Step 1: Ingredients


You’ll need these ingredients:

  • Tempeh – Crumbled {mine wasn’t crumbled, so I cut it up into bite size pieces}
  • Tamari – This is a Japanese soy sauce {I happened to already have it from Chef Riri’s last visit}
  • Chopped Onion
  • Chopped Green Pepper
  • Tomato
  • Canned Peeled Tomatoes
  • Black Beans
  • Sesame or Soy Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Step 2: Marinate Tempeh

Marinate tempeh

In a large bowl, combine the crumbled or chopped tempeh with tamari, 2T of water, garlic powder, onion powder, & sesame or soy oil.

Mix well and place in the refrigerator while you continue with the rest of the steps.

Step 3: Saute Onion & Green Pepper

Saute onion & green pepper

Add the chopped onion and green pepper to a large pot or Dutch oven on top of the stove and saute it in the olive oil until the onion becomes translucent.

Step 4: Add Spices & Tomato

Add spices

Add the rest of your spices, as well as the canned, partially drained, peeled tomatoes, and your fresh tomato.

I had forgotten to get a fresh tomato, but the recipe was still amazing without it.

Also, I broke up the tomatoes a little bit with my wooden spoon so that they would be easier to eat.

Add tomatoes

Step 5: Add Tempeh & Beans & Simmer

Simple Vegetarian Chili Sin Carne

The final step is to take your marinated tempeh out of the refrigerator & add it to your chili, along with the drained and washed black beans.

Simple Vegetarian Chili Sin Carne

Then mix well and allow it to come to a simmer so that everything is heated through.

It’s now ready to eat!

Simple Vegetarian Chili Sin Carne

I don’t even know how to describe how good this vegetarian chili recipe is except to say that it the perfect blend of spices and textures!

Simple Vegetarian Chili Sin Carne

On my friend’s recipe card, she had written “Our favorite, so double!”

I did not heed that suggestion and I wished that I had!

My son, who is typically not the most adventurous person when it comes to eating something ‘out of the norm’ had 2 bowls of it!

Along with some hot, buttered cornbread, this vegetarian chili is a scrumptious meal!

Simple Vegetarian Chili Sin Carne

The good thing is, it was all eaten up!

But, the bad thing: I want more!

So next time I will double it.

How Long Does Vegetarian Chili Last in the Fridge?

Vegetarian chili will last in the fridge in a covered, airtight container for around 4 to 5 days.

However, I wouldn’t know that because we didn’t have any leftovers!

What is the Best Secret Ingredient for Chili?

Simple Vegetarian Chili Sin Carne

In the case of this particular vegetarian chili recipe, the secret ingredients are tamari and mustard powder.

I haven’t found any other chili recipes with these 2 ingredients in them.

Oh my gosh, I swear, this combination of spices, oils, & tamari make for the perfect bowl of chili!

Finally, here is the printable recipe.

Simple Vegetarian Chili Recipe with Tempeh

Simple Vegetarian Chili Sin Carne

Vegetarian Chili Sin Carne

Housewives of Frederick County
Super easy to make vegetarian chili sin carne using tempeh. SO delicious and nutritious. You won't want to go back to the traditional way of making chili!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, supper
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people


  • 8 ounces Tempeh, crumbled, Or chop it into bite size pieces
  • 2 tbsp Tamari
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ¼ tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Oil or Soy Oil
  • 6 tbsp Olive Oil, If doubling the recipe, do not double the olive oil
  • 1 Green Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp Oregano
  • ½ tsp Mustard Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • 28 ounces Peeled Tomatoes (can), Partially drained
  • 15 ounces Black Beans (can), Rinsed & drained


  • In a large bowl, combine the crumbled or chopped tempeh with tamari, water, garlic powder, onion powder, & sesame or soy oil. Mix well.
  • Cover bowl and place in the refrigerator for the tempeh to marinate.
  • Saute onion & green pepper with olive oil in a dutch oven.
  • Once the onion is translucent, add the remaining spices & fresh tomato. Mix well.
  • Then, add the marinated tempeh, canned tomato, & black beans. Mix well.
  • Bring to a simmer and heat through.
Keyword chili, chili recipe, dinner recipe, tamari, tempeh recipe, vegan breakfast, vegan recipe, vegetarian chili, vegetarian chili sin carne, vegetarian recipe

Thank you to my friend Steph for introducing me to this recipe!

I absolutely love it!

Simple Vegetarian Chili Sin Carne
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