Best Vegan White Chili is a delicious twist on the traditional white chicken chili. It's loaded with vegetables, beans and kicked with spice, all in a creamy broth of coconut milk, vegetable broth and salsa verde. This meatless White Bean Chili is sure to be a hit for a quick, healthy dinner.
Best Vegan White Chili is currently my favorite thing to eat! It's so creamy, spicy (as much as you want), delicious and really easy to throw together. If you love chili, you will love trying this twist on the traditional tomato based chili recipe. No meat necessary to get an amazing flavor with a perfectly thick, luscious broth. If you use my very popular vegetable bouillon powder recipe then you're going to love how it tastes in this chili!
You won't miss the chicken, I promise. Traditional white chili is made with chicken, but it's been replaced with garbanzo beans, aka, chickpeas. Chickpeas are a great source of fiber, are loaded with vitamins and minerals, and are high in protein. Because of their texture and protein, chickpeas make an excellent replacement for meat. Best of all when you replace meat with beans you are creating a dish that has NO CHOLESTEROL and is loaded with heart healthy FIBER.
What ingredients & equipment do I need?
For detailed measurements and instructions, see the printable recipe card.
Here's what you need to make the Best Vegan White Bean Chili recipe, and why:
- Olive oil - You can omit the oil and saute in a few tablespoons of water or broth if you would like to save calories or are on an oil-free diet.
- Onion- You can use any type of onion you prefer. I typically use white onions in chili because they offer a slightly stronger flavor than yellow ones.
- Poblano Pepper - I use poblanos because they offer a stronger flavor than bell peppers. They have just a slight amount of heat (just a little more than a bell and a lot less than a jalapeno), but the intensity of the flavor is incredible. I highly recommend trying one if you never have. However, in this recipe you can always use a bell pepper.
- Jalapeno - You can skip the jalapeno if you want to avoid heat, but you can also remove the ribs and seeds. By removing them you cut down on the spiciness. If you want more heat, keep the ribs and seeds and feel free to add more jalapenos.
- Garlic cloves - Everything is better with garlic.
- Ground cumin and chili powder - This is what gives chili its unique flavor, so don't skip these spices.
- Chickpeas - Aka, garbanzo beans, drain (save the liquid for another recipe like this Velvety Oil Free Hummus) and rinse.
- Cannellini Beans - You can opt for pinto or great northern. Drain and rinse.
- Cayenne powder - For spicy heat. Omit or reduce the amount to suit your tastes.
- Salsa Verde - This is going to take your chili to the next level, so don't sub, skip or omit. You can use a 16 oz jar or make it fresh and use 2 cups. This Simple Salsa Verde recipe is so fresh, its going to make your chili stand out.
- Coconut Milk - You want the canned, full fat coconut milk. This will give your chili its creaminess, but don't worry the salsa verde takes away any sweetness brought on by the coconut milk.
- Vegetable Broth - I HIGHLY recommend using my Vegetable Bouillon Powder to make your broth. It will give your chili incredible flavor without all of the chemicals.
- Arrowroot Powder - you can sub cornstarch. This is going to help thicken your chili.
- Lime juice - the acidity brings out the bold flavors of the chili and cuts down on the sweetness of the coconut milk. You can opt for lemon juice or apple cider vinegar instead.
- Salt & Pepper - be sure to taste before adding salt and pepper. You might like it just as it is.
No special equipment is necessary, just a large saucepan and a spoon. Here are my favorites -
How to make the Best Vegan White Chili
You begin by sauteing the onion, pepper, and jalapeno in oil or in water for 5 minutes.
Next up, add in the garlic, cumin, chili powder and cayenne and saute another minute, stirring frequently.
Once the vegetables have softened, add the garbanzo beans, cannellini beans, salsa verde, coconut milk and vegetable broth. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil over medium high heat. Make an arrowroot slurry by mixing arrowroot powder and water and mixing thoroughly, removing any lumps. Stir it into the chili and allow it to thicken the broth. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in the lime juice and season to taste with salt, pepper and any additional cayenne you might want for spiciness.
Garnish with your favorite toppings like -
- pumpkin seeds
- non-dairy sour cream
- sliced jalapenos
- crushed tortilla chips
Tips for storing the Best Vegan White Bean Chili
You are going to love this chili even more the day after you make it. It just gets better with time. I like to make a big batch and enjoy it for a quick healthy lunch. It can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or you can freeze it for up to two months.
For the best results check out these tips:
- Use good quality olive oil. They are not all created equally and some definitely taste better than others.
- Try a poblano instead of a bell pepper for a deeper, richer and slightly spicier (not much) chili.
- Be sure to use full-fat coconut milk - not the type of coconut milk that you might drink, but this one is typically in a can. It will give you the creaminess you want in your white chili.
- Add your own spin to it. If you want a different bean, go for it. If you want to add even more cayenne, do it. Enjoy!
- Be sure to use salsa verde for its tangy acidity to offset the sweetness of the coconut milk. A typical tomato salsa won't have the same flavor. Try making this Simple Salsa Verde to make your chili outstanding!
Best Vegan White Chili
- 1 Tbsp olive oil optional - water saute
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 poblano pepper, diced can sub bell pepper
- 1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, diced leave seeds for more heat
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne optional for heat
- 2 15 oz cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 16 oz salsa verde
- 1 13.5 oz can full fat coconut milk
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 Tbsp arrowroot powder can sub cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp water
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, poblano and jalapeno. Saute, stirring frequently for 5 minutes.
- Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, cayenne and cook for one minute, continuing to stir.
- Add garbanzo beans, cannellini beans, salsa verde, coconut milk and vegetable broth. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.
- While the chili is rising to a simmer, mix arrowroot powder with 1 tablespoon water making sure there are no lumps.
- Reduce heat to medium low and add arrowroot slurry. Stir to combine and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Stir in lime juice and add salt and pepper or adjust seasonings if you need to.
- Garnish and enjoy!
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Frequently Asked Questions
Are Cannellini beans the same as white chili beans?
"White beans" can be great northern, cannellini, or navy beans. You can sub whichever bean you prefer.
Which white beans are the healthiest?
Cannellini are the most popular and have a high fiber and protein content. You can read more about the benefits of white beans HERE.
What is a good meat substitute for white chili?
This recipe doesn't call for a meat substitute because I wanted to keep it super simple. However, you can add a vegan Italian sausage, seitan or Butler Soy Curls. If you decide to add faux meat you will want to add it along with the beans.