Do you have a go-to meal that always works? Think about it. It's the meal you are always willing to eat, you always have the ingredients for and always makes you feel happy, healthy and satisfied. This vegan winter chili is that food for me. Admittedly, I hate the amount of dishes that stack up because of this recipe, but since I leave this cooking magic in the hands of the husband who created it …I'd say it's worth it. 

This vegan chili starts with a fruit based jam and layers with several spices that add spicy, smoky and sweet to five kinds of veggies and some hearty beans. Make extra to freeze or have for lunch the next day!

vegan winter black bean chili with fruit based sauce 

Vegan Winter Chili

Serves 4....or realistically 2 with snacks


  • 1/2 white or yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • pinch smoked chipotle flakes/ red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • dash liquid smoke (also make sure you're using a vegan brand)
  • sriracha (To taste! Go as hot as you want. We do like, 1 teaspoon because I'm a wuss.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 fig jam (or cranberry/grape jam...make sure it's vegan)
  • 2 cans organic crushed stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can black or kidney beans 
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup corn

/// Directions /// Sauté onion and garlic in oil on medium low until onions are translucent. Add spices and stir. Add liquid smoke, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, jam and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat to medium low and allow mix to reduce. Blend with an immersion blender. Add beans and veggies. Stir and continue to reduce on low. Cook for about 25 minutes. The consistency will be thick. 

*Recipe Note: Want to skip the blending? Use tomato paste, diced tomatoes and a touch of tomato sauce to get the right flavor and consistency. 


vegan winter black bean chili with fruit based sauce 

To round out this meal, serve it with a side of sautéed kale or a side salad. Or not. This is the best any way you eat it! It's crazy full of fiber so you'll feel full and satisfied. And the lycopene in all that tomato goodness? The perfect way to protect your skin from the inside out if you're headed out to shovel the driveway or ski the slopes. 


What's your no-fail winter dish?

Dietitian Nutritionist and cookbook author sharing flavor-forward recipes and simplified science-driven wellness.