This creamy vegan white chili is a great alternative to to traditional-style chili and makes a very satisfying, protein-packed dinner. Be sure to save some, though, because leftovers taste amazing! Gluten-free with an oil-free option.
This white bean chili is extra hearty, satisfying, and rich in protein thanks to the addition of soy curls or TVP (textured vegetable protein).
Another thing we love about it is the flavor added by the green chiles and jalapeño. The level of spicy heat is easily adjusted by including the seeds from the jalapeños. You can also add a few dashes of cayenne pepper.
Plus it's pretty darn easy to prepare. Just chop and sauté a few veggies, then load everything in the pot and simmer for about 10 minutes. It can also be made in the Instant Pot.
I've included instructions for both cooking methods in the recipe below, but the step-by-step photos specifically show the Instant Pot. Let's get to it!
The ingredient list may look long, but on the bright side it should be pretty easy to find everything in a well-stocked grocery store.
*There are a couple of specialty ingredients you may want to order online if you don't already have them - soy curls and mushroom powder. Or simply use TVP instead of soy curls and omit the mushroom powder.
This is a summary to get you started; be sure to scroll down for complete instructions.
Packaged Foods & Spices
Cooked white beans (I used 1 can cannellini and 1 can great northern)
Corn (canned or frozen)
Canned green chiles
Dried mushroom powder, optional (I used Trader Joe's umami blend)
Salt and pepper
Liquid smoke, optional
TVP (check the bulk bins) or soy curls (easiest to find online)
Raw cashews (see substitutions below)
Nutritional yeast, optional
Olive oil, optional
How To Make Vegan White Chili
Whether you're cooking the chili in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop, the process begins essentially the same way.
1. Sauté the onion for about 5 minutes. (You can use oil here, or omit it for oil-free.)
2. Add bell pepper and garlic, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Next, add the jalapeños and spices, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Add broth, green chiles, TVP or soy curls, corn, beans, salt and pepper.
5. If cooking in the Instant Pot, just give everything a stir, lock on the lid, and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Then carefully quick release the pressure.
For the stovetop method, bring the soup to a simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. While the chili cooks blend the cheesy cashew milk. Stir it into the cooked chili, then let rest for 10 minutes.
Adding Creaminess to the Chili
There are many ways to add creaminess to soups and chilis without using dairy. For this recipe I decided to go with homemade cashew milk. But if you need a nut-free option, I've included a few ideas below and in the Notes section of the recipe.
To make the cheesy cashew milk:
While the chili cooks, blend raw cashews and water. Add salt, nutritional yeast, and lime juice (or rice vinegar) for tang. *If you don't have a high-speed blender like a Vitamix, you'll first need to soak the cashews in hot water for about 1 hour.
Cashews make the chili nice and creamy, add a small amount of fat to make it more filling, and act as a substitute for cream cheese, which is usually added to traditional white chili recipes.
If you prefer not to use cashews to create a creamy white chili, you may substitute 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (the type in a can).
Another option is to whisk 2 tablespoons of arrowroot starch into 1 cup of unsweetened soy milk. Heat this briefly in a small saucepan until thickened, then whisk into the finished chili. Adjust salt and lime juice (for tanginess) as desired.
You can also thicken the soup by combining ¼ cup all-purpose flour with plain, unsweetened milk. Whisk this into the pot just before adding the broth. The flour will thicken the soup as it simmers.
Storing and Freezing Chili
Just like any other soup or chili, the flavor of this one gets even better as it sits overnight, making it perfect for meal prep. Leftover chili can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
White bean chili can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Just make sure the chili is completely cool before transferring to a freezer-safe container, and don't fill the container too full. Then thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat on the stove or in a microwave.
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Vegan White Chili (Instant Pot or Stovetop)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, optional Omit or sub broth for oil-free.
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large jalapenos, stems and seeds removed, diced Or keep some of the seeds for extra heat!
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon mushroom powder blend, such as Trader Joe's umami seasoning Or sub powdered dried mushroom + a pinch of salt.
- ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
- 1 ⅓ cups TVP (textured vegetable protein) or 2 cups crumbled soy curls Use your hands to break soy curls into smaller pieces.
- 2 (15 oz) cans white beans, such as cannellini or great northern, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups corn kernels, thawed if using frozen
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- black pepper
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon liquid smoke, optional
Cheesy cashew milk:
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup raw cashews or ¼ cup raw cashew butter See Step 1.
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, optional
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons lime juice or rice vinegar
- fresh lime juice
- diced avocado
- pico de gallo
- First, if not using a high-speed blender, soak the cashews in very hot water for about 1 hour. Drain and set aside until ready to make the cashew milk. Alternatively, use cashew butter to make the milk.
Instant Pot Instructions:
- In a 6 quart or larger Instant Pot, add the oil, if using, to the insert and turn on the saute function. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the bell pepper and garlic. Stirring frequently, cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the jalapenos, cumin, chili powder, mushroom powder, poultry seasoning, and oregano. Stir and cook for about 1 minute.
- Add the vegetable broth, green chiles, TVP or soy curls, beans, corn, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine, then lock on the Instant Pot lid. Make sure the valve is set to sealing. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.
- While the chili cooks, make the cashew milk. Combine water and cashews in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth. Add nutritional yeast, if using, salt, and lime or vinegar. Blend again to combine.
- When the Instant Pot beeps and the 4 minutes at high pressure are complete, carefully quick release the pressure, and remove the lid. Stir the cashew milk into the chili. Let rest for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings adding lime juice, salt and pepper, and/or liquid smoke, if desired. The chili will thicken as it sits.
- Preheat a stock pot over medium heat. Add oil, if using, and onion. Saute for about 5 minutes or until onion is translucent.
- Add the bell pepper and garlic and, stirring frequently, cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the jalapenos, cumin, chili powder, mushroom powder, poultry seasoning, and oregano. Stir and cook for about 1 minute.
- Add the vegetable broth, green chiles, TVP or soy curls, beans, corn, salt, and pepper. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes to soften the vegetables and allow the flavors to mingle.
- While the chili simmers, make the cashew milk by combining water and cashews in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth. Add nutritional yeast, if using, salt, and lime or vinegar. Blend again to combine.
- Stir cashew milk into the chili. Taste and adjust seasonings adding lime juice, salt and pepper, and/or liquid smoke, if desired. Let rest for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The chili will thicken as it sits.